Toys that encourage learning
Our definition of educational toys is quite wide.
Toddlers are developing so many skills at this age that any toy that helps in any one of these areas – we would call educational. If toys encourage physical exercise; develop manipulative skills; spur imagination or allow the expression of creativity – then we would class these as educational toys for pre-schoolers.
Here in this section, however, you’ll find toys that help with the more scholastic skills. Math, reading, language, science etc.
Of educational toys for pre-schoolers
If an educational toy can encourage your child to become interested in letters, arithmetic etc. then your youngster will be eager to develop these interests when they go to school.
Toys can add a new dimension of fun to learning. Play is a very effective way of acquiring new skills. If a child associates amusement and excitement with learning then this increases their motivation to learn more.
There are many riddles, puzzles and magic tricks involving simple math that will amuse kids. Try this one with your pre-schooler.
Take three coins – the larger the better – and place the coins in a row, on a table or flat surface.
Start counting the coins – one, two, three. Pick up each coin as it’s counted.
Continue counting – four, five, six. Placing each coin back on the table.
Count seven, eight – picking up the coins. Now ask your youngster how many coins are in your hand – two! Emphasise that you’ve counted to Eight and that there are now Two in your hand.
Pick up the remaining coin, pass all three to your toddler and ask them to repeat the exercise.
They’ll start by counting as they place the first three coins on the table.
They’ll pick up on four, five and six.
Then, when they place the coin down on eight, stop and count how many coins are left in their hand – One!
They’re sure to want to try again. Every time they start with all three coins in their hand they’ll end up with one. Lots of counting practice to follow.
What to look for when choosing
Educational Toys for Pre-schoolers
Most of all, a good educational toy must be Fun. The last thing we want to do is associate letters, math and science etc with dullness and boredom.
Encouraging your toddler to learn these skills is of great benefit to them. However, if we grown ups show too much anxiety over this or place too much pressure on our children to learn they will associate learning with an unpleasant experience. We will have discouraged them.
It’s important therefore that we pick educational toys that are appropriate to our children’s abilities. Not too easy or the child is quickly bored. Not too hard or the child will become frustrated or disinterested.
“Just right” to quote Goldilocks.
E = mc² – right?
Physicist, Albert Einstein brought to us a whole new way of understanding our Universe and the processes that make it work.
There is a common myth that this famous scientist was very slow to develop as a child. It is claimed that Albert did not learn to talk until the age of four and that he could not read until the age of nine.
According to Einstein’s biographer this is not true. Although his family worried that he was slow to talk, it’s recorded that he was talking in whole sentences before he was three years old.
At six years old, Albert started school and when he was seven his mother wrote describing how he was top of his class and that he had a brilliant report card.
Nevertheless, I think the myth holds a good lesson. We needn’t be overly concerned about the speed of our children’s early academic development. We should be concerned that they love to learn.
When our youngest son started at school he told his teacher that she didn’t need to waste her time – teaching him how to read. He had plenty of people at home that could read for him!
A few years ago – when he graduated with honors – I reminded him of this story.
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Albert Einstein
You’ll find a lot more information on Educational Toys for Pre-schoolers in the following reviews…
Educational Kid toys – Learn ABC’s and more
Math Educational toys – Toys that count
Extra, extra .. read all about it !
We are continually adding to our reviews. Why not check out one of our latest reviews here..
Kids toy Kitchen – What’s cooking for kids.