Toys to Exercise Your Child's Imagination

Engaging bright kids at playtime is a snap with these creative toys.

Gifted children love to use their brains and exercise their imaginations. It can be a challenge to keep highly creative children motivated and engaged during playtime. Here are some suggestions for toys and kits that can give your very smart kid the jumping-off point for some serious fun.

Does your child love space? Dream of being an astronaut? If so, this tent is perfect! The nylon tent looks very much like a space shuttle, and is easy to put up. The "hatch" makes use of a zipper and Velcro to make getting in and out of the "shuttle" quite simple. The tent is large enough for two to three kids, but also offers some privacy to those sensitive kids who like to spend some time alone.

These beautiful, gauzy bowers are perfect for children who want to step into a fairyland or wherever else their imaginations might take them. These bowers have room enough for several children to play inside, setting up magical tea parties or meetings with fairies, princesses, gnomes and other creatures that fill a child's imagination. Place one over a twin bed to make a canopy.

The Play Stand is an incredibly versatile play prop. A house, a space ship, a puppet theater, a storefront -- its uses are as wide-ranging as a child's imagination. Parents love it too since at night it can function as a shelf for toys and a place to hang costumes. It is light enough for children to move, yet sturdy enough for them to sit or even stand on. Two stands plus a canopy offer even more opportunities for imaginative play. 

The Toobeez Super Fort is another versatile toy, but this one allows kids to build their own creations. Kids use interlocking tubes and spheres, which can be linked together, to create anything they can imagine -- space ships, submarines, forts, and castles, just to name a few. Once the tubes and spheres are linked together, children can hang up the colorful fabric panels just where they want them and then climb in and let their imaginations run wild.

Bed tents come in a variety of themes, from race cars to princess "castles." Like the space shuttle bed tent, they provide places for kids to have some alone time, particularly if they have to share a room with one or more siblings. However, even for kids with their own rooms, bed tents offer opportunities to use their imaginations. They are big enough for mom or dad to crawl inside where they can have cozy cuddle time while reading.

This lemonade stand features two oversized wheels for easy wheelbarrow-like transportation and a blackboard front panel for announcing the sale of lemonade (or other item). It also has a dry erase countertop and a fabric awning. Teach your child about work, and earning and saving money. Gifted kids may be smart, but they don't automatically know how to manage money, so this toy can help serve as an instructional tool as well. 

This beautiful wooden medieval castle set by Melissa & Doug is perfect for fantasy-loving gifted children. It unfolds to reveal a courtyard, turrets, a dungeon, staircases, and a working drawbridge. This sturdy and enchanting castle comes with three posable play figures, and a horse. 

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