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New Mexico's Leading Family Publication Since 1992

New Mexico Kids! family magazine is a bimonthly tabloid filled with detailed listings of activities for children, teens and their parents, grandparents and teachers, along with comprehensive directories of public and private schools, summer camps, afterschool programs and other vital resources.

About 30,000 copies of New Mexico Kids! are distributed to more than 350 locations in Albuquerque, the East Mountains, Corrales, Placitas, Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Eldorado and Española.

Each issue features a full-color reproduction of a New Mexico child's painting on the cover, and contains articles filled with practical tips and ideas for raising New Mexico children. In New Mexico Kids! family magazine, you won't find the generic parenting articles you can find elsewhere. We offer local help to local families.

New Mexico Kids! is a must-read for anyone who has or works with children or teens, birth through college.

New Mexico's Leading Family Publication Since 1992

 

By Kay Snyder

Bell Rattle (birth and older)
This brightly-colored wooden rattle from Brio is easy for babies to hold and fun for them to jingle. It also is made from 100 percent Forest Stewardship Council-certified beech wood from sustainably managed forests, so families can feel good about giving it to baby. $10.99 at Toyopolis in Santa Fe. 

Bug Jug Fill & Spill
(6 months and older)
This toy by Melissa & Doug includes four stuffed bugs that squeak, crinkle, rattle and jingle. A machine washable “jug” also is included so babies can “catch” their bugs and then dump them out again. $29.99 at The BioPark Shop in Albuquerque. 

Button Art (ages 18 months and older)
Toddlers develop both artistic and fine motor skills with Button Art by ALEX toys. Children snap different colored buttons into the provided pictures, either by matching the colors or by expressing creativity with different color choices. Set includes 46 buttons, 10 pictures, and a storage tray. $11.99 at amazon.com.

Start-Up Circuits (18 months and older)
With Start-Up Circuits, there’s no need for families to wait until their child is older to introduce STEM concepts. This toy teaches toddlers to complete a circuit to activate pieces that either spin, whistle or glow. $23 at Explora in Albuquerque. 

Topanifarm (18 months and older)
These boxes by Djeco seem like traditional nesting boxes, but they have a creative twist: Each box is a “house” for a different farm animal toy. Young children develop motor skills by stacking and nesting and they use their imagination as they create a farm. $21.99 at Toyopolis in Santa Fe. 

Good Little Citizens (3 and older)
These 5-inch tall stuffed animal “citizens” from eeBoo teach children the value of being a good person even while they play. Six options are available: “Love to Help” monkey, “Work Together” elephant, “Act with Kindness” lion, “Respect Others” bunny, “Lead by Example” fox or “Protect the Earth” bear. Each toy comes with its own clothing and play scene. $14.99 at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.

Hot Wings (3 and older)
Like the “wheel”ed versions, these small aircraft toys are replicas of the real thing. Options include different kinds of airplanes, helicopters and spacecraft. Each toy comes with a collector’s card and a connectible runway that can be combined with runways from other Hot Wings toys. $7.75 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque.

Llamanoes (3 and older)
In Llamanoes, children are introduced to the game of dominoes with fun llama characters such as “Dolly Llama” and “Llama-naut.” This game is for two to four players, making it a family game that even little ones can play. $12.99 at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.

Pai Storybooks (3 and older)
These colorful storybooks use Augmented Reality (AR) technology to make pictures seem to come alive for children. The positive and interactive stories are used with a free app. $14.99 on pai.technology or amazon.com. 

Jammin’ Gym (4 and older)
Shaped like a dumbbell, Jammin’ Gym uses music, lights and fun commands to get kids moving and excited about exercise. Commands include basic moves such as jumping jacks, or kids can be encouraged to “surf” or have a dance party. Developed by a physical trainer, Jammin’ Gym can help develop healthy habits early. $24 at The Santa Fe Children’s Museum. 

Robot Races (4 and older)
Future Coders Robot Races gives children the chance to solve puzzles as a robot. After they decorate their own robot “hat,” children don the hat and use arrow cards with a floor mat to figure out the correct way to solve a puzzle. The difficulty increases with each puzzle. $13.21 on amazon.com. 

The Ultimate Fort Builder (4 and older)
Children no longer need chairs and couch cushions to build indoor forts. The Ultimate Fort Builder comes with 45 sturdy poles and 25 connector pieces so children can build the fort frame. Afterwards they only need a blanket or sheet to cover it and their fort is ready. This toy also comes with instructions for building different kinds of forts, including a castle and an igloo. It encourages both imaginative play and building skills while leaving the living room furniture in place! $49.99 at amazon.com.  

Slick Tricks (5 and older)
Slick Tricks is like a magic kit with bubbles. Bubble-making tools and an instruction booklet help children perform 16 tricks, including making bubbles dance and forming multiple smaller bubbles inside of one large one. Bubble solution is included. $18.91 on amazon.com. 
Pocket Microscope (6 and older)
As the name suggests, children can put this microscope in their pockets and take it with them for spontaneous close-up inspections anywhere they go. With this microscope, bugs, dirt, hair or anything else that interests curious children are magnified 30 times their size. Easy to hold and use. $9.49 at Talin Market in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. 

Rock Tumbler (8 and older)
Kids love to collect rocks. With the Rock Tumbler by Discover with Dr. Cool, they can smooth and polish the rocks they collect into shiny gems. This kit also comes with a half-pound of gemstones, polishing grit, five jewelry settings, and a learning guide. $69.99 at Mama’s Minerals in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. 

Chickapig (8 and older)
Chickapig is a game like chess or checkers in that players must move pieces across a checkered board – except this game takes place on a “farm” and players have to watch out for hay bales and cow poop. $25.95 on chickapig.com. 

