100 of the best educational toys: KS2

Educational toys: Moonscope
Your child will be having so much fun playing these games they won't even realise they're practising their times tables, improving their vocabulary, boosting mental maths skills and revising geography facts. Hands-on fun is guaranteed with every learning activity, from writing in hieroglyphics to dissecting a body and observing the night sky.

BrainBox Maths

(£11.99, Green Board Games)

Improve your  child’s maths skills with a fun version of the popular BrainBox game. Players have 10 seconds to study a card before being asked a question from the back, chosen by the roll of the die. If the question is answered correctly the card is kept, but if not it’s returned to the box. The player with the most cards after 10 minutes wins the game!

Human Body

(£21.99, Mulberry Bush)

Get to know the human body by exploring it through this interactive model (30 cam tall). It’s got skeletal, vascular and muscular systems, and includes forceps and tweezers to remove the (squishy!) vital organs. The kit includes an illustrated book that will guide your child through the body, and explain how everything works in a clear, engaging way.

Nancy B’s Science Club Moonscope™

(£47, Learning Resources)

A first telescope for future astronomers, Nancy B’s Science Club Moonscope™ and Sky Gazer’s Activity Journal is small but offers 18x to 90x magnification, a Moon Filter and tripod with built-in red LED. Easy to put together and perfect for beginners, it will offer your child the opportunity to look for mountain ranges, seas and craters on the moon and become familiar with the night-time sky.

Astronauts

(£10.99, Wild Card Games)

Race your opponents to explore the planets and moons of our solar system and then return safely back to Earth. Explore Mars, the moons of Jupiter, Saturn’s rings, Neptune, the Kuiper Belt and more as you slingshot your way from planet to planet and use your booster rocket and hyperspace to speed your safe return. Avoid the Asteroids, beware of the Black Hole, watch out for the Wormhole and try not to get stuck in the grip of Jupiter’s massive gravity...

Natural History Museum Dynamo Torch

(£13.99, 4M)

Turn a simple toy motor into a generator that converts the energy from cranking the handle into electrical energy, powering a light bulb. No battery is needed and no pollution is generated – the perfect project for the eco-conscious scientists and engineers of the future! Suitable from age 8.

K’NEX Education: Investigating Solar Energy Set

(£79.99, K'NEX)

Discover green energy the hands-on way with the this instructional model set. Assemble the 128 K'NEX parts to understand more about solar energy – a solar panel, solar motor and capacitator for storing energy are included, so plenty of practical (and green!) experiments can take place.

Wordsmithery

(£20, Clarendon Games)

How good is your vocabulary? Time to put your knowledge of words to the test with Wordsmithery, the family words game. Guess the meaning of one of 700 words (like egregious, phalanx and salubrious). Sure you know? You'll get three possible definitions to choose from, but need to battle all the other wordsmiths, young and old, who are racing to get to ten points first.

30 Cubed

(£19.99, The Happy Puzzle Company)

From beginner to impossibly challenging, this mathematical puzzles game tests your logical reasoning skills with hard, harder and brain-numbingly hard cube sequences to complete. Each cube features the same 6 base colours, but the order varies from cube to cube. Every side on every cube includes part of a line which appears in 10 different colours. The 45 challenges require the lines and/or base colours to be connected in different ways, following increasingly complex rules.

Deep Space Home Planetarium and Projector

(£34.99, Brainstorm)

An outer space light show in your child's own bedroom! This combined planetarium and projector offers two settings to view starry images from space. The planetarium has two rotating domes, one of star patterns, and another of constellations. Use the projector function to look at 24-colour NASA & Hubble Telescope photographs of spacecraft, astronauts, planets and nebulae from three changeable slide discs. A colourful informational guide offers fascinating facts about each NASA photograph. Requires 3 x AA batteries.

