Parents' Choice: Top Toys for Kids Who Love Reading and Writing

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

enter image description

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

enter image description

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

enter image description

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

enter image description

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

enter image description

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!

enter image description

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)

7. Cicada

enter image description

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®.