Educational Toys Help Kids Head Back to School with Fun in Mind
As seen in HealthNewsDigest.com (August 30,
Heading back to school after the lazy days of summer can pose a
challenge to kids who are not quite ready to hit the books
again. Because they learn in so many different ways,
it’s important for parents to find ways to engage their children
and keep them stimulated with new activities. Using toys and
games, adults can promote a love of learning that builds upon a
child’s natural curiosity.
Experts at the Toy Industry Association (TIA) have spotted three
trends that reinforce the basics of reading, math and science and that
encourage the development of problem solving skills and creativity
before or after class:
Empowering Early Readers
A balance of online and offline play options will help to facilitate
learning and improve literacy for kids of every age. Well-recognized
characters from film, television and toyland can capture the attention
of children and draw them into the written word. And exciting new
technologies allow young readers to help set the direction of various
characters as storylines unfold.
- For young fans (ages 3-7) of the PBS Kids series, the Super WHY!
Touch and Learn Super Duper Computer from Learning Curve uses touch
screen technology to engage kids in literacy-based activities such as
spelling, word families, rhyming, reading and interactive storybook
- Reading comes alive for children (ages 4-8) via the magic of
LeapFrog’s Tag Reading system which strengthens skills by using
classic children’s literature titles like Green Eggs and Ham and
Olivia, along with popular characters such as Ben 10, Dora the Explorer
- For older readers (ages 6-10), the LeapFrog Didj Custom Gaming
System fosters learning in reading and writing – as well as math
and science-based skills in physics and electricity – with
subject-specific games featuring Wolverine and the X-Men, Star Wars and
Neopets. Parents can track their child's progress in each subject via
the free LeapFrog Learning Path (www.leapfrog.com).
Interactive board games and puzzles are lower-tech learning options
that families will enjoy together.
- For toddlers, there is Goodnight Moon, 1-2-3 Counting Games, a
hands-on counting and memory game based on the children’s
- Frog and Toad Adventure Game and Frog and Toad Bicycle Built for Two
jigsaw puzzle, both from Briarpatch, are great for fans (ages 5+) of the
beloved Arnold Lobel books.
- Games based on the latest cult classics are a hit with tweens and
teens. Popular items include The 39 Clues: Unlock the Secret
Chambers Game from University Games; Harry Potter Clue from Hasbro
Games; Twilight New Moon Board Game by Cardinal Industries; and Scene
It? Twilight Deluxe Edition.
Making Science + Discovery Fun
Kids can bring science and discovery home with kits that combine
learning with fun.
- Young scientists (ages 6-14) take an eye-popping peep into the world
around them when the EyeClops Bionic Eye SE from JAKKS Pacific plugs
into a television and enlarges images up to 400 times.
- Based on the bestselling The Dangerous Book for Boys, Thames and
Kosmos fill two popular kits – one for Electricity and the other
for Classic Chemistry — with more than thirty experiments and
projects (ages 8 and up).
- The offbeat discoveries of the Discovery show MythBusters come to
life for kids (ages 8 and up) with Elmer’s MythBusters Force of
- Star Wars fans (ages 6 and up) will be captivated by The Optical
Command Unit by Uncle Milton, a multi-functional reconnaissance device
that can be turned into binoculars, a microscope and
mini-projector. The Darth Vader Robotic Arm kit allows kids how to
build their own robotic arm, which can actually grip and move objects
using interactive controls.
Igniting Imagination with Digital Media Tools
The explosion and accessibility of digital media – cameras,
camcorders, MP3 players, computers and the Internet – have created
a virtual treasure chest that fuels a new generation of imaginative
- Young photographers (ages 3 and up) will love the instant photos
generated from Fisher Price’s Kid Tough digital camera; parents
will appreciate its sturdy kid-proof exterior.
- Sakar and Crayola collaborated to create a digital camera (ages 3
and up) while Lego has partnered with Digital Blue to introduce a LEGO 3
Megapixel digital camera (available this fall for ages 11-14).
- And wrapping up this trend list with another example of online and
offline play, parents and kids can log on to Crayola’s
“Lights, Camera, Color” (Crayola.com/colorme) to create
their own personalized coloring sheets.
From science experiments to arts and crafts and from games to
puzzles, educational toys and creative play reinforce learning and open
new windows of imagination for kids of all ages.