Back to school is almost here, and one surefire way to help kids make the most of their early years of education and development is by providing them with educational toys. Educational toys help kids to learn through play, which makes learning both fun and exciting. It also makes it more desirable for kids that might not otherwise be keen to hit the books. If you’d like to give your child something to make learning more fun and attractive, educational toys are certainly a great choice. Let’s check out a few of the best ones currently available (as broken down by age range) and consider a few fun ways to get kids interested in learning.
Educational Toys for Babies and Preschool Aged Kids
If your child is a baby, toddler, or pretty much anything in the preschool realm, you may not be thinking too much yet about the back to school tradition. But that doesn’t prevent your child from getting a good head start on learning from as early an age as possible. After all, learning isn’t just something that happens in a school. Luckily there are numerous educational toys to choose from for kids in the preschool years. In fact, just about every toy for kids in the first 5 or so years of their lives is educational in one way or another.
An excellent example of this is the VTech Sort & Discover Activity Cube, which gets kids ages 9 to 36 months off to a great learning start with seven fun activities and a variety of absolutely spellbinding features (provided you’re part of the recommended age demographic).
Among its impressive features are things to touch (like its piano keys and shape sorter), over 75 different sounds to engage your child’s imagination (including songs and useful phrases), and a book page that plays nursery rhymes (to keep them entertained). And that’s not all. This cube has so many interesting things going on, it’ll keep them enthralled and engaged with learning for hours at a time. Learn about them all by visiting its Best Buy product page.
Another educational toy for kids of all ages (from 3-99) is the Intelino Smart Train Starter Set. I actually tested and reviewed the Intelino set myself not too long ago, and I can vouch both for its educational value as well as its fun factor—even for someone of my (undisclosed) age. Check out that review by clicking the preceding link if you’re interested in getting full details on this cool little smart train.
As for what I can tell you here (which will barely scratch the surface of what this thing can do), it’s basically a toy that intersects the worlds of model train sets and smart toy tech. As such, it features an app that gives kids control over pretty much everything, from its movement (forward, backwards, various speeds, etc.) to its many sound effects (typical train sounds and a whole lot more).
The Intelino Smart Train also has lights that can change colour, enough track pieces for you to build more than 10 different track configurations, and a feature in the app that allows kids to learn the basics of coding and programming by programming routines for their trains to perform. It truly is one of the coolest tech toys out this year, and as educational as it is fun!
Educational Toys for Elementary School Kids: Primary—Grade 6
One item for kids of elementary school age that I’ll just mention briefly is the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar. This one teaches similar lessons to the Intelino Smart Train, only it’s more specifically intended for kids in the 3-8 year age range.
Among its key capabilities are movement in a variety of ways and directions (including going forward, turning, dancing, and wiggling) that’s programmed by kids’ arrangement of the caterpillar’s different segments. In this way, the Code-A-Pillar helps kids to grasp the most basic elements of coding, like the rules of algorithm building. It also has cool lights and sound effects (and even blinking eyes) that really help it to appeal to kids!
At the upper end of the elementary school age range (specifically ages 10 and up), kids are ready for something a bit more challenging.
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Set is just the sort of toy that both challenges and inspires, what with the complexity of its build options and the creativity that it opens up to kids who are lucky enough to own one.
In fact, LEGO Mindstorms sets are among the most complex LEGO sets you can buy, and they don’t just consist of simple building blocks either. They also include electronic components such as the Intelligent EV3 Brick (with its powerful ARM9 processor) that allows kids to build real, moving robots in a variety of very cool configurations.
Kids might build, for instance, a humanoid robot, a roving platform type of robot, or even a cool scorpion or snake. This particular set comes with over 550+ LEGO Technic elements, including a USB port (for Wi-Fi and online connectivity), a Micro SD card reader, four motor ports, and numerous other bits and pieces that allow kids to build truly complex creations.
On the software side of the ledger, it can be controlled either by an app or through a special (and intuitive) software program for your PC or Mac that allows you to control your robot through icon-based drag-and-drop commands. Of course, once again I am barely scratching the surface of what this toy can do and how extremely educational it is. For additional information, be sure to check out its Best Buy product page by clicking on the above link.
Educational Toys for Secondary School Kids & Beyond
As kids get older, their interests not only begin to move away from toys in general, but they also become a whole lot more sophisticated. For this reason, I’d like to include on the list something that can’t quite be classified a toy, though it is both a whole lot of fun and highly educational. That’s right, it’s a telescope—specifically the National Geographic 50 x 600mm Refractor Telescope & Deluxe Adventure Set, which really jumped out at me when I saw it on the Best Buy website.
One reason I was so drawn to this particular telescope is because it’s not merely a telescope. Also included in the set are a microscope, binoculars, and a whole heap of other fun, useful, and educational accessories.
The telescope itself measures 50 x 600mm, making it ideal for checking out much of our own vast solar system—from the Moon’s many craters to our various planetary neighbours. Additionally, the binoculars are great for taking in birds and other wildlife (or even a sporting event or airshow), while the microscope has a magnification factor of 900x and comes with 3 readily prepared microscopic slides as well as many other bits and pieces for the budding future scientist to enjoy.
If you’ve got a child with a strong interest in scientific pursuits who is old enough to appreciate and enjoy the sophistication of such equipment, this (or one of Best Buy’s many other Telescopes) may be just the thing to help channel that interest into something more serious and long lasting.
If you’re ready to take a more in-depth look at the many toys and educational items that are available for kids right now at Best Buy, click on the above link and begin your exploration. There’s sure to be something fun and educational to suit the needs and interests of every curious child!