What Are Educational Toys?
Educational toys for kids are specially designed to keep them in fun and learn. They encourage children to learn new things. These toys usually have features that stimulate a child’s brain.
Such toys are also called instructive toys, and often help a child learn a new skill or subject. Some educational toys encourage creative thinking, while others promote hand-eye coordination.
Building blocks, chemistry sets, model planes and railroads are all examples of educational toys. Educational toys can play an important part in a child’s overall development.
Educational Toys Benefits
Research indicates that educational toys can have the following benefits for children:
- Teaches cause and effect, improving problem-solving skills
- Improves social skills, through playing with other kids
- Helps development of better hand-eye coordination and motor skills
- Encourages imagination and creativity
- Improves self-esteem, gives them a feeling of independence
How To Choose Educational Toys For Kids
Step 1: Figuring Out Appropriate Toys For Your Kid.
Not all toys are suitable for all kids. You have to plan carefully when buying educational toys for kids. For best results, consider the following steps:
1. Start With The Age
Educational toys are age-specific. Some toys are not suitable for children of certain age groups. Always start your hunt for an educational toy with the age of your child in mind.
These days, most toys come with an age recommendation on their packaging. Pay special attention to this, as some toys may contain small parts which can be a choking hazard for younger kids.
Others may have sharp corners which can cause injury in children who are below the recommended age limit.
2. Check The Language
Toys with complicated language on them can cause frustration in younger children. The educational aspect is wasted if your child cannot understand the toy.
Check for age-appropriate language and vocabulary in the toy. Those designed for younger kids will have simpler words and concepts that are easier to grasp.
3. Focus On An Area/Skill
There is a lot of diversity in the world of educational toys. It is up to you as a parent to decide what you want your child to learn. These toys can be used to teach anything from simple math and spelling to other topics like foreign languages, history, geography, etc.
4. Do Not Ignore The Child’s Interests
This is incredibly important. Always take your child’s tastes and preferences into consideration while shopping for an educational toy. Try to find toys that are related to topics or activities that your child finds interesting.
Ensure that these toys also help them learn something new in the process. If the child is not interested in the toy, then there is no point in buying it. Modern toys use digital technology to make them interesting for kids, with music, video, and sounds.
5. Check Product Reviews
Product reviews can be a reliable source of information on a toy. You can find these on parenting forums or online magazines, blogs, on retailer and affiliate sites. If there are two similar toys, these sources will help you make your decision.
Such reviews often give information that is not found in the product description. For instance, they can help you understand any shortcomings or weaknesses of the toy, and whether it is suitable for particular age groups.
6. Ask Other Parents, Or Teachers
These are the two groups of people who often have the best knowledge about educational toys. Teachers regularly use these toys in school these days. They are the best guides on what to buy when you want to improve your child’s knowledge in specific subjects like math or science.
Freinds and relatives who have kids in the same age group as yours are another promising sources of information and insight regarding educational toys. They can give a more personalized and highly subjective review on products they have bought for their children.
7. Look At Warranties
Things break, especially when they are toys in the hands of young kids. It doesn't matter that they were designed specifically for kids. No manufacturer can make genuinely child-proof toys.
In the case of cheaper toys, this is not a major issue. But if the toy is expensive, you might want to check if it has any warranty policy. If you are lucky, you might even find toys with a “no questions asked” returns and replacement policy.
8. Consider A “Smart” Or “Connected” Toy
This is the age of smart devices and connectivity. Many educational toys connect to dedicated apps on smartphones. These apps help improve the scope of these toys, adding more interactive and educational activities for your child to do.
Modern robotic toys are the perfect example. Most of them can be controlled using a smartphone app. Many other toys also come with apps that add fun games, music, and videos to the learning experience.
Step 2: How To Choose A Specific Toy
Educational toys belong to diverse categories. Here is a short guide on some of the popular genres for educational toys:
1. Math Toys
If left ignored, math could be a tough nut for many kids in school. There are many toys out there that focus on this very crucial subject. Minicomputers and tablets are available in kid-friendly designs. These help kids improve and sharpen then geometry and arithmetic skills.
2. Language Toys
Some educational toys focus on teaching various aspects of languages, from proper writing to vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. You can even find apps and toys that teach all sorts of foreign languages.
There are also books that come with additional software. They use videos, songs, and other interactive fun activities.
3. Science Toys
The days of simple chemistry sets are long gone. These days, you can find digital science toys like microscopes and other gadgets that connect to PCs and tablets.
Other options include invention kits and seed growing kits. If your kid is interested in science, these educational toys can be used to teach them more about biology, physics, and chemistry.
4. Computers/Electronics Toys
These are the toys that teach kids the basics of computer science and programming. You can also use toys to teach basic engineering and mechanical skills.
They include toys that act like building blocks to build small computers and electronic devices. There are even toys that assemble into robots. These are great choices for kids who show an interest in toys like Lego bricks.
5. Creative Toys
Learning should not be just about science and technology. Children should be encouraged to explore their creative sides as well. You can find excellent toys that combine science and logic with creativity.
For instance, apps that help create animation, or devices that connect to computers and create music are good examples.
Step 3: Organizing Toys
Buying your kids a lot of educational toys is a great idea. But you also need to teach your kid to store them away neatly. Clutter and toys often go hand in hand in most houses with kids. Not only are they untidy, but they can also cause significant accident risks.
1. Individual Storage Spaces
When there are many different types of toys in your home, this is a good option. Split the different areas in your home into different zones. You can then assign these zones for specific types of toys.
For instance, you can assign different corners in your rooms for different types of toys. Store complex toy sets like Lego sets in baskets or bins in common areas.
2. Opt for individual bins
Packing away all the toys pell-mell into a single container is often not a good idea. It can get incredibly messy and tangled up. If a toy is made up of different parts, they can get misplaced as well.
A solution is buying storage containers like baskets, and boxes of various sizes. You can even find bins with different storage compartments. These are ideal for toys like action figures.
3. Furniture With Storage
Another convenient storage option for toys is furniture with in-built storage features. These can be anything, from children’s beds to bookshelves and stools. Look for models with discreet sliding drawers.
4. Organize Using Labels
Storing away toys in different boxes and bins is not enough if there are many of them throughout your home. To avoid confusion, paste labels on each container.
They will make it easier to locate specific toys when you are in a hurry. They also make cleanup that much easier.
5. Other Tips To Improve Efficiency
Try and organize toys based on similarity and function. For complicated toys like train sets, the storage area should be closer to the floor. The kitchen area is a great place to store art supplies like paint, close to the sink.
Modern technology has dramatically enhanced the way educational toys work. These toys harness digital technologies to create highly interactive experiences that help kids learn new things.
For maximum impact, parents have to take their kids interests into account while picking such toys. If you buy many such toys, just remember to teach your kids how to organize them all properly!