12 great gifts that will make your kids smarter

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The holidays are all about children, but that doesn't mean they can't be good for children, too. Don't just get your kids apps for their iPads, get them something tangible. And get them something that can really help them in the long term.

Here are 12 great gifts that could make your kids smarter.

1. Disruptus

Gift Guide disruptus

Price: $24.99
Buy now: Disruptus

Disruptus is a work out for anyone's brain, even yours. When it's your turn, you have one minute to take two objects and create something new out of them.

So, for instance, you could take a staircase and a book and make a bookcase, turn contacts into camera lenses or make a door knocker out of a high heeled shoe. Innovate and win!

2. GoldieBlox

Source: GoldieBlox

Price: $39.99
Buy now: GoldieBlox Craft-Struction Box

Introduce your kids to STEM and spark their creativity with this engineering construction set equipped with over 275 pieces.

3. Suspend

gift guide suspend

Price: $16.99
Buy now: Suspend

These wires and weights are a great way to teach your kid (aged eight and older) about the laws of physics.

4. Magnetic Tiles

Source: Best Choice Products

Price: $54.94
Buy now: 100-Piece Clear Multi-Color Magnetic Tiles Set

Go simple and classic with a set of magnetic tiles to boost your kids' imaginations. Children can use the tiles to build whatever comes to mind: a castle, a truck or an abstract tribute to you to demonstrate how much they appreciate the present.

5. Instruments

Source: Discount School Supply

Price: $74.81
Buy now: 15-Piece Super Player Rhythm Set

Playing music makes everyone smarter. Get your child some rhythm instruments, usable for anyone at least three years old. With a 15-piece set, the whole family can get involved.

Plus, if they join a band later in life, your kids will thank you for having made them cooler.

6. The Empathy Toy

Source: Twenty One Toys

Price: $121
Buy now: The Empathy Toy At-Home Set

For how simple this game is, its lessons are profound. To play, both players get blindfolded. One has to configure their pieces in a certain shape, and then, through verbal descriptions only, help the other player mimic it.

The puzzle can only be solved once the players understand each other.

7. A poetry book

gift guide a poke in the i

Price: $7.17
Buy now: Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems

Reading, especially at a young age, makes kids more intelligent.

Here's a great book to introduce kids to poetry and teach them how words can be manipulated, changed and turned inside out.

8. A Build Your Own Kaleidoscope Kit

Source: Amazon

Price: $21.84
Buy now: Build Your Own Kaleidoscope Kit

This way, your kid can figure out the mechanics of something you probably don't even understand yourself.

9. Mastermind

Source: Amazon

Price: $9.50
Buy now: Mastermind

Set a secret code and let another player try to use deductive reasoning and logic to solve it.

10. A globe

Source: Amazon

Price: $29.99
Buy now: World Globe with Magnifying Glass

Don't know where Turkmenistan is? Learn while helping your kids not repeat your mistakes.

11. Roominate

Source: Amazon

Price: $29.99
Buy now: Basic Roominate

This the future of the doll house. With Roominate, kids innovate to build much more elaborate structures than older generations used to.

12. A chess set

Source: The Chess Store

Price: $19.95
Buy now: Chess set

Go classic with one of the world's oldest and best strategy games. Who knows — maybe your child will be the next Bobby Fisher.

Disclosure: These items have been handpicked by our editorial team. CNBC has affiliate relationships with some retailers so in some cases, if you purchase an item from one of our gift guides, we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchase. This holiday season, the proceeds will be donated to the Council for Economic Education, which supports economic and financial education.

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