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Noodle Staff
Noodle Expert Member

September 04, 2019

Know a kid who loves reading and writing, or who aspires to be a novelist? Check out this list of seven Parents' Choice–recommended toys for kids, suited to ages 4 through 14 and beyond.

Great writers are often avid readers, imaginative creators, and enterprising wordsmiths.

And it's never too early for kids to hone their craft. Tina Dirmann-Bergin, a journalist and true crime author, related how she wrote her first book during elementary school: "When I was in the fifth grade, I had a teacher who gave me a journal and told me she’d 'really like it' if I wrote her a story a week. At the time, I considered it a punishment. No other kid in the class had such a task. But it wasn’t an assignment. Just a request. Well, I lived up to that request and at the end of the year, she hugged me tightly and told me I had just written my first book — a collection of short stories, which she asked if she could add to our class library collection. I was bursting with pride. That teacher picked up on a love of writing growing within me before I even saw it for myself."

Parents, too, can help even very young children cultivate a love of books. Here are seven enchanting toys that will encourage and inspire your future novelist.

1. Build & Imagine StoryWalls

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What it is: Ocean-themed building sets that enable players to create structures with illustrated panels and magnetized accessories

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “colorfully decorated and impeccably detailed"

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Reading, building

Ages: 4–8

Price: $49.00; prices vary by set (purchase)

2. Tiggly Words

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What it is: Easy-to-handle vowel shapes that can be used to create words in three different fun, animated apps

Parents’ Choice Award®: Silver — "playful, charming, and instructive"

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Words, multisensory learning

Ages: 4–8

Price: $29.95 (purchase)

3. IlluStory Junior

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What it is: Budget kit that enables kids to write and illustrate their own books

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — "encourages kids to be genuinely creative"

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Creative writing, drawing

Ages: 4–10

Price: $19.00 (purchase)

4. The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

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What it is: A nonfiction picture book that presents a vivid biography of the famed thesaurus creator Peter Mark Roget

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “exceptional"

Recommended for lovers of: Words, illustrations, and interesting life stories

Ages: 7+

Price: $17.50 (purchase)

5. Play on Words

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What it is: A word card game that allows you to make anagrams as you play

Parents’ Choice Award®: Silver — “a clever, fun-to-play, mind-expanding game"

Number of players: 1–4 (comes in starter, full-deck, solitaire, rummy, and cribbage versions)

Recommended for lovers of: Word games, puns, anagrams

Ages: 8+

Price: $13.99 (purchase)

6. Compound It All!

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What it is: Compound word–building card game

Parents’ Choice Award®: Recommended — “unquestionably compounding"

Number of players: 2+

Recommended for lovers of: Words, wordplay, and word-building

Ages: 9+

Price: $29.95 (purchase{: target=“_blank" rel="nofollow" })

7. Cicada

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What it is: A literary arts publication featuring a wide range of genres by emerging writers and artists

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “offers teens and adults fertile creative ground"

Recommended for lovers of: Poetry, journals, fiction, art, and graphic novels

Ages: 14+

Price: $3.95 (purchase)

If you're looking for your child's next great read, check out the winners of the Parents' Choice Book Awards®.

To discover other great educational toys for kids with a variety of interests, check out all nine gift guides from Noodle and Parents' Choice®.