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Toy

(£149.99, LEGO)

Start with 840 LEGO pieces to build five different models: a dancing robot, a digital pet, a musical instrument, a rover and an automated LEGO production line. Each project is progressively more challenging and once it's built, using distance, colour and tilt sensor technologies, kids can code actions and behaviours into whatever they build with a free tablet app! (The app is only available for certain devices for check carefully before you buy.) A brilliant blend of construction and programming. 

Rapidough

(£24.99, Drumond Park)

A popular game of modelling charades. Played in teams, everyone needs to get stuck in and let their creative skills run riot – great for several generations to play together. At the end of each round, the losing team (or teams) has one ‘plug’ of dough taken away from them, making sculpting shapes all the more challenging. Great for dexterity, creativity and teamwork.

Timeline: British History

(£13.99, Asmodee)

Timeline: British History is a card game played using 109 cards. The aim of the game is to place all the cards in chronological order with all other cards on the table – but how well do you know your British history? (You can make the game more challenging by combining the British History set with other editions which cover scientific discoveries or world events.) 

Pass the Bomb Junior

(£17.99, Gibsons)

An exciting, all-ages game. Pass the time-ticking object around the table while everyone takes turns picking a card and mentioning something associated with the scene shown on it. If the bomb goes off while you’re holding it, you’re out! Pass the Bomb Junior is for 2-12 players.

Snap Circuits SC-300

(£59.99, Snap Circuits)

A fun, child-friendly way to learn about electronics, this educational kit offers more than 300 projects to build (including an AM radio, a burglar alarm, a doorbell) and explains how time-delay circuits, oscillators and photo sensors work. Follow the colorful pictures in the manual to 'snap' the sturdy pieces together and create working circuits in minutes (no tools required).

Carcassonne

(£32.99, Rio Grande)

This simple tile-laying game, named after the historic French city, brings new challenges with every turn and helps to strengthen logic and thinking skills. Players develop the area around Carcassonne by placing different kinds of land tiles against tiles previously played, each offering the chance to earn points using the game pieces provided. The challenge is to use these pieces wisely in such a way to earn the most points; the player with the best strategy wins.

Detective Dot Megapack

(£18.99, Bright Labs)

Did you know that, in cartoons, 0% of princesses are engineers, only 2.9% of characters are black and boys are twice as likely to take the lead? Detective Dot, nine-year-old coder and founder member of the Children’s Intelligence Agency, is going to change all that. Introduce your child to a world of tech whizadry and code-cracking with the Detective Dot Megapack, delivered in a Top Secret envelope addressed to your child, with a personalised invitation to join the CIA. Also included is a Detective Dot story book, seven mission cards and a CIA sticker sheet.

DIY Thirsty Plant Kit

(£24.99, Technology Will Save Us)

Take your first steps in electrical engineering with a DIY Thirsty Plant Kit. Make a moisture sensor out of plaster of paris and nails, then assemble a circuit and power it with a solar panel. When your plant needs watering an LED will flash to tell you, so there are green-fingered advantages to learning basic circuitry!

Maths Dice Junior

(£9.99, ThinkFun)

A super-portable and very popular simple maths game. Roll the 12-sided target die to get a target number, then roll the scoring dice and use addition and/or subtraction to match the target. The first player to reach the finish line wins. Suitable from age 6.

Scabs and Guts

(£25.20, Imagination Games)

This "meducational" board is packed with interesting and occasionally disgusting medical facts about how your body works. Players or teams take turns to move around the body-shaped game board while attempting to correctly answer multiple choice questions. Keep an eye out for Miracle Cure and Strong Immunity cards that can improve your health and help you win the game. But watch out for the Accidents Happens and Couch Potato cards that could make you ill and slow you down! For 2 or more players.

CHEM C1000 Chemistry Set

(£49.99, Thames & Kosmos)

Budding chemists will love getting stuck into this amazing set, which helps them through 125 different experiments. They’ll start by learning what chemistry is, who the big names are, and how to run a safe lab. Experiments involve indicators, chromatography, air pressure, surface tension, metals, liquids and more. The kit includes clear instructions and plenty of safety tips, plus a full-colour guide to the experiments.

