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Educational toys are the new trend this holiday season

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Video games, action figures, princesses and ponies -- toy store aisles and online searches can get exhausting for parents like Kim Curtiss, trying to find that perfect holiday gift.

"'m always looking at mom blogs to see what they're giving and what they recommend," said Curtiss.

This year the hottest toy isn't one item -- It's a category.

What's hot right now is math, STEM, anything teaching science," said Claudia Towles, owner of the toy store aMuse.

Towles says toy companies are reinforcing science, technology, engineering and math in their products -- filling toy aisles with education.

"The reactivity of the magnet is a very interesting idea for kids," said Towles.

Even though MagnaTiles are nothing new to store shelves Towles says it's a classic favorite that promotes early math concepts, as a child ages add to the collection so they can build more complex structures.

Think about it, with Legos the more pieces they have the more they can build. These don't hurt though when you stand on them," said Towles.

And It's never too early to start learning. The Noggin stick is one of the hottest toys for babies.

"This changes color every time you shake it. It helps with visual tracking," said Towles. "Its educational. Now does the baby know they're being educated? Of course not, but it teaches cause and effect."

Even Barbie is hopping on the STEM wagon.

"Barbie is something very familiar to kids, but the STEM and engineering concept may not be," said Towles. "So this is trickery."

The slime craze is also surprisingly educational -- it's all chemistry.

And don't forget family game night. Klask is a skill game with magnetic control.

"This is one we sell to college kids and to 5-year-olds," said Towles. "It's kind of like air hockey but without the danger. And it doesn't take that much space."

This Holiday season the emphasis is on anything that fosters critical thinking and problem solving. And Curtiss is hoping a gift now will also provide her child Henry with skills he'll be glad to have later.

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