Tara McGarry | September 25, 2018
Want to Help Your Kids Learn? Use These Toys and Devices
Kids make games out of almost anything. Even as infants, they quickly learn how fun it can be to mash their food into colorful goo or throw their pacifiers across the room for Mom and Dad to pick up.
Play isn’t all fun and games though; children learn words and concepts, spatial thinking, social skills, and motor skills as they engage with their various environments. As parents, we can help guide that productive learning and make it fun by filling the toy box with tried-and-true tools, like wooden blocks and crayons, along with more recent computer-based additions.
“The future favors flexibility. And children who are empowered through play, whose natural abilities are amplified, who see potential and possibilities, will face the world ahead of them with confidence,” says Laura Seargeant Richardson, a writer specializing in creativity and play.
Below, we’ve listed some of the newest interactive toys and devices to help your child build a variety of early age skills through playology (the concept of learning through play).
V-Tech’s Touch & Swipe Baby Phone
Kids love to mimic their parents and other adults they interact with, and this toy lets them learn letters and numbers while pretending to call people just like Mommy does. It features large buttons and switches that make sounds when pressed, has pretend apps for the calendar and the weather, and features different sing-along songs to engage kids ages six months to three years.
The Touch & Learn Activity Desk
This V-Tech product is similar to the Touch & Swipe Baby Phone, just on a much larger platform: a two-foot-high desk with an interactive desktop featuring engaging content. Children ages two and up can learn nursery rhymes, reading skills, and colors. The desk also converts into an easel and blackboard for drawing.
The Leapfrog LeapReader
Teach your child reading and comprehension skills with this electronic pen. By guiding letter strokes, children ages four to eight build fundamentals such as phonics, vocabulary, and writing skills.
Mr. Pencil’s Scribble & Write
Want something a little more techy to teach your kids as they play? This touchscreen and stylus combo from Leapfrog allows children to trace letters and numbers. They can then tap the screen to turn that letter into a picture. For example, after your little one draws an A and taps the screen, the A would turn into an apple to create word associations. The system also allows for freehand drawing.
The Leapfrog TAG Reading System
Children should learn to read at their own pace, and this fun toy lets them do just that. They can hear individual letters, listen to words of their spellings, or read along one page at a time. The device even has reading comprehension games to teach children to remember what they’ve learned.
The Brackitz Inventor Sets
These groups of brightly colored plastic pieces have rotating parts that connect at all angles. These construction toys are creative outlets that also help build fine motor dexterity and teach kids to use architecture and engineering principles.
Children love these block-like toys because the pieces fasten together with magnets. While rated for children ages three and older, some of the Manga-Tile sets only come with larger pieces that may be suitable for toddler use with the proper supervision.
Educational Insights’ Microscope
What better toy to get for your children than one that was designed by a scientist (who also happens to be a mom)? The extra-large eyepieces and chunky focusing knob on this microscope are perfect for little hands. The toy encourages discovery and exploration using a functional science tool that can be a good introduction to STEM learning.
Whether you invest in classic toys or cutting-edge technology for your little one, the best kinds of play encourage your child to discover and interact with the world around them in ways that will readily translate to school-based learning when those days inevitably roll around.