Great learning gifts for your third grader
Wrap up learning and fun with 7 of the year's best toys, books, and board games.
By GreatSchools Staff
Ages: 8 and up
Dweebies is a strategic, delightfully designed card game in which each player tries to collect the most cards by building lines of cards. Kids will start to learn probability as they try to determine if another player will scoop up a row of cards before they do, based on how many of each card type is included in the deck. Up to six people can play, and in this game, the more the merrier.
Bottom line: Cute cartoon characters and simple rules create a fun and unpredictable game.
The Harry Potter audiobook series
By J. K. Rowling , narrated by Jim Dale
Ages: 9 to 12
Veteran Broadway actor Jim Dale created more than 200 voices to portray all the characters in each of the unabridged seven books in J. K. Rowlings's Harry Potter series ($287 for the box set). That adds up to a whooping 117 hours and four minutes of reading time! For his priceless portrayal of Hermoine Granger, Hagrid, Rita Skeeter, and so many others, he won a Grammy. Dale's even in the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the most voices for an audiobook. Listen and be dazzled.
Bottom line: Don't miss these 100-plus hours of a fantasy phenomenon.
Ages: 6 and up
Monopoly was a staple of family game night when we were kids. But this console game version goes far beyond the cardboard and plastic version we played. In Monopoly Collection ($39.99, Wii), it’s as if you and your family have been shrunk to game-piece size so you can move right in to live in Park Place, spend a night in jail, and construct your tenements from the ground up. And there is no need to buy another board to change the setting: Just choose from a menu that offers everything from the classic city-setting to jungle, arctic, or future.
Bottom line: A classic game parents already love, animated and brought to life to the delight of younger (and older) folks. Family game night will no longer be plagued by lost plastic pieces and you will, for a change, be the one familiar with the rules of play
What it teaches: early chemistry, math (measurement), cause and effect
What do you do with a fork, tomato, and light-bulb? No, this is no joke, it's a science experiment!
Aspiring Madame Curies and Dmitri Mendeleevs (Not a science history buff? Mendeleevs developed the first periodic table.) will unleash magic and mystery with this science-in-a-box that incites kids to muck up the kitchen, all in the name of chemistry.
Along with creating electricity (see above: tomato, fork, and light bulb), your young chemist can claim that she is, in fact, a rocket scientist after launching her own rocket. Unlike some DIY junior science kits, this one is smartly put together, its creators understand what an elementary schooler actually can do and wants to do. However, like most science kits, parents must provide plenty of ingredients — and of course be on hand to oversee measuring and make sure the science lab, a.k.a kitchen, doesn't turn into a complete disaster zone.
Bottom line: Science transformed into pure amusement, with plenty of learning tucked into every experiment.