Toys and Games Build Skills as Kids Head Back-to-School
August 8, 2011 | The long, lazy days of summer are
coming to an end and that can only mean one thing for kids and parents
– it’s time to gear up for the new school year! Getting back
into classroom-mode will be easy with the assistance of a fun crop of
educational toys and games that span every subject, enhance creativity
and sharpen memory, retention and strategic thinking skills.
“Toys, games and play are the tools that keep imaginations
active and get young brains back in focus after summer vacation,”
says Adrienne Appell, spokesperson for the Toy Industry Association
TIA’s top “Back to School” picks include products
that were spotted at the Association’s annual Toy Fair in February
2011 and illustrate the “Camouflage learning” trend –
educational toys that are so engaging kids don’t even realize
they’re learning. Examples include:
Kindergarten to Grade 3
Kids in the
younger grades learn core subjects mainly through rote and repetition;
memory games are an excellent way to exercise a child’s ability to
retain information. Games that specifically teach young learners about
language, spatial properties or math are also great ways to prep little
ones for school.
- Colorama (Ravensburger) teaches kids about shapes
and colors and offers three levels of play. Young players will also
learn to take turns, follow instructions, and win or lose
- The I Spy Memory Game (Briarpatch) promotes visual,
memory and reading skills. Appropriate for kids as young as four, it
also offers advanced modes of play for older players.
- Word Whiz (Learning Resources) contains electronic
flash cards that challenge kids to build as many three, four, and five
letter words as they can in 60 seconds.
- Computer Cool School (Fisher Price) contains five
learning centers with skill-building activities in reading, writing,
math, science, art and music, and includes a tablet with an attached
stylus for writing and drawing.
- Magic School Bus Science Kits (The Young Scientists
Clubs) are a fun, hands-on way to introduce kids ages 5 and up to the
exciting world of science as they grow bacteria and fungi, test
antibiotics, use yeast to inflate balloons, and more stimulating
Grades 3 to 6
Older kids will
benefit from play products that challenge and excite them – from
in-depth science experiments to fun-filled ways to expand their
knowledge in subjects like history or math. Games targeted to older kids
will also feature components that encourage critical-thinking and
- Madeline at the White House Game (Briarpatch)
teaches kids about Washington, DC, the White House and other famous
landmarks through competitive or cooperative play, while Name
that State Game (Educational Insights) helps kids ages eight
and older brush up on their American geography.
- Math Dice (ThinkFun) (and its counterpart for
younger kids, Math Dice Jr.) is a 3D math game that makes different
equations using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and
powers lots of fun.
- More than 100 Science and Energy Kits (Thames &
Kosmos) teach kids about alternative energy sources, biology,
technology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, earth science and
construction sciences and inspire innovation, problem-solving and
- PathWords (ThinkFun) expands the vocabulary skills
of kids ages 12 and up by combining the best of Tetris and Word
These are just a few examples of the many playthings that will help
kids get into the swing of things before packing their book bags for the
new school year.
For more toy trends and tips, visit TIA’s website ToyInfo.org, a year-round resource
for toys and play.
About the Toy Industry Association (TIA)
TIA is the
not-for-profit trade association for producers and importers of toys and
youth entertainment products sold in North America, representing more
than 550 companies who account for approximately 85% of domestic toy
sales. For more information, please visit www.toyassociation.org or www.toyinfo.org.