Birthday gifts for school-aged grandchildren

As grandparents, shopping for birthday gifts for school-aged grandchildren can be challenging to say the least.  The array of options is quite bewildering and then putting yourself in your grandchild’s shoes is not so easy either. You want to give a gift that will delight the child but you do not want one that will give pleasure for a day and then break or get tossed aside.  I have put together a list of well constructed, challenging toys, kits or games from Marbles: The Brain Store. They have tapped into fun and entertaining ways to stretch creativity and develop young minds.

Active brains

Working on balance and coordination is vital for healthy development.

Spooner Pro Red

Spooner Pro

The Spooner Board is great for kids of 8 plus to work on their coordination and balance in a really fun way.  This balance board is a sturdy one made of polyethelene and its spoon shape gives more control over maneuvers on any surface. The child stands on the board, and positions his/her feet on the guide tape. The weight is shifted from one foot to the other to manipulate the board.  It can be used indoors and outdoors, on virtually any surface.
Spooner Board Red – $41.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store



This game for kids of 8 plus offers a new way of playing catch. Slip the Fündapop onto the hand, DROP the ball inside the nylon launch pad and POP open the mitt.  The ball pops out, soars through the air and, with a satisfying snap, gets LOCKED into the mitt of the other person. The game improves hand-eye coordination and sharpens catching skills. At an age when it’s hard to get kids away from their screens, this game can lure them into working up a sweat and having some fun.
Fundapop – $27.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Designer brains

Spark all kinds of creativity and encourage inventive ideas with the following sets.

Fashion Plates

fashion plates

This kit is suitable for kids of 6 plus and contains 20 fashion plates, 20 sheets of paper, pens and crayons and a drawing tablet. A fashion folio guide and carrying case are also included.  This kit is a modern twist on a fashion drawing set many of us remember from the 1970s.

The child  chooses items like hairstyles, tops and bottoms from the ridged, textured, and double-sided fashion design plates.  A crayon or colored pencil is rubbed against the ridges of the selected items and the design comes to life on paper.  This helps to develop creativity and refine visual discrimination skills.
Fashion Plates Superstar Deluxe Kit – $19.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

 3Doodler Start Super Mega Pen Set

3d doodler pen

The recommended age for this pen is 8 and over and inside the box is the 3Doodler Start Mega Pen, 192 strands of eco-plastic in 8 different colours and 8 molds. A micro USB charging cable and a 3Doodler Start activity guide are also included.

The idea is to doodle in the air with this simple, handheld 3D printer and create in  3D. A strand of eco-plastic is loaded into the pen, and after 10-15 seconds it is warm enough to use. The pen charges quickly via the USB cable, and is then completely wireless for play. While the eco-plastic is warm when it leaves the pen, it’s perfectly safe to touch. The plastic strands are non-toxic and BPA Free. The drawing dries in 15 seconds and is biodegradable. Fine motor and visual-spatial skills are required to bring imagination to life.
3Doodler Start Super Mega Pen Set – $99.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Maker brains

Is your grandchild interested in becoming an engineer, architect or scientist?  Tap the centers of logic, reasoning and planning in the brain and exercise fine motor skills in the body with the following kits.

Sick Science Color Chem

Sick science set

This set is suitable for ages 6 plus but it does contain chemicals that may be harmful if misused and so it should only be used under supervision of an adult. It contains heat sensitive paper, test tubes, pipettes, 120ml plastic cups, pH paper strips, sodium carbonate solution, a phenolphthalein indicator and cabbage powder. It comes with a full-colour, image-filled activity guide.

With 6 different experiments and investigations, this set gives a taste of practical, hands-on science. Paper and liquids ‘magically’ change colour. A red cabbage indicator tests for alkalinity or acidity of liquids.  Scientific experimentation, investigation and critical thinking are made entertaining, engaging, and fun.
Sick Science Color Chem – $19.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Lux 200 Piece Set

Lux set

This 200 piece set of interlocking blocks is suitable for kids aged 6 plus. Flexible pieces interlock like hinges so constructions can be twisted, coiled and angled. The blocks stay together securely, even when they are pushed together or stretched out. Kids can create curves, arches and spheres with ease. Constructing with these interlocking blocks helps to build visual and spatial coordination.
LUX Medium 200 Piece Set – $64.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Sociable brains

Perhaps your grandchild enjoys nothing better than playing games with others. The following games will entertain, engage and challenge a child in a social atmosphere.



