Chicago Toy and Game Fair & Our Black Friday Picks


Our Bennett Day School outing to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair was exciting indeed. We discovered fun, friendship, creativity, ideas for gift-giving, and many acts of kindness.  Our students were notably thoughtful and responsible within this very festive environment. One could easily observe the thoughtfulness and adaptability being used by Bennett Day School students as they shared art-making materials at the PomPom Wow creativity table, piloted a Polar Express train with remote controls, waited turns to drive inside child-sized Berg Toy vehicles, or used Virtual Reality goggles to find their way through real-world marble mazes by Seedling.  Despite the overwhelming variety of toys, games and special activities, our students were able to flex to this special venue. After leaving the ChiTAG Fair 2016, we ate lunch together at Billy Goat at Navy Pier, and discussed their individual  impressions, finds, and experiences with our teacher-created “scavenger hunt.” We discovered a few favorites that we will share with you below, as Black Friday holiday gift picks. 

Top 10 Bennett Day School Favorites:

  1. Our kids really enjoyed the Smart Toys Smart Car (a spatial-perceptual puzzle and vehicle in one) and Little Red Riding Hood (a literacy experience combined with a spatial-perceptual puzzle). Great for the younger crowd!
  2. PomPom Wow creativity kits were a very BIG hit and some of our second graders were making birthday gifts for a classmate, using these fun materials.
  3. Automoblox offer fun ideas in block-and-vehicle pretend play for a wide variety of ages.
  4. Legos were a definite favorite.  Colorful sets with purple and pink Legos were an especially big hit for student creativity, inventiveness and friendly narratives in the construction zone.
  5. Need something to inspire innovation? Check out the Snap Circuits Arcade by Elenco or SmartLab Ultimate Secret Formula Lab by International Playthings. These are an exciting introduction to problem solving and following directions.
  6. Looking for something a little more high-tech? Check out the Cozmo robot by Anki. It’s a little pricier but really cool in that it has a lifelike personality and expresses real emotions in response to your actions. 
  7. Need something for the new baby in the family? Check out the adorable, Mosie Puppy by North American Bear Co.
  8. For the tweens and teens in the family? Try the Kano Complete Computer Kit. It helps children to build their very own computer.
  9. For the toddlers? Stack and Roll Wooden Race Cars by Lakeshore or the Racing Stripes Wooden Push and Pull Walker by Hape.
  10. But probably our most favorite gift of the year is by the wonderful team at Tangible Play. Osmo Coding just made the Wall Street Journal list of Best Tech Gifts of 2016.  Our very own, Special Projects Coordinator and JK teacher, Mrs. Judd was an advisor on this product and the Bennett Day team are thrilled that it made the list!

What’s on your holiday gift list? Comment Below!