Looking for the perfect toy? STEM may help

This year the hottest toy isn't just one item and toy companies are reinforcing science, technology, engineering and math with their items. (Sinclair Cares)

If you still haven't figured out the perfect gift for the little ones this holiday season, take a look at toys that are packed with education and tons of fun.

Video games, action figures, princesses and ponies. Toy store isles and online searches can get exhausting for parents.

"I'm always looking at mom blogs to see what they're giving and what they recommend." said Kim Curtiss, mother of two, trying to find that perfect holiday gift.

This year the hottest toy isn't one item.

"It's a category." says Claudia Towles co-owner, aMuse Toys, "What's hot right now is math STEM, anything teaching science."

Towles, says toy companies are reinforcing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in their products... filling toy aisles with education.

"The reactivity of the magnet is a very interesting idea for kids," says Towles

Even though MagnaTiles are nothing new to store shelves Towles says it's a classic favorite that promotes early math concepts as a child ages add to the collection so they can build more complex structures.

"Think about it, with Legos the more pieces they have the more they can build." said Towles, "These don't hurt though when you stand on them."

It's never too early to start learning. The Noggin stick is one of the hottest toys for babies. "This changes color every time you shake it," said Towles, "it helps with visual tracking...Its educational. Now does the baby know they're being educated? Of course not, but it teaches cause and effect."

Related: Ask yourself these questions to find kid-safe toys

Even Barbie is hopping on the STEM wagon.

"Barbie something very familiar to kids, but STEM and engineering concept may not be. So this is trickery...this one's really ...I don't know if you've heard of the slime craze, this is another one, this is all chemistry."

And don't forget family game night. Klask is a skill game with magnetic control.

"This is one we sell to college kids and 5-year-olds, it's kind of like air hockey but without the danger. And it doesn't take that much space... I scored."

This Holiday season the emphasis is on anything that fosters critical thinking and problem solving.

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