Mover Kit

(£59.99, Technology Will Save Us)

Get kids moving as well as learning to code with this wrist-worn toy that reacts to movement with light. Everything they need to write their own script and rules for games and active activities is included, and they'll be getting plenty of exercise as well as understanding the basics of how circuits work and how to practise computational thinking.

Story Cubes

(£9.99, The Creativity Hub)

Encourage creative thinking and storytelling with these amazing little game. Roll the nine six-sided story cube dice, and find a way to link together the images shown in a story of your own. There are no wrong answers, and playing the game over again will help your child figure out new and interesting ways to make up tales that fit all the images.

Arithmanix

(£10.99, Wild Card Games)

Race against each other to see who can be first to add, subtract, multiply or divide the right combination of cards in their hand to reach the Arithmanix number. You get points for getting close, but more if you can get the magic number! This game helps your child learn the order of operations and build mental maths skills.

Virtuali-Tee

(£25, Curiscope)

Bring learning to life with this futuristic T-shirt, partnered with a free app, which allows kids to discover the human body in fully animated 3D using immersive augmented and virtual reality. The design is picked up by the camera function on the app, allowing users to jump into an under-the-skin guided tour of the body and watch a heart pumping and blood rushing through veins on their phone or using a pair of VR goggles. Child sizes from 3-4 years to 12-14 years are available (as well as adult sizes).

Trivial Pursuit Family Edition

(£32.99, Hasbro)

A classic family game that spans the generations, the Family Edition is designed specially to be played by kids and adults togather, with 1,200 questions written just for kids, so they can show off what they know, and 1,200 questions aimed at adults. The Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts & Literature, Science & Nature and Sports & Leisure topics you remember from playing as a child are still there, but the board has been re-formatted for faster game play.

Smart Globe Starry SG101R

(£39.99, Oregon Scientific)

A two-in-one globe to introduce your child to our planet and the night sky above us. In "day mode" the globe shows political boundaries, oceans, country names and capital cities and the smart learning pen, included, can be used to discover facts and figures and unlock augmented reality content. In "night mode" the globe becomes an illuminated map of plants and stars including 88 constellations and makes a very good night-light for an older child.

littleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

(£149.99, littleBits)

An investment buy for Marvel fans, allowing them to build and customise their high-tech hero gear and unique identity with electronic blocks. The complementary app includes step-by-step instructions and video tutorials that guide kids through creating and coding their smart device (an Iron Man bionic arm with wearable tech sensors, customisable LED matrix light design and authentic Marvel Avengers sound effects). Once your child has mastered the set, the littleBits electronic blocks and parts can be reconfigured in different ways to create different inventions and are compatible with other littleBit kits.

I Know my World Map Jigsaw Puzzle

(from £25, Wentworth Wooden Puzzles)

This world map puzzle will help your child improve their knowledge of geography, and includes numbered landmarks for different countries. Available in 50-piece, 100-piece and 250-piece sets, the wooden pieces are hard-wearing and will still offer the whole family a challenge in years to come.

Articulate for Kids

(£19.99, Drumond Park)

Looking for ways to get the kids talking (about anything except Minecraft, that is!)? This family version of the best-selling adults' game boost vocabulary and helps them practise expressing ideas and describing their thoughts. A great game for all the family.

Slot Together Victorian Doll's House

(£16.80, Usborne)

Build your own Victorian mansion, complete with furniture (including a roll-top bath and a miniature doll's house in the nursery!), inhabitants and pets. Beautiful and historically accurate, this foam-baord set includes a book about life in a grand Victorian house, showing how a Victorian family lived. A fantastically priced doll's house option that will become a firm favourite.

Shopping for a different age group? Look through our learning-toy picks for EYFS (children aged 4 to 6) and KS1 (children aged 7 to 11), plus educational stocking fillers and great construction toys for all ages.