Best Toys from Holiday of Play 2020 (STEM, Art and Free Play)

If you have read any of my other blog posts this year I have gone to a bunch of toy events, Toy Fair and Sweet Suite. At both of those events I saw so many toys. For both of them I picked out my favorite toys and Holiday of Play is no exception. Check out below to see all the cool toys I found at Holiday of Play. To see some of these toys in action check out my Best of Toy Fair video.

This blog post contains affiliate links.

What makes a good toy? When my Dad was alive he remarried and his new wife valued quality gifts over quantity gifts. That lesson has stuck with me being a parent. I definitely value quality toys over lots of toys.

Good toys have good play value. Play value in my opinion is the time a child will spend with the toy AND what the child will get out of the toy. There are many toys my kids have received that they glance at once, thrown in a pile and never pick up again. Meanwhile they clutter the house and little pieces are scattered everywhere. 
My favorite toys are toys that are STEM, art and free play based, basically ones I buy my kids. I also do not like toys that tell the child how to play with them, ie toys that only have one way to be played with and involve lots of button pushing. Talking and noise toys are okay if the child makes a decision when playing with the toy and that decision has a consequence, see the Botlee 2.0, My Home, Squeakee below. Not toys where the child only pushes certain buttons and the toy starts talking. I give those away.

With that in mind here are my favorite STEM, art and free play toys from Holiday of Play. I have included links to all the toys. 

These are all the companies that came to Holiday of Play.
The Smartivity Music Machine won the toy of Holiday of Play for me. First the child builds the machine and then they put the pegs in corresponding holes to make music. As a musician I love this. They are learning the basics of how instruments work. The toy is also recyclable, safe, non-toxic, and sustainable.

Snap Circut: My Home is an electrical engineering STEM toy that teaches kids about electrical circuits.

Smart Labs-Storm Watcher
Smart Labs had lots of fun toys, but the Storm Watcher weather lab was my favorite. The kits include all the hard to find materials and lists of easy to find materials.
The paper flower science kit from Crayola is a super neat STEM kit that teaches the principles of capillary action by the flowers wicking up ink in the base of the flower. I will be doing a specific blog post on this soon and video. Make sure to check that out. The paper maker teaches valuable lessons on manufacturing paper.
Educational Insights and Learning Resources
We participated in an event with Botley at Holiday of Play. Educational Insights sent each of us a package and we could not open it until 4:30 that day. We all got on and some of us had letters in our packages. Mine was B. There was also a Botley in the package. We were super excited. There will be a blog post coming soon with our review of Botley. Spoiler alert, my kids LOVE him.

Circuit Explorer is a super another cute electrical STEM toy based on the moon that fits together and once together will form an electrical circuit.

Play Monster-Snap Ships
Hands down this was my sons favorite toy. All these little pieces snap together to make this ship. Kids can also use their imagination to make whatever they want.

Guju Adventure from Luki Labs
Guju Adventure is a STEM toy made with plastic panels and plastic connectors that can be arranged to make a Deep Sea Submarine or anything the child wants to make.
Here is some random info. Step 2 makes mailboxes, we have one. They also make super cute outdoor and indoor free play toys. This Side by Side SUV and Ride and Hide Roller Coaster are super cute. They only thing with the slide is it takes up a bit of space. But it can be used inside or outside.
Blue Marble-National Geographic Handheld Microscope and Earth Science Kit
National Geographic launched a toy line this year and it is amazing. We have tried out the Marble run and all of their STEM toys look amazing! The Earth Science Kit is all about the Earth with 15 plus activities and the Microscope actually works to look up close at items.
Funko Games-Back to the Future Game, Pan Am Game and Pop-Tarts Game
My husband is a big board game fan. We love playing them with our kids. It helps them develop reasoning and mathematical skills, as well as working together as a team. Back to the Future is a cooperative game to prevent Marty McFly from fading away. Pan Am is a game based on the history of airline development where players try to build up their fledging airlines and compete with Pan Am. Pop Tarts is a Game about eating as many Pop Tarts as you can. It is a fun fast game to play and touches on coding because players have to take "actions" to improve their chomping ability before they eat their Pop Tarts.
Squeakee is a cute balloon dog that can perform a variety of tricks.
Crash Circuit from Far Out Toys
Crash Circuit is a race track with super fast cars that need to be charged with a charger for a few seconds before they take off. So much better than the clunky hot wheels set that required so many batteries and did not work long that I sold, in my opinion.
Spin Master-Air Hog and Megalodon
I am a big fan of remote control cars and both of these are next level. The air hog can be used indoors and drive over everything. When it falls it will not break. The Megalodon can be used outside and can go over water, mud, and rocks!
Wow Wee-Power Treads
Power Treads are a great STEM activity. The tread car has to be built and then it can race. I think this is great because it shows movement can come from more than just wheels.
There were some great Lego toys at Holiday of Play. Here are my favorites, they range in prices from way expensive(Mos-Eisley) to stocking stuffer (Lego Dots)

Holiday of Play was super fun! There was trivia, games, contests and lots of giveaways. There was also presents scattered around the floor. Can you see the one below? The Toy Insider did a great job setting up a great at Home experience. I hope something like this stays around even after in person events come back because it was great to do it from the comfort of home, no money on travel, food or hotels. I LOVE the in person events, but this would be a great connection tool as a supplement.

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