Top 5 Best Skill Toys by World Champion Jennifer Baybrook
Improve your child's fine motor skills, concentration, and problem-solving
As a professional yo-yo demonstrator and instructor, I have spent more than 30 years perfecting and playing with skill toys. Looking back, I realize how the hours I spent having fun with these toys directly contributed to the positive development of key life skills. Skills and concepts that include things like problem-solving, creativity, independence, and self-esteem. Having fun with these toys have also helped develop a high level of fine and gross motor skills.
Skill toys, like yo-yos, puzzle cubes, and kendamas, encourage children to solve problems, teach persistence, promote imagination, and help teach thinking outside of the box. A skillset that directly resulted in my personal academic success through all grade levels.
As a firm believer in the benefits of skilled toys, I have compiled a list of the top five skilled toys your child can use for development. These are toys that require minimal space and are great activities during quarantine!
To start our list, we are going back to the basics to the yo-yo! Yo-Yoing helps boost confidence, improves hand-eye coordination, builds character, and serves as a medium to express the artistic side of you.
Over the last 90 years, the design of a yo-yo and what can be done has drastically advanced into awe-inspiring yo-yo maneuvers with high-tech, fast spinning and easy to use designs. With these technological improvements’ kids can learn to yo-yo easier than ever.
Our pick for the beginner is The Reflex™. It is the easiest yo-yo for new players. Once the yo-yo loses too much spin, it will return to your hand without having to pull the string or get the timing right! In the center of the yo-yo is a centrifugal clutch. As the yo-yo loses spin, the clutch engages around the axle sending the Reflex™ automatically back to your hand. Consider this like a bike with training wheels. Once you learn proper timing then you can move on to the next level. Price $9.99 Check some of our yo-yo masters in action: www.yo-yo.com/product-videos
#2 Pick – The Kendama
The classic Japanese skill toy meets modern innovation. Players hold the 'ken' and perform tricks catching and tossing the 'Tama' (ball). Kendamas are the second most popular toy that we have. Each Komodo™ Kendama is constructed from high quality, durable beechwood. The surface of the tama (ball) is perfectly coated with a high quality, glossy paint designed to withstand extended play without chipping. Perfect for any skill level, the Komodo is easy to learn and exciting to master. Price $7.99
Our list would not be complete without a few game cubes and puzzles that everyone will love! Both you and your child can challenge your problem-solving skills while having loads of fun in the comfort of your living room.
Want to try a non-traditional cube puzzle? Try the Color Shift Puzzle Ball. This one requires you to match all the colored balls with their corresponding colored rings. There are 12 with only 11 filled with a colored ball. Utilize the empty hole to shift balls around to find their matching hole. Once all balls match their colored outer rings, the puzzle is solved! Price $7.99 In addition, the Duncan Jr. Color Shift offers a simplified version for younger users.
Prefer the traditional Cube puzzle? Check out The Duncan® Quick Cube™. It a features smooth, easy turning design to allow the user to "corner cut" for superior performance and play. Quick Cube $5.99
If you did not play with a yo-yo growing up, chances are you probably played with a spin top. Another classic toy, tops have been a standby since the creation of toys.
Designed with the child in mind, the Imperial® Spin Top is a light and durable. It is also designed with a no-mar tip, so you will not have to worry about the top scratching up your floors! Price $3.99
Every child has seen a circus performer do amazing feats with one of these. Toss it in the air and catch it or throw it under and over your leg and watch it climb the string! Although this might be best used in a room with high ceilings or in the front yard, I could not leave it out. As my second favorite skilled toy of all time, you may even find yourself competing in skills with this.
Like the yo-yo, this too has evolved in design. Traditionally these toys had a fixed axle requiring more force to make it spin but now they feature bearing axles. Bearing axles allow for easier and longer spin times. Combining both worlds, Duncan® offers both in a single diabolo with the Phoenix! By hand tightening the knobs the player can quickly switch axles back and forth for variations in play and to accommodate any skill level. The Phoenix is the only diabolo for both beginner and pro players alike! Price $19.99
Ready to get started? We offer free yo-yo tutorials and a trick accomplish badge program on our website www.yo-yo.com. Join us in the family fun by following our Blog at yo-yo.com/blog and Facebook Live @DuncanToys posts.