For those of you who were subjected to my mini parenting rant about children and crazed consumerism (obviously a hot button for me!), I’ve decided to balance that post out here, by sharing some of my favorite educational toys and Discovery Toys of 2010.
As a parenting educator and mother, I get excited by educational toys that holds children’s interest and creative toys that last throughout the years—ones that can be passed down to siblings and friends and still look great!
My hope is that some of you will share your own fabulous educational toy finds. BTW for anyone who shares their best toy recommendations in the comments below (please add a link to the toy) you will be entered into a draw to win either an autographed copy of my award winning parenting book, or one of my favourite toy finds of 2010 on January 15th, 2011.
So without further adieu and in no particular order, here are my Top 10 Best Educational Toys of 2010:
Here’s a fabulous science and craft resource book that our family goes back to time and time again, as it beautifully marries science with simple art projects that captures children’s curiosity, imagination and sense of discovery. Included are over 50 easy to follow experiments (like a flying helicopter, magical flowers, bubbling brew and much more!), 800 stickers and great step-by-step illustrations that provides great fun for both child and parent.
Learning Resources Cash Register (Ages 3-9) -
Like cat to catnip, there is something that impulsively draws children toward anything that makes them feel like us—like a REAL grown up. A learning toy cash register, especially in this day and age when most kids see cash registers in use so regularly, is an item that seems to hold a spark for most all kids (boys and girls!).
Even with the higher ticket price of this cash register, the endless learning possibilities that the company has incorporated with a coin recognition feature, addition and subtraction quizzes (with three levels!), realistic looking money, coupon card, swiping ability and a credit card too, made this one a homerun gift this past year. Not only does my child still get hours of fun and creative play with it, but it is one of the first things other children flock to during play dates in our home.
The only down side is that it requires 3 C batteries and for those Canadians out there (it doesn’t do a loonie and toonie recognition).
Never been a battery fan when it comes to toys, so I love that this toddler Discovery Toy Go-Go Caterpillar zooms across the floor without any batteries at all. Wish I would have known about this a few years back, but for now it will be one of my top toys for infants and toddlers. BTW the picture really doesn’t do it justice.
It’s a Match Game (age 3-6) -
Here’s another Discovery Toy that would have gone unnoticed if I had only flipped through the Discovery Toy Catalogue. Once the moms at the party I hosted a few weeks back saw it in action, this educational toy was a favorite and I can’t wait to give it to my own preschooler. It is a cool self-correcting matching problem-solving toy that most of us moms, believe will provide endless learning/playing opportunities and a great one to bring on holidays or while waiting in doctors offices.
One of the best first games we’ve found with thanks to our friend Daniella. Zingo is a version of Bingo that is fairly compact, uses both pictures and words and has a sliding dealer unit for the tiles that kids just can’t seem to get enough of.
Once Upon a Time and Ahoy Pirate Pete Interactive Books (Age 3 and up) -
Ahoy Pirate Pete and Once Upon a Time books flash me back to the Choose Your Own Adventure Books that were popular when I was a kid. Here are two tales your child can create and re-create with 36 changeable story elements sparking great creativity and story-telling skills.
Years ago, when I was first introduced to this brilliant CD music math series, I was hooked before I was even a parent. As a past child care worker, I knew all too well the power of using creative characters and music when it comes to teaching things like math. Now, I am excited that our first child is now at the age where he can actually enjoy listening to them while easily learning some great math concepts. Awesome for the car and for trips!
Googol also offer some great free music and math downloads.
Motor Works was yet another favorite toy among the preschooler moms, of both boys and girls, at my Discovery Toy party and with VERY good reason. Along with being packaged in a well organized tool case (great for moms like me, who like to keep all the pieces of a toy together!), it offers 4 different vehicles that preschoolers can make with a handy well made drill that are both sturdy and functional.
Aside from making your own advent calendar, this one has got to my my most favorite advent calendar keepsakes of all time! It is one of the first things we bring out during the holiday season and the one that most of our friends and family admire when visiting our family. Right now, I am having a blast filling it each day with all kinds of creative advent ideas.