The Most Creative Toys and Games of 2013

Toys, games, kits, apps, and books designed to jump-start creativity in your kids.

Building Toy: Back to Basics

Tinkertoy

Dave Bradley

Tinkertoy--the classic creative construction set--celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with the aptly dubbed 100-Piece Building Set. Now all plastic (some even bendable), the colorful spools, rods, flags, and other pieces still provide hours of inventive play.

Ages 3 and up, $34.99, tinkertoy.com

Thinking Toy: Dare to Design

Extraordinaires Design Studio

Mark Mantegna

Like a reality-TV show, the Extraordinaires Design Studio puts creative skills to the test. Kids get an Object Card that describes something to sit on, say, or a communications device, then devise that thing for a special client previously selected from the Character Cards (a rap star, for example, or an acrobat). Our testers rose to the challenge with such inventions as the Bathrobe of Dread for the Evil Genius and a shell phone for the Merman.

Ages 8 and up, $44.99, marblesthebrainstore.com

Travel Toy: Storytelling Is in the Cards

Tell Me A Story

Mark Mantegna

Have you heard the one about the elephant who played hide-and-seek with the alligator? With the Volcano Island edition of Tell Me a Story, you just might. The 40 illustrated prompt cards get kids imagining and sharing all manner of wild tales.

Ages 3 and up, $9.95, geniusbabies.com

Artful Apps We Love

Juxtaposer lets kids combine snapshots into crazy mash-ups right on a phone or tablet. Simply swipe to swap heads, add people or props, even change backgrounds. iOS.

Ages 7 and up, $2.99

Snap a photo of anything around the house, then use KaleidaCam to transform the image into a kaleidoscopic pattern. Laundry has never looked so good! iOS.

Ages 7 and up, $1.99

Creativity flows literally and figuratively with LiquidSketch. Use the iPad's gyroscope to move colorful on-screen liquid through logic puzzles or build contraptions with blocks, pumps, and paint. iOS.

Ages 7 and up, $1.99

How to Choose an Electronic Educational Toy
How to Choose an Electronic Educational Toy

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