Chilly weather and early darkness lie ahead — which means so does the challenge of keeping kids entertained indoors. But Crazy Forts is here to help. One of our top sellers from the Prime Early Access sale, the 69-piece set comes with 44 rods and 25 connecting balls that will let young engineers construct a no-parents-allowed clubhouse, stuffed-animal sanctuary, obstacle-course tunnel, or whatever else their imaginations can think up. (Instructions for making a puppet theater, a Mars space station, a locomotive, and a circus tent are also included.) No dining-room chairs are required; just throw a blanket over the assembled frames to create a near-instant structure you can pull apart and store away when you need your living-room floor back. The open-ended design allows kids to get creative while practicing age-appropriate, hands-on problem-solving skills — which Laura Phillips, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute, told us is a hallmark for a top-notch STEM toy. It would also make a great holiday gift, especially as it’s on sale for just $35 (a 30 percent discount).
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