15 best toys for big kids

Holiday shopping made easy this year, with these top toys that were tested and approved by real families and big kids.

In partnership with VTech

What do you get for the hard-to-buy older kid? These games, crafts and buildable toys are big-kid approved and will have them experimenting with STEM, engaging their siblings and even rescuing tigers.

1. Mega Construx Pokémon Jumbo Evee

Pokemon Evee toy

Are you up for a Pokémon challenge? Sort through this construction set’s 845 pieces to build the iconic Pokémon Eevee, complete with a furry tail and a cuter-than-cute smile. Once you’re done building, this super-poseable Eevee will become your new best friend, ready to join you on a Pokémon adventure! Mattel, $60, ebgames.ca.

2. Snap Circuits My Home

Snap Circuits My Home

Ever wonder how a fan can spin at different speeds? Or how a dimming light switch works? With this 60-piece kit, kids learn about how electricity flows while creating a building of their own with real working 3D circuitry. Elenco, $90, mastermindtoys.com.

3. Dragon

Hexbug Dragon $33, well.ca.

A new creature has awakened on Planet Hexbug—the almighty dragon! Use the remote control to move this legendary beast as it crawls around on its rubbery legs and whips its tail back and forth. Tap the flame button and it’ll let out thunderous roars and a burst of (LED) flames. Hexbug, $33, well.ca.

4. Figure It

Figure It game

This game may look simple, but it’ll take all your powers of logic and deduction to crack the secret code. Each player calls out a number and guesses if it’s part of their code—the first one to unlock all their numbers is the winner. Foxmind, $28, amazon.ca.

5. Uno Showdown

Uno Showdown

Take classic Uno to the next level with this fun quick-draw challenge. Anytime a showdown card is played, the player picks a person to go head-to-head with in a fast-react mini game. But you’d better have lightning- fast reflexes because if you’re too slow, the game will fling up to three cards your way. Everybody, duck! Mattel, $25, toysrus.ca.

6. Cupcake Academy

Cupcake Academy

Who’s got a sweet tooth? In this bakery-themed co-operative board game, the whole family works together to assemble all the pastries before the timer runs out. But watch out: You’ll need to use some quick logic to make sure every cupcake cup stacks up perfectly, and nobody wins unless every player finishes their task—no baker gets left behind! Blue Orange Games, $36, amazon.ca.

7. Monopoly For Sore Losers

Monopoly For Sore Losers

Nobody likes coming in last, but in this remix of classic Monopoly, it pays to lose. Every time you pay rent or taxes or go to jail, grab a sore loser coin. Collect enough and you can take the Mr. Monopoly token that lets you earn money instead of paying it. Who’s the loser now? Hasbro, $30, walmart.ca.

8. Disney Hocus Pocus: The Game

Hocus Pocus Disney Game

Relive the classic Halloween movie over and over with this board game that has everyone working together to ruin the evil Sanderson sisters’ potions and to put a stop to their plans. But the witches have some spells up their sleeves. Can you stop them before the sun rises? Ravensburger, $35, indigo.ca.

9. Hands Full

Hands Full game

Hang on tight: Things are about to get out of hand! You’ll get tangled up trying to hold on while jumping, dancing and shaking to complete some twisted challenges. Take turns going solo or work together to see how long you can last—or ramp things up a notch in Survival Mode, where the last one standing wins! WowWee, $40, mastermindtoys.com.

10. Washable Paint Pour Art Set

Washable Paint Pour Art Set

Create a beautiful work of art with this painting kit. Simply layer paints into the provided beaker and pour them onto the canvas to create a kaleidoscope of colour. Tilt the canvas to move the paint around or try pouring through the strainer to create cool new shapes. Crayola, $23, toysrus.ca.

11. Kids Against Maturity

Kids Against Maturity

Everybody loves a little potty humour. In this crass-but-family-friendly party game, you’ll all be howling with laughter at the silly questions that match up with even sillier answers. There are plenty of expansion packs (sold separately), so you can keep up the fun whenever the urge strikes. Kids Against Maturity, $40, amazon.ca.

12. City Ocean Exploration Ship

City Ocean Exploration Ship

With a ship (that actually floats!), a dinghy, a helicopter and a submarine, kids can survey the ocean from up in the air to deep below the surface. Snap pictures of a stingray and inspect a sunken pirate ship, but make sure to steer clear of the great white shark lurking nearby! Lego, $180, lego.com.

13. Friends Tiger Hot Air Balloon Jungle Rescue

Hot Air Balloon Tiger Rescue

Ready to take a ride in a hot-air balloon? Kids can travel far into the jungle to rescue some adorable baby tigers from falling into the river and down the cascading waterfalls—as lovely as they are, they can be pretty dangerous! Make sure to keep an eye out for other jungle friends who might also need our help. Lego, $50, lego.com.

14. Go! Hot Rod

Hot Rod toy

With more than 200 pieces— including reversible wheels, a baseplate chassis and pieces that glow in the dark—this hot rod set can be used to make all kinds of race cars. Plus-Plus, $25, qhousekids.com.

15. Bionic Robot Soccer Snake

Bionic Robot Soccer Snake

There’s a snake in the house! And it’s…playing soccer? Build this robotic snake and use its head to wrangle the blue foam ball and score goals galore. With simple controls and two different speed modes, this robot will entertain your kids for hours as it slithers around the living room—but don’t worry, it doesn’t bite! PlaySteam, $32, brightenuptoysandgames.ca.

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