A Guide for Choosing Educational Toys
1. Pick a product that uses multiple senses.
– Learning is enhanced when both the body and the brain are working.
– Pick toys and activities that use touch, movement, images and sound in order to promote deeper learning.
Product: Magformers – Children’s museums across the country love this product and so do we. This year they are introducing two new cruisers. Not only do these building toys give children an opportunity to explore magnetic force, these new vehicles have sound and light so multiple parts of a child’s brain gets involved.
Other Product Ideas – Musical instruments, Felt creations
2.Choose a toy or game that can be played with friends or parents.
– Playing with others helps children develop social skills and effective ways of working with peers.
– Gives you, as a parent, an opportunity to get down on the floor and play with them.
– It’s just a lot of fun to play with someone else.
Product: Brain Box game—This simple little game is a really a memory game where you learn about a topic in a fun and fast-paced way. Each game card has a picture that you study for 10 seconds. Then you are asked a question about what you have studied. For example, you study a card about a particular state and then are asked a question about famous people born there, state flower or capital city. I also like it because it works for both younger and older children.
Other Product Ideas—Rolling in the Money game
3.Promote creativity and imagination.
– Simple toys such as blocks, clay, puppets, or an easel and some paints allow a child to open their mind to endless possibilities.
– Creativity helps kids do better academically.
Product: Do A Dot Art – My kids love this product. It is simply five bottles of paint and you simple pull off the lid and dot it on the page. It is a way to paint and be creative without all the mess. There are a number of different types of paint–the one we are showing today has a shimmer in the paint which little children love.
Design and Drill—I love this product for younger children. You give them a battery-powered drill and they drill different colored screws into a board in whatever design they choose.
Other Product Ideas—Tiered Special Occasion Cake, Make a Puzzle
4. Give them a connection to contemporary issues.
– Kids love to learn about what is happening around them.
– Science toys give them a connection to their world and help them understand it.
Product: Solar Robot—This product allows children to build a boat or plane or car that is powered by solar energy. What a fun way to start understanding energy and how it works!
5. Look for resources that specialize in education and educational products.
– Choose a store or website that hand-picks its selection. They will provide wonderful ideas and products because they review and try these products every day.
– If you find someone who has educators on staff, you will get an invaluable expertise.
At Utah Idaho we have a number of resources for you. Our new “Expert in Education” series which is posted on our website gives you ideas to help your kids in a number of educational areas such as math, writing or geography.