Why Educational Toys Matter – 5 Things to consider

educational toys

It’s hard to imagine that in just a few short weeks gift giving season will be upon us. Along with holiday gift exchanges, we also have several birthdays thrown in as well. This really made me consider the types of toys we will purchase and what purpose they serve in our family. Do educational toys really matter?

Do Educational Toys Really Matter? 

Educational toys don’t necessarily have to be labeled “educational”, in my personal opinion. However purchasing toys that support areas where your kids are currently learning and developing is something to really consider when thinking about what you will purchase this season. Different toys certainly impact children’s behavior in different ways. Toys can influence children’s thinking, interaction with peers, and creative expression. Some toys have incredible design but are not particularly engaging. So how do you know what to buy?

What should I look for in an Educational Toy?

Like I mentioned before, I believe that play has purpose if it is enriching the life of your family and engaging to your child’s mental process. There are a variety of ways this is done.  If a toy or game encourages one of the 5 areas below I consider it to be educational and a good fit for our family.

Language and Vocabulary Development : There are so many toys and games that can be used to learn new vocabulary and reinforce words that your child is currently learning. I loved playing scrabble with my family growing up but there are so many more games on the market now. Bananagrams is another one our kids adore and is perfect to pack along  for a holiday trip.

Imagination and Creativity : Kids have the best imaginations! I love encouraging their creative play. I frequently offer the children several art supplies, markers, poster board and tell them to come up with something. I am always impressed with what they create. Another thing I make sure to have available is props and costumes. A simple cape or extra fabric can be transformed through the eyes of a child. We have enjoyed several “productions” that our children have scripted and performed. These double to supporting their literary skill and can include children of varying age ranges.

Math and Problem Solving : Banking and money oriented toys are wonderful for encouraging math and problem solving. Children love to “set up shop” and put together a grocery story or fashion boutique. The addition of a cash register with currency and coins helps to reinforce concepts of addition, subtraction, and place value.

Physical Abilities : Bike riding, hula hoops, jumping rope, stacking blocks encourage not just physical development  and balance but cognitive development as well. Research is currently being done to discover the link between physical activity and brain power. You can read more about that here. It’s always amazing to me the way physical activity helps people of all age work through emotion. From pounding out tensions with play dough or releasing energy by jumping on a trampoline, everyone is more focused after some physical play.

Social Skills : Almost all educational toys encourage social skill development. Playing in a group helps children to work as a team and learn group dynamics. This helps them to become aware of what others think and feel. There will be times of conflict with all teams and groups but this is a great opportunity! Providing opportunities to teach our children proper techniques of conflict management and resolution early on is so valuable.

All kids love to play! We can help make the most of every opportunity with just a few considerations as we select games, toys and supplies to help them along the way.

Do your kids have favorite games that have helped them grow- share them with me! What other games and toys are you planning on buying this season?

Comments

  1. I always tried to find toys that were educational as well as fun when my kids were little.
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted…“gone girl” – book vs movieMy Profile

  2. Most the toys we buy for our kids are educational and entertaining. As mommy toy blogger, I try to buy toys that are educational based for the most part, I still have to buy the popular ones too, like Minecraft, etc – but even the game Minecraft itself is very educational because it takes spacial awareness and math to complete these different online worlds. Great post!
    Lesley recently posted…George Foreman Play-Doh GrillMy Profile

  3. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I always chose toys that would help my boys either work on their dexterity or using their imagination. Learning through play is huge!

  4. these are definitely good things to work on – toys can be used for growth and educational purposes too.
    Aisha Kristine Chong recently posted…Back to School EssentialsMy Profile

  5. There are so many ways to invoke education out of play. I pinned this for my daughter she is coming down the wire and it actually starting to freak out a little. One is scary enough but two, even I’m nervous. This article will come in handy for a long time to come I am sure.
    Rena McDaniel recently posted…EPIC FAIL WITH UNEXPECTED GREAT RESULTS!My Profile

  6. Rachelle J says:

    These are great tips to keep in mind when buying a toy! I always try to make sure that the majority of the toys we buy will help my daughter learn new things or perfect known skills, super important!

