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educational and eco-friendly toys for kids

 
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What educational and eco-friendly (less / zero waste maybe?) toys would you recommend for 9-year old kid for a first communion gift (no matter which gender, I don't believe in toys dedicated to sex)? Do you think wooden toys might be attractive in digital, smartphone era?

When I was his age, I was happy if I got bricks, some discman and then mp3 player I feel old

I was thinking about some LEGO set in which kid could rebuild a sports car into a bike with special hints from Green Instructions lego website - almost nobody knows about such option, that could be 2in1, some kind of Less Waste present I think it's a great idea to "refresh" old toys. I was thinking about some board game, wooden train on rails or something from ZigZag McQueen, but I would like to introduce him to something practical and educational. He likes space, vehicles and medieval history.

Could you recommend some educational toys for a kid his age?
 
pollinator
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My brainstorm:

1. A subscription to KiwiCo: https://www.kiwico.com/?utm_source=Bing-s&utm_medium=SEM&utm_content=1233652229907864&utm_campaign=BB_Kiwi_Brand_US_Alpha&utm_term=kiwico&utm_ad&utm_adset=e&utm_placement My boys had a subscription at one point. Once a month, you get a box with a building-sort of project like a paint spinner machine, a "hydraulic" arm, etc. It's all built around STEM ideas. The price was too expensive for our family to continue, but my boys did enjoy the projects.

2. Something to build from a kit. A clock, a bat house, etc. I'm not thinking "toys" so much as something actually useful for years to come.

3. A book related to his interests. My youngest one LOVES bird watching. He has several field guides he likes. My older boy is very musically gifted and loves guitar books.

4. A special "heirloom". Do you have an old pocket watch, bolo tie, pocket knife, something like that?
 
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When my son was small - much smaller than 9 years - his Aunt gave him a full set of stubby screwdrivers. We still have them and use them (he's willing to share, so they live in a box under the bathroom counter). They were so popular that when we saw some car-shaped tool boxes with a selection of small tools intended for living in a car for emergencies, we got several and I gave them away for birthdays. One boy was incredibly pleased and became the official household "some assembly required" technician! At a second family I think it mostly collected dust, but we lost track of them. The third family refused to let the son have it because they said it was the best set of tools in the house and they thought he'd loose all the parts. One out of three wasn't bad! Two out of three at least got used!

As for regular "toys" - lego and K'nex were always hits. I sigh at all the plastic, but we've got 30 year old lego that's still perfectly fine, so at least it's long-lasting plastic.
 
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