This fantasy adventure card and dice game is recommended for kids aged 8 plus and consists of 108 cards, 6 custom dice and the rules of play. It is for 2 to 4 players and lasts for 20-30 minutes. Five cards are placed face up to form the landscape and 5 adventurer cards are dealt to each player.  Players play their colored and numbered cards in easy-to-follow combinations. They can Scream at a creature by playing cards of the same color; Stomp on a creature by playing cards of the same number; Strike a creature by playing cards of any color that are in a numbered row.  They must then roll the same number of dice as the number of cards played and aim to score the minimum number of points that are on the creature’s card.
Dragonwood – $14.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Dimension Puzzle Game

Dimension puzzle game

This game is recommended for kids of 10 plus. Inside the box you will find 4 player trays, 4 overview tiles, 1 hourglass, 60 spheres, 60 task cards, 90 point tokens, 30 bonus tokens, 12 self-adhesive feet and a rule booklet.

This game takes about 20 to 30 minutes and can be played by 1-4 players. It’s a fast-moving, 3D sphere-stacking, problem-solving puzzle game. All the players play at the same time as they race against each other and against the clock to arrange a pyramid of differently colored spheres on their game trays. How the spheres are stacked is dictated by 6 task cards e.g. blue can’t touch white, orange must touch blue etc. Points are scored for each sphere on the tray.
Dimension – $49.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Strategy Brains

Gravity Maze

gravity maze

This game is recommended for kids of 8 plus and the box includes a game grid, 10 gravity maze towers, 3 marbles, 60 challenge cards (from beginner to expert) and instructions.

The player selects a challenge card and sets up the towers on the game grid to match.  The goal is to position the towers so that when the marble is dropped from the tallest tower, it travels through each piece to reach the target. This becomes more difficult as the player progresses through the challenges from beginner to expert.  This is a single-player game that exercises visual-spatial relations with strategic planning.
Gravity Maze – $21.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Pylos Strategy Game


This game is recommended for children of 8 plus and consists of a board, 30 wooden marbles (15 light and 15 dark), a cloth bag and the rules of the game. The aim of the game is to be the last player to place a wooden marble on top of a pyramid. This game is for 2 players and each player gets 15 wooden marbles. Players take turns placing a marble onto an indented wooden board. Once any 4 marbles have been placed next to each other to form a square, the next marble can be placed on top to start a new level. This may sound simple but it’s the rules that make the game more complex.
Pylos Classic – $29.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Tech brains

Snap Circuits 3-D Illumination

snap circuits

Snap Circuits is recommended for children of 8 plus and contains over 50 parts for 150 projects. This award winning activity lets kids build everything from an FM radio to burglar alarms. It also has light effects like a 3-Color Light Tunnel, a projector with 6 cool images, mirrors and reflecting circuits. Transforming a 2D set of instructions into a 3D object works areas of the brain that focus on small spatial details.
Snap Circuits 3-D Illumination – $49.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Beasts of Balance

beasts of balance

This is recommended for kids of 6 plus and is for 1 – 5 players. It comes with a collection of pieces (6 beasts, 10 elements, 2 miracles, 3 migrate and 3 cross artifacts), and a sensing platform. To play this game a tablet is required and an app compatible with both Apple and Android systems is included.

The tablet is placed on a table so all players can view the screen. The plinth is connected to the tablet via Bluetooth. A player chooses a piece and touches it to the platform, watches it appear on the tablet, and then adds it to the tower. There are endless possibilities and combinations of pieces and as they are added they create, enhance or evolve the beasts that live in the connected digital realm. The goal is to build the tallest tower of beasts. Once the tower falls, the game is over and the beasts are extinct.  This game requires tactile dexterity and stimulates the imagination.
Beasts of Balance – $99.99
from: Marbles: The Brain Store

Some of these gifts are fairly costly and others are more reasonable but they are all soundly constructed and will give pleasure for years.


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