When educational toys are this fun, kids don’t even realize how much they’re learning.
Learn to love numbers with plush toys
We place a lot of emphasis on teaching the alphabet, but numbers are important, too! Team Ten helps encourage your children to think of numbers as fun and relevant! Plush, colorful number characters (from zero to nine, of course) help give each digit a personality of its own.
Team Ten friends come in three sizes: small magnetic numbers, medium standing numbers with flexible arms and gorgeous large numbers for that special birthday gift. (NumbersAlive.org, prices vary)
Develop fine motor skills with board games
Learning goes beyond reading and writing, and that’s where the squirrel comes in. Brain health experts like the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game (MarblestheBrainStore.com, $22), which “teaches matching and strategy skills and exercises fine motor coordination.”
Players are the sneaky, strategic squirrels who have to collect food for the winter by spreading colorful acorns on the tree, spinning the spinner and using squirrel squeezers to pick up color-coded acorns to place in the log. Preschoolers and parents alike will love this beautifully illustrated game.
Learn to tell time with interactive nightlight
Kids get a taste of independence when they learn to tell time. Their routines become more predictable and they can figure out when favorite television shows begin and end or when it’s time to eat.
Your child will get years of use from this innovative nightlight alarm clock. The Teach Me Time Clock (HearthSong.com, $40) features a variety of colored dials, a night-light and a bedside alarm. The clock can be programmed to change color at a specified time, and an interactive talking game will have your child telling time, well, in no time!
Trains teach colors, construction and community
There’s a good reason why toy trains have been around for generations. Kids love them because they’re so awesome to play with. Parents love them because their children learn so much from them.
The Thomas & Friends All Around Sodor set (Fisher-Price.com, $40) is no exception. Color-coordinated buttons direct Thomas as he visits friends and hauls cargo. Your preschooler will enjoy learning the color codes, navigating the track and bringing the famous train to life.
Arts and crafts projects offer science lessons and more
Your family will drop everything when the Happy Trunk (TheHappyTrunk.com, prices vary) arrives in your mail. This fabulous subscription service brings a box of arts and crafts, science experiments and creative play items right to your door.
Created for ages 3 to 7, the Happy Trunk features exciting themes such as the changing of the seasons, world adventures and making nature journals. Your children will create and learn and get another chance to spend some quality time with you!
Tactile toys help with letter formation
Kinesthetic teaching aids can help all young learners, especially children with sensory disorders or special needs, to get to know the letters of the alphabet in a way that feels like playing. In addition to pencils, crayons and paper, Wikki Stix alphabet cards (WikkiStix.com, $14) provide a great way to learn the ABCs.
Colorful, hands-on cards encourage children to recognize and recreate letters and can later be combined to create words, too! Creative Wikki illustrations on each card add even more fun.