I am not sure how I feel about the term ‘educational toys,’ mostly because all toys are, in their own way, educational. Kids learn through play, and they take away a little something from each toy they play with whether it’s deemed ‘educational’ or not. It also makes toys sound, well, a bit dull, when they usually don’t deserve it. Moving on from my little spiel, below you will find a list of ‘educational toys.’ They were deemed as such by being toys that obviously held educational value or had a blatant lesson/subject which kids can learn about by interacting with them.
[more educational toys coming soon!]
New Educational Toys for 2012
littleBits: Creative engineering brought straight to you.
We don’t want our kids messing around with circuits, period, but they are still oh so curious. Whether or not your child is a budding engineer or they just want to figure out how the lights work, littleBits is the educational toy to get the job done. With the number of different sets available, kids can learn how to construct circuits that power a light, sense a change in pressure, and react to volume-to name a few examples. When they’ve exhausted the circuits that come with their kit, they can start experimenting with building their own circuits-safely.
See our full littleBits review
KleenSlate: Perfect for any and all classrooms.
KleenSlates are handheld whiteboards that will help out with any lesson. Easy to clean off, having replaceable surfaces, and being easy to store make them quite convenient to use as well. There are a number of different kinds of surface prints available, such as graphs or lined, that can also be customized to fit your lesson. A different way for kids to express thoughts, answers and opinions they may also help boost participation.
See our full review on the KleenSlate Dry Erase Boards
GIANTmicrobes: Curious to know what the flu looks like?
Whether you’re explaining to kids how germs work, what they are, or how to stay rid of them, GIANTmicrobes are for you. They are what they sound like-blown up plush versions of different microbes. From the flu to E-Coli to you don’t even want to know, there is a GIANTmicrobe for everything. They also make a great ‘get well soon’ gift for adults with a certain sense of humor.
See our full review of the GIANTmicrobes
Vtech Cogsley: Learn from a robot.
Geared towards younger children working on basic concepts, Cogsley is a toy robot who has a number of different things he likes to teach- words, colors, and counting being just a few of them. Using plastic chips dropped into a slot on his forehead decides the subject matter, and kids have 6 different modes that they can play around in to soak up all the information they can.
See our full review of Cogsley
Biochemies: DNA made clear (and cute!)
Biochemies are plush versions of DNA molecules that come complete with magnetic hydrogen bonds and an adorable little face. Developed by a student in San Diego, Biochemies are spreading science in way that’s positive, rather than tedious. Not only do they show DNA molecules up close, they also attach to each other in the same places they do in real life-hence the ‘magnetic’ hydrogen bond. They allow kids to visualize a rather complex concept and make a great tool for teachers.
See our full review of Biochemies
Alphabeasts: How do you teach the ABCs?
Developed by a team of parents, Alphabeasts are the result of a combined vision-to find a fun way to teach kids their ABCs, help with spelling, and toss a whole lot of imagination in along the way-and I would say they more than reached their goal. Alphabeasts are a line of plush monsters with made up names (starting with the letter they represent, of course,) and even a little description of personality. With these guys kids won’t tune out what you’re trying to teach them, they’ll take it all in and have a good time along the way.
See our full review of the Alphabeasts
Learning through play is the best way. Kids are sponges, but they aren’t going to soak up and retain much knowledge if they are bored and disinterested. Toys that help to teach them specific things are the perfect way to make learning an all-around fun experience. Chances are, they won’t even think of it as ‘learning’ -or better yet- they may redefine what they think of as learning. Instead of associating it with tedious work and or dull lessons, they’ll see it for the exciting quest that it is meant to be.