Dinosaur: A Photicular Book (8 and older)
This is more than a book; it’s an experience. The text gives information about eight different dinosaurs while the “pictures” show the dinosaurs moving, eating and fighting using photicular technology. Safari, Polar, Ocean, Jungle and Wild (endangered animals) photicular books also are available. $25.95 on amazon.com. 

Asteroid Escape (8 and older)
In this one-player game, the player must find solutions to puzzles to pilot a spaceship through a dangerous asteroid field. Asteroid Escape includes 60 puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty from easy to expert. $15.99 at Toyopolis in Santa Fe. 

Hyper Toss (8 and older)
Families no longer need to fear children playing with balls in the house. With Hyper Toss, children toss and catch a soft beanbag-type ball in a battery-operated hand-held device. Children can beat past scores, play memory games or just have fun tossing and catching. And families can rest easy, knowing that the goal of the game is for children to catch the ball safely in the Hyper Toss cups. $14.69 on amazon.com. 

The Guide Robot (8 and older)
With this kit, children can build their own light-sensitive robot. Once assembled, the robot will move forward when it “sees” light. $22 at Explora in Albuquerque. 

Sculptapalooza (10 and older)
Sculptapalooza by Educational Insights is a game like Pictionary, but instead of drawing their clues, players sculpt them from Playfoam. Depending on the category rolled, players might have to sculpt with their eyes closed or use their faces as a canvas. Sculpting mat and Playfoam included. Sculptapalooza is for four or more players. $19.99 on amazon.com.

 Plasma 360 (preteen and teen)
A great gift for any preteen or teen who would like to control bolts of lightning with his or her fingertips! The plasma inside the glass sphere interacts with touch to create an impressive light show. $64 at Explora in Albuquerque. 

Make Your Own Huichol Indian Beaded Lizard (teen)
With this art kit, teens can appreciate Native Mexican art while expressing their own creativity. The kit includes a carved lizard to decorate, colorful beads, sticky wax and instructions. $32 at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. 

Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera (teen)
Families may remember the days when Polaroid cameras could print out pictures right after taking them. Now instant cameras are back and are even better with technology like automatic exposure measurements and selfie mirrors. Instax Mini 9 cameras come in several different colors: white, green, blue, light blue and pink. Two AA batteries and film are required before use. $56 on amazon.com. Starter sets that include film and a carrying case also are available for $101.25. 

Metal Earth Laser Cut Steel Models (14 and older)
These kits allow teens to make a small steel model of a plane, ship, fire engine, butterfly, guitar or Dr. Who’s TARDIS…just to name a few. No glue is required for this mini model, making this a fun stocking stuffer. $10 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque.

Unstable Unicorns (14 and older)
This isn’t just any card game. This is a game that allows teens to build unicorn armies in order to defeat their family and friends. The first player to build an army of seven unicorns wins, but with magical cards, upgrades and downgrades, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Note: some cards may be slightly disturbing for younger children. $20 at unstableunicorns.com. Dragons expansion pack also is available for $15.

Board Books (babies-preschool)
Feelings are difficult to define, especially when you are a toddler. In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek is a playful board book that can make it easier for little ones to understand what they are feeling. Toddlers can learn about colors in a unique way in Animal Colors by Christopher Silas Neal. In this book, pairs of different kinds (and colors) of animals get combined into funny made-up animals. Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison introduces little ones to inspiring African-American women who have changed the world. 

Picture Books (3-7) 
A dinosaur’s struggle with going to school with delicious human children is the humorous story behind We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins. With beautiful and whimsical illustrations, The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin tells about the never-ending love and acceptance of a parent. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller gives children practical ways to show kindness toward others in their everyday lives.  
 
Early Readers (4-8)
I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb is inspired by the adoption of her baby girl and tells the sweet story of a parent’s love for a child. In Mixed by Arree Chung, children learn an important and age-appropriate lesson about discrimination and unity as three colors, Red, Yellow and Blue, get into an argument about which is the best color of all. All Around Us by Xelena Gonzales is a powerfully beautiful book that celebrates the relationship between a Native American grandfather and his granddaughter as he teaches her about cycles in nature. 

Middle Grade (8-12)
Minecraft: the Crash by Tracey Baptiste is a New York Times bestseller about a girl named Bianca who, after a car crash, delves into a virtual-reality version of the Minecraft game to find some solace – but finds she must face her real-life fears while she is there. When 11-year-old Tash comes back from camp in The Key to Everything by Pat Schmatz, she finds her elderly neighbor and friend has disappeared. Schmatz takes readers through powerful emotions as Tash discovers what happened. Furyborn is a fantasy book by Claire Legrand that tells the stories of Rielle Dardenne, who must endure seven trials to prove she is one of the two prophesied queens of Aritas, and of Eliana Ferracora, who lives 1,000 years after Rielle, but whose story is interconnected with hers.

Young Adult (12-18)
A New York Times bestseller, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a timely book about social injustice and police brutality. When Starr Carter, a 16-year-old girl caught between two economic worlds, witnesses a police officer kill her best friend, she is the only one who knows the truth about what happened that night. But speaking up can lead to serious consequences. Called thrilling, creepy and suspenseful by reviewers, #murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil is a futuristic novel about Dee Guerrera, a 17-year-old girl who is sent to Alcatraz 2.0 to be executed for killing her stepsister, a crime she didn’t commit. Her death will be watched by anyone who streams the execution live on The Postman app. She will have to prove she’s innocent before it’s too late. In The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, 17-year-old Alice is always on the run with her mother, trying to escape the bad luck that started when Alice’s grandmother wrote a book of fairy tales. When her mother goes missing, Alice must team up with Ellery Finch, a fan of Alice’s grandmother, to seek her mother in the fairy tale world her grandmother created.