Shopping & Services Hobby Toys and Kits for Kids to Get a Jumpstart If you've got a child who loves art, bugs, story books, beads or jewelry, science, sculpture or, heck, even balloon animals, these products will ignite their brains. « Previous Next » AnnMarie Ottoy • January 16, 2013 Add Comment Tweet A New Year means all sorts of new beginnings, and we think that should include nurturing an interest or passion your kids are way into. Fittingly, January is National Hobby Month. That got us thinking: What sorts of little kits and toys are out there to fire-up the aspiring little entomologist, fashionista, entertainer or Picasso in your house? Luckily for southeast Michigan moms and dads – plenty! Check out this Gimme, Gimme! blog roundup of great grabs sure to spark a new interest. Star Pilot Encourage the young stargazer in the family with this award-winning beginners’ astronomy kit. Learn how to spot a constellation, discover the life cycle of a star or make a night vision flashlight with this nifty toy by The Young Scientists Club. May the force be with you as struggle to enforce bedtime. Ages 10-plus. Find yours for about $30 on Amazon. Discover Colors Color-Mixing Workshop Grab one of dad’s old shirts and roll up the sleeves. Painting is the name of the game with this art kit by Djeco, designed to inspire your child to explore mixing colors. Don’t stop with the rainbow – how many colors can you create? Perfect for ages 4-6 years old. It’s about $30. How-to Balloon Animals Kit Bypass the scary clowns and go straight to the fun with the balloon animals kit by Schylling. Kids can follow the instructions in the manual or dream up a whole new animal. This is an indoor activity that will keep them busy for hours. Ages 8-plus. Make sure you buy extra balloons! Basic kit is about $10 at Amazon. Clay Sculpture What will it be? A vase? A bowl? A replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Let their imagination loose with 15 bars of clay, a sculpting tool and a rolling pin by T.S. Shure. Sculpting is a hands-on activity almost every kid will love. Ages 5-plus; runs about $17. Native American Bead Kit Give her this bead kit by Alex and she’ll be making necklaces, rings and anklets with beautiful, ancient Native American patterns. With over 2,000 beads, you may not see her again until spring. Well, she might pop up around Groundhog’s Day for a quick snack! Ages 8-plus. About $10 on Amazon. Bug Podz Habitat Construction Set Anyone can collect bugs, but can they build them a cool bug city to live in, too? Your child can, with the Bug Podz Habitat Construction Set by Summit Products. Over 50 pieces include pods and tubes for bugs to crawl in style. You might want to keep this project in the garage – just sayin’. For ages 5-plus. About $20 at Store for Knowledge. Book Creator for iPad This is one the entire family can enjoy. The Book Creator app by Red Jumper Studio allows your child to choose pictures, layouts and create their own story to share with friends or family. Younger kids will love creating picture books, and older kids will think importing music or video into their story is beyond cool. It’s $4.99 on iTunes. Mythbusters Weird World of Water Kit What? Water is weird? According to the famous Mythbusters duo it is. Kids (ages 9-plus) will learn about whirlpools, if it’s possible to walk on water and how to create a water-powered rocket with this kit by Scientific Explorer. You might want to save the last part for warmer weather. Then again, a 60-degree day during a Michigan winter isn’t unheard of, eh? About $25 at Discover This.