Toys to Inspire Future Professionals

July 11, 2014 | It’s not surprising that many of today’s professionals – from engineers and chefs to architects and entrepreneurs – took inspiration for their careers from the toys and games they played with as kids.

“A police officer might reminisce about the very first toy police car she played with as a youngster … while a professional chef might recall getting his first set of play cookware at Christmas,” said Adrienne Appell, toy trend expert at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “From basic role-play toys for toddlers to hands-on kits that teach older children skills related to a specific profession or trade, toys open kids up to new worlds and inspire them to explore their talents.”

The following list contains a few examples of the many toys and games that may help kick-start a child’s imagination – and possibly put them on the path toward their future career:

For the Future Engineer …

Gigo Line Junior Engineers (Magnote)
This basic engineering set teaches preschoolers shape and color recognition as well as hand-eye coordination.  The kit includes 32 pieces that can be used to build 24 different models – including an airplane, a giraffe and a truck.


GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank (GoldieBlox)
A construction set and accompanying book series that teaches kids spatial skills, engineering principles and confidence in problem-solving. Comes with three design ideas and unlimited building possibilities; compatible with other toys in the GoldieBlox line.


Snap Circuits Motion Detector (Elenco)
Older kids can build a working motion detector thanks to the colorful snap circuits that are included in this kit. No soldering is required; the parts easily snap together. Includes an easy-to-read illustrated manual.


For the Culinary Artist …

Stove Top (Green Toys)
Little chefs can whip up imaginary meals with this classic dual-burner cook top. Three dials on the front rotate and click. Made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs.


Biofino Apple Pie (Haba)
A role-play toy that allows little ones to “bake” their very own apple pie! Includes a cake base, five green apple slices, and one piece of lattice dough.


Playful Chef Deluxe Cooking Kit with Red Apron (MindWare)
This kit includes an array of tools that are perfectly-sized for kids’ smaller hands: a baking pan, mixing bowl, scissors, muffin liners and five illustrated recipe cards that correspond with color-coded measuring cups and spoons. Teaches kids about kitchen safety, science, measuring, nutrition, seasonings and clean-up.


For the Future Pop Star …

Twinkle Tunes Piano Book (Schoenhut Piano Company)
Twinkle Tunes features a one-octave keyboard that electronically produces piano sounds, complete with a beautifully illustrated songbook containing a collection of 12 familiar tunes. Easy to take on-the-go, providing young children with hours of musical fun.


Kid Fun Electronic Keyboard Set (WinFun)
This set includes a 37-key keyboard, stand and stool. Kids are encouraged to create and perform their very own compositions using the detachable microphone and sheet music holder.


Vivtar’s iSing Music and Karaoke (Sakar International)
Kids and adults alike will have fun with this karaoke machine, which works with most tablets and smartphones. The Karaoke Anywhere app features 30,000 songs. Includes dual jack input for a second microphone.


For the Young Entrepreneur …

It’s My Biz (Fashion Angels) Coming Soon
A brand new activity line that inspires tweens to consider a career in business by teaching them the ins and outs of becoming an entrepreneur. Each kit includes a mini self-contained business, including a nail salon, jewelry boutique, t-shirt shop and cupcake bakery.


Entrepreneur Barbie (Mattel)
The new Entrepreneur Barbie doll is a stylish career woman “ready to make a bold business move and strike out on her own.” Comes with business accessories – including a briefcase, tablet and smartphone.


Secret Millionaires Club Business in a Box (TCG)
Inspired by the hit animated series starring Warren Buffett, this activity set includes everything needed to start and run a business. Teaches kids financial literacy and fosters their entrepreneurial spirit. Includes a DVD and guide book with tips from Warren Buffett.


For the Future Architect …

Urban Fold (Paper Punk)
An all-inclusive construction kit and craft activity that allows kids with an interest in architecture to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds. Simply punch out shapes, fold them into blocks, customize with stickers and build.


Modular 3D Architect Town Builder (Modular Toys)
The 3D Architect Town Builder allows kids to develop and build in all three dimensions. Helps develop abstract thinking, three dimensional perception and creativity.


LEGO Architecture (LEGO) 
LEGO Architecture is a line of construction toys that teaches kids and adults about the world’s most iconic buildings and structures and celebrates “the past, present and future of architecture” through the LEGO Brick.