Our apartment is currently ruled by Lego minifigures and Nanobugs (or Hexbug, Nano as Ben has repeatedly tried to tell me). The Nanobugs are ingenious little things that look a little like robotic centipedes. They run on a watch battery that caused their rubberized legs to vibrate, and them to run around. If they fall over, they right themselves. Ben makes mazes for them with his blocks, and though you’d think they’d get stuck in corners or always go one direction, they never do.
A few days ago Maya got two of them for herself, and now she and Ben race them, or set them out on the Hexbug track and see whose bug will win. (You win by shoving all the other bugs over the track railing.) Even Cosmo has gotten in on the action, periodically lying down next to the track and batting at the bugs as they race by.
The opportunities for play with these things are endless. They run in mazes, on tracks, through tunnels; they battle and buzz and cause gales of laughter from both kids (my favorite part). When the batteries weaken, the bugs slow down and become prey for those boasting newer batteries and faster speeds.
This is better than Kumon, any day.