While the majority of our reviews last year covered digital resources, a handful of physical products stood out as refreshing alternatives to digital play. Revisit a selection of five hands-on tools for kids that made a positive impression on us in 2018:

1. Little Passports
Geared toward global citizenship and STEM education, Little Passports is an educational subscription box bringing experiments, learning activities, and a comic adventure in each kit. Topics are introduced comprehensively, and with new surprises each month, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

2. MuddWatt
The MuddWatt is a device that introduces kids to renewable energy and microbiology by teaching them how to generate electricity from the microbes in mud. Paired with an app that helps users measure their bacteria population and the energy generated, the MudWatt can be appreciated by scientists of all ages.

3. Merge Cube
The Merge Cube may look like a basic foam toy, but when paired with specially-made apps, it makes AI tangible. From exploring a tiny human body to holding the entire solar system in your hand, this product can be used as a tool or toy in a wide variety of contexts.

4. MAKERbuino
For any parents nostalgic for some retro gaming fun, the MAKERbuino might be just right for your child. This kit is a DIY handheld video gaming console that allows users to create and play games in true 90s fashion.

5. STEMosaur
This coding dinosaur gives kids the opportunity to personalize a toy in a whole new way. STEMosaur gives children the hands-on experience of inputting commands and seeing an almost immediate reaction from the toy they’ve coded.

Image: by Frank Wang via Unsplash