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Holiday toys mesh education with tons of fun

(Sinclair Broadcast Group)

It's a little over a week until Christmas, and if you still haven't figured out the perfect gift for the little ones this holiday season, we're taking a look at toys that are packed with education and tons of fun.

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

"I'm always looking at mom blogs to see what they're giving and what they recommend," said mother of two Kim 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 Amuse Toys.

Towles said 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," Towles said.

Even though magnatiles are nothing new to store shelves, Towles said 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," Towles said.

It's never too early to start learning, and even barbie is hopping on the stem wagon.

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

This holiday season, the emphasis is on anything that fosters critical thinking and problem solving.

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