Educational Toys and Presents for Kids
Reading and Writing
Toys that encourage children to read and write can seem very ‘school’ but preschoolers may see this as a positive feature as they will enjoy role playing schools and preparing for starting ‘big school’.
Older children may reject the sorts of activities they do at school so finding toys that encourage reading and writing through stealth is a must. Board games often involve reading and sometimes writing too.
Toys that encourage adventurous storytelling such as Rory’s Story Cubes can help children express themselves and develop their narrative skills.
Numeracy – numbers, sizes and shapes
Counting is a prerequisite for basic maths and any game with scoring uses simple addition and role playing activities such as shopping with this till from Casdon promote mental maths skills too.
More advanced maths can be encouraged with games such as Numenko and other fun strategy games that will appeal to children with an interest in maths without it feeling like they are still at school.
See our full list of approved Maths toys.
There are lots of science toys that promote curiosity and investigation the children will enjoy whilst learning how the world works. The makers of this fun primary science set have made sure that it’s so much fun the children won’t realise how educational it is.
Traditional science sets have been joined by modern kits for all aspects of science from physics to the weather. Children can make soaps and volcanoes or create a miniature galaxy – the options are endless. Have a look at our top science toys article for more ideas for science toys for children of all ages.
Now that coding is part of the national curriculum, it can be really useful to find toys that encourage this logical, step by step thinking and communication. We love the fact that there are lots of toys that help children learn coding skills away from the screen such as Bits n Bites and Robot Turtle. Both of these games help children to think like a computer and develop programming skills without going anywhere near a keyboard!
There are also lots of apps that can encourage coding and computer skills – check out some of the best apps in the Good App Guide.
Attention and Concentration
Toys that help children learn to concentrate and persevere such as this 3D jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger will help them succeed in their school careers. Children will also get a confidence boost from having stuck at something long enough to complete it.
Look for projects that can be done over a period of time – it can be lovely to create a special project or activity that a child does with a particular adult. Many of these toys are classics such as Lego or Meccano and can be a good activity for grandparents and grandchildren to share.
Logic and problem solving
Children need a lot of the ‘softer’ skills in school as lessons have moved away from being purely about learning knowledge by rote and more about equipping children to learn how to learn. Logic and problem solving form a large part of that and it’s something that is encouraged by a wide range of toys including this fun Penguins On Ice game from Smart Toys and Games, so children won’t have a clue that they’re learning!
Tags: educational toys, toys
This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer