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Smart Stuff: Our Essential Gift Guide

Smart Stuff: Our Essential Gift Guide

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Updated on Jul 28, 2009

Want to raise a smarty? Forget the workbooks and toss the flashcards, for once. Learning should be fun. We’ve got a list of loot that will spark your child’s mind, without the slightest bit of nagging. That’s because these gifts are kid-tested and teacher approved. From raising their own butterflies to SAT practice on the fly, from fuel cell mini cars to board games that are anything but boring, here are our picks, grade-by-grade.

We’ve looked high and low for the best toys, books, games, gadgets, and other goodies to put under wrap. Our panel of teachers, parents, curriculum specialists (and of course kids!) put hundreds of products through their paces to come up with this list of our favorites. Sure, all our picks had to have learning value, but to make the cut, they also had to have major kid-appeal and staying power.  We looked for products that brought school subjects to life, but also gifts that sparked creativity and inspired imagination.  We wanted gifts that helped kids grow not just academically, but socially, emotionally, or ethically; gifts that helped stretch the mind, but also the body.

So stop wracking your brain for the best goodies to help raise an inquiring mind. We’ve done the work so you don’t have to! Here are our picks, from preschool through high school.

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