If you walk into a toy store, there will most likely be an aisle dedicated to “educational” toys. Over there, you will most likely find battery-operated gadgets and gizmos in pretty colours designed to keep kids occupied. What most parents don’t ask is, is this really an educational toy? What sort of learning opportunity does the toy provide? If you see a toy phone with a stylus, is it really educational? Most toys labelled “educational” by stores are not really. Therefore, keep the following in mind when you buy want to buy real educational toys for kids:
Buy from a Speciality Store
Instead of buying from regular toy stores, choose a speciality store to buy genuine educational toys. There are several top-notch classroom toy vendors who offer excellent options like Sphero SPRK+ Australia toys. These toys may be on the expensive side, but the return is well worth the money. When your child outgrows the toy, you can donate it to a school or charity.
Buy Open-Ended Toys
Parents have a bad habit of judging a toy based on how long it can occupy a child’s attention. If a toy is un-put-downable, then it’s considered a success. A good educational toy directly contributes to a child’s cognitive development. For example, a fidget spinner may occupy a child’s attention, but it is definitely not an educational toy. On the other hand, a set of blocks may not have the same appeal, but when kids do play with them, they learn a lot. Open-ended toys like blocks, building material, and alphabet sets can be used in a variety of ways and contribute to learning in many areas. Open-ended toys are great for facilitating math and science learning. Plus, the actual physical act of playing with open-ended toys are good for muscle coordination as well.
Choose Toys that Teach Children New Skills
Toys are a great way to let children learn new skills. For example, toy keyboards are wonderful for children who might start actual piano lessons after preschool. The best educational toys can teach children valuable skills like programming. For example, Osmo coding toys can help make programming concepts familiar to small children. When they have a strong foundation in a learning area, kids will perform much better in school later.
Include Pretend Play Toys
Educational toys are not limited to building blocks and mini computers. Do include various gadgets that let children use their imagination. In this sense, play kitchen sets, toy train sets, and toy cash registers can be great educational tools too. These toys help children use their imagination in play, which is a crucial aspect of growing up. For example, a toy cash register can lead to a make-believe store, which is really a complex game that stimulates cognitive function and reasoning skills.
Don’t Ignore Board Games
Board games can actually teach children math and language skills without making it feel like school. Therefore, find age appropriate board games to help your child’s cognitive learning. Plus, these games don’t cost a lot either but the benefits are enormous.
When buying educational toys, keep in mind to get things that you know your child will like. For example, if your child likes building, then building blocks would be a natural fit. If you want kids to play with educational toys, buy toys that already interest them at least a little bit.