  7. I feel like many toys are educational in some way. I’m not sure yet what we’ll be asking for from Santa.
    Heather recently posted…The Best of Me Prize Pack Giveaway! #TheBestofMeMy Profile

  8. As a mother to a child with sensory processing disorder as well as ADHD educational toys make learning so much more fun. When you throw in learning as hey were going to learn how to read today there is resistance when they are also plagued with a language processing disorder. I’m excited when I see learning toys infact I often recommend them to my readers who are parents with children with special needs.

  9. I always look for toys that are not only fun but help with learning. I also try to make sure they don’t have to have batteries.
    Terry recently posted…NuNaturals Healthy Sensation Peppermint Patty Smoothie VS Cocoa Mint Smoothie ShakeMy Profile

  10. Jennifer Williams says:

    One of the biggest things I love about home schooling my son is the ability to make it fun through games. He is learning maps, what better way than to turn it into a treasure hunt. Maybe not a traditional way, but he remembers what I am teaching and enjoys school!

  11. This is a great post! Kids just soak stuff up like sponges – even their play can be huge in their learning!
    Kristen from The Road to Domestication recently posted…On the Road in SeptemberMy Profile

  12. These are such great things to consider. I usually buy the kids at least one educational toy when we buy gifts and always look for these traits.
    Stefany recently posted…VTech Go Go Smart Animals Forest Adventure Playset ReviewMy Profile

  13. WE always try to buy things that are educational for our kids.
    Amber Nelson recently posted…10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Breastfeeding: You’re WelcomeMy Profile

  14. This is a great post. Anyone with young kids should read this. My kids are teenagers now, and I know I would have appreciated a post like this waaaaay back when they were tiny.
    April – My Bizarre Family recently posted…How To Get Rid Of Cable And Still Watch Your Favorite ShowsMy Profile

  15. Ever since my kids were little I always tried to encourage the educational toys. They are so much better for their ever involving little minds.
    Danielle recently posted…6 Healthy Hair Tips with Hair Formula 37My Profile

  16. I always purchased educational toys for my kids. It’s good for kids to be able to play and learn at the same time.
    Erica Brooks recently posted…Scented Pine Cones CraftMy Profile

  17. Depends on the toy, some of them can work very well with kids.
    celebbabylaundry recently posted…How To Help Your Kids Transition With New SiblingsMy Profile

  18. I love any toy that allows my kids to be outside. I think kids don’t get enough outside time these days!
    Farrah recently posted…#UpgradeYourBrush with Reach Complete CareMy Profile

  19. As a kid, we had so much fun playing with hula hoops. I don’t see those around much anymore. I only had boys and their go to activities always involved basketball, baseball or football even when they were young. They loved playing nerf basketball inside if they couldn’t be outdoors because of the weather.

  20. Really great tips! I always try hard to find the most educational toys I can, it can be hard during the Christmas season around here, but it’s really important to me so I enjoy the hunt!

  21. I think educational toys are important. I know that I prefer my son to learn his letters and numbers on the iPad versus just a regular game.
    Krystal’s Kitsch recently posted…Frozen Peanut Butter SquaresMy Profile

  22. I’ m with you. I don’t think they have to be marked educational to be educational. Their are so many ways to make play time a learning experience.
    Chrystal @ YUM eating recently posted…Low Carb Avocado BLT (BLAT)My Profile

  23. I think the board games help my son grow. They teach him patience and team work, and that you can’t win every time, and that’s okay!

  24. Educational toys are top priority in our home! It is hard though when they want a specific toy- I try to make it into something educational though. We even made a shooting letter game for the NERF gun he insisted on having!

  25. Ordinarily I would not find out publish for sites, however would wish to state that this write-up extremely compelled me personally to think about plus practice it! Ones way with words continues to be surprised my family.. Finest Prepper Survival Thank you, quite fantastic article.

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