It’s almost Christmas!  I wanted to give you a few last minute gift ideas in case you’re still shopping (bonus: all of these can be purchased online so no need to brave the frenzy at the stores).  I chose each of these 10  because of their emphasis on strategies and problem solving, focus on logical thinking, encouraging unique and creative thought, and, of course, they’re tons of fun.  Each one of these recommendations has also been kid tested by our family and friends so we know they fit each of these criteria.

PS: By no means is this an exhaustive list, if you know of others, send them my way at!

1) Geometric Solids

This is the only manipulative on our list, we recently got a set for my nieces and nephews and they couldn’t get enough.  These are great for getting students familiar to the different shapes and are an absolute must for students who are entering a study of geometry.

2) Kanoodle

This puzzle is a family favorite.  My 4 and 6 year olds love this game, it’s pretty much always on our weekly school plan. With different pieces and several different setups, it will keep your kids challenged for a long time!

3) Rush Hour

This is a classic logic puzzle game and, like Kanoodle, has plenty of setups to keep your kids busy and thinking for a long time!

4) Gravity MazeIt’s a logic puzzle meets a marble run!  Definitely a fun puzzle and another family favorite! My 2-year-old loves building it and running the marbles while the rest of us love solving the challenges.


5) Blokus

This is a great game for developing visual perceptibility and strategy. Not only strategy for how to fit as many of your pieces as possible onto the board but also great strategy by competing with and messing up an opponent’s plans.  I always love games that also give you fun manipulatives to use in further discovery.

6) Chess

The world’s most popular strategy game.  Teaches not only logical thinking and planning, but perhaps, most important is patience. It is definitely the wise man’s game!


7) Battleship

A fun strategy game that also prepares students for a study of coordinate plane geometry.

8) Rage

Not only is the game fun to play, but the cards are great to have.  They number from 0-15 and really come in handy with their further mathematical study.

9) Set

Perhaps the most simple, yet greatest visual puzzle game of all time and no gift idea list would be complete without it!


10) Codenames

A different kind of thinking game where players have to make connections between words as well as interpret clues given by their teammate. It is always good to encourage different types of thinking (verbal, visual, numerical, etc) in order to build all of the tools necessary for creative problem solving.

When your kids open these up and dive in, be sure to post your pictures on our Math Inspirations Facebook page so that we can all see the awesome things your family is doing! CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE MATH INSPIRATIONS FACEBOOK PAGE…

Merry Christmas and happy thinking everyone!

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