Jean-Claude Constantin’s ingenious puzzles are a big cut above your typical bar puzzle!  Ranging in difficulty from moderate to insane, this clever French puzzle-master produces beautiful  puzzles in wood, plastic and metal in a variety of formats and sizes.  From conventional metal puzzles to all kinds of labyrinth concepts to modern and unique twists on jigsaws and Tangram-style shape-fitting puzzles, challenges abound in this inventor’s creations.  If you’ve got puzzlers in your family, there should be a Constantin puzzle or two in your home.

Korxx Building Blocks, from Germany, are a new twist on conventional building blocks.  Not only quiet, lightweight and eco-friendly, the cork blocks have enough natural friction to their surfaces that construction ideas are possible that would fall apart with wooden blocks.  Founders Sven and Patricia Kuch are passionate about helping parents like themselves share and learn through playing together.  Their KORXX products are fun, feel great and lend themselves to whatever kids can imagine.  They are made from sustainable, renewable cork bark (the treesre-grow the bark naturally) and are completely safe.

Cuboro and Cugolino Marble Runs, created by Swiss inventor Matthias Etter, represent the pinnacle of marble run toys.  With scores of different kinds of blocks, players create their own marble runs, then test and refine their creations.  The fascination of this kinetic system holds the attention and builds spatial and creative skills.  And with many supplementary sets, the system – and the possibilities – can keep on growing for years.  The Cuboro system truly is “the marble run for a lifetime.”