As the name implies, educative toys are tools that kids relate very well with. If you are searching for learning tools that give your kid an unfair advantage since a young age, this page is for you.
Many think that success in life depends on your contacts, your education, the place you are born at, and many other things.
The truth is you can have the best education, have the right contacts, and even inherit a fortune, but if you can’t do something productive with all of these things, then, eventually, you’ll fail.
On the other hand, you hear from people like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. Complete strangers at their beginnings, without any of these advantages but with huge results after a few years.
How do they do this?
The answer is: With learning skills.
What are the best educational toys to help your kid develop learning skills?
This is why developing your kids’ learning skills from a young age is crucial. There are many ways to do this, some are more expensive than others, and some are more effective than others.
At the end, you want to ensure two things: Trigger and improve learning ability.
This means that you want your kid to first be aware of his own learning skills. It doesn’t matter which level they are, but you want your kid to know he or she can learn things.
How to help my kid be a better learner?
Again, there are many ways to do this.
But if you can grab his or her attention and offer a small challenge; then this is the perfect opportunity to bring awareness and trigger learning skills.
This happens because the human brain is curious by nature.
Then, if you can continue to scale this, then his or her learning abilities will get better and better, by solving bigger challenges.
It is easier said than done, of course, but the good news is you have powerful and cheap tools that can help you achieve this faster and much more effectively.
What is an educational toy?
You can tell them apart at once. These toys are designed to seem very attractive to your kid and keep the interest high as he or she discovers each part and function.
You can find a toy designed specifically for almost anything you want your kid to start learning. The key is to find something your kid enjoys and then provide the tools to go deeper in the learning process.
This doesn’t mean you have to buy as many toys as possible and try each one to see which works. Instead, watch your kid and see what brings joy or sparks interest. It could be shows on TV or activities he or she already does.
You’ll see that kids, especially the very young ones, tell a lot more with their actions than with their voice.
Going back to what is a toy that helps you educate your kids, it has to do precisely that, teach your kids something.
The colorful ones do two key things very well:
- They grab your kid’s attention. Like I said, this is very important or nothing will happen. Educational toys have to grab your kid’s attention, either by their colors or by their functions.
- Plain and vibrant colors make them look simpler (toyish). This makes them less intimidating and more inviting, so kids start to play with them without realizing they are also starting to learn something.
How to choose the best educational toys that will help my kid improve his or her learning skills?
Safety first. It is mandatory that any toy, educational or not, does not pose a risk to children. This is why you have to follow the manufacturer’s recommended age range for such toys.
Also, it is important to look at the nature of the materials and see if it has small or moving parts. Since these could pose a risk to a kid, depending on his or her age.
Safety is an important thing when talking about toys, because some people believe that toys can’t be dangerous, since they are toys. Yet this is not always true and thus, it is crucial to check if a toy is safe for a kid.
If your kid won’t have fun with it, then the learning experience may not be there. When choosing a product, you want to ensure your kid will have fun with it. The more fun the toy is, the better the learning experience.
We are talking about toys here, so the activity needs to be child’s play.
Simplicity is the most complex thing to achieve. Simplicity means your kid understands what the toy is about and how to interact with it.
Simplicity also means intuitiveness. A good example of this are screens. While screens are not recommended for very young kids, look at how easy kids can relate to scrolling and tapping. This is what simplicity and intuitiveness means.
This may seem to contradict simplicity, but it doesn’t. A great educational toy will pose a simple challenge to your kid, like assembling a 1000 piece puzzle.
The task is very simple to understand, put all the pieces together, so there is no hesitation to get started. Yet doing this will challenge both patience and perseverance.
This is why it is important to go with gradual increments in the challenge level to keep the interest growing.
It is very important to see the manufacturer’s recommended age range printed on the box. This label means a few things that most people don’t realize.
To set an age range, a few studies need to be done, and some professionals give their opinions about a toy.
Depending on the results of these studies, the box will also have to display other messages such as the nature of the materials, and any other warnings required by law.
Your job as a parent is to understand these and evaluate which toy is best for your kid given his or her age.
All the work behind this label is not seen, but the age range is always a good sign that a professional company is backing up the quality of the product they are offering.
If you are leaning toward a specific toy, then be sure to check reviews and comments from current owners. This always gives you a wider context and clarifies doubts you may have about the product.
I like to do this because it opens up the box right in front of me. The comments and reviews oher people give, say a lot about the ups and downs of these tools, so be sure to check them and ask questions as well.
This is especially good when you purchase online.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on this. Educational toys can be expensive, but you should start with something small and simple.
Once your kid has a preference for a specific type of toy, then you can invest a bit more into that.
What types of developmental toys are there?
The good news is that you can find a vast variety of toys to help your kid develop his or her learning skills.
You can find simple toys that are decorational and look cool on your desk, or complex sets with lots of interesting experiments.
As you can imagine, each type may have a different purpose, but all of them will develop and train your kid’s learning skills.
Science kits for kids
These sets may be what comes to your mind when you hear the term: educational toys. There is a wide variety of these kits, and young and old ones enjoy them equally.
You can find kits for chemistry, botanics, biology, electronics, science, and much more. These tend to be very topic-specific, so you should consider these when you have a better idea of what type of sets your kid enjoys.
It is not bad if you buy a bunch of these and try each topic separately. Just be aware that you may spend more money and your kid could not use some of these.
Another cool thing about these kits, is that they can be used by more than one kid at a time. This makes the learning process more fun and a shared experience.
Magnets are fantastic as they are pretty intuitive. People from all ages can play with magnets and use them for relieving some stress or having fun building something with them.
In the case of kids, magnets teach them one of the most fantastic phenomena of nature: Magnetism.
The push and pull, the attraction and repulsion forces, while simple in concept, have a deep impact inside the kid’s brain, because the levitation or the sudden movement of a metallic object when exposed to a magnetic field, is pure magic.
Patience and perseverance are some of the most important skills for learning, especially for kids.
Challenges can often frustrate kids, but patience and perseverance are the tools to deal with frustration, and in my opinion, nothing develops these muscles as puzzles do.
The great thing about puzzles, and the reason why they are so popular, is because the task ahead is simple: put all the pieces together until you see the full picture of what you are building. Very simple.
Yet, finding the pieces, trying each one, classifying, making decisions to stop building an area to dedicate to another. All of these things may seem simple, but these are the foundation of something called: strategic thinking.
All of this, packed in a box that is less than $20 USD in most cases.
These are some of the most interesting sets I have seen. These kits have probably 10 years in the market, yet every year, simpler, more advanced and interesting kits are released. And its price drops as well.
You can find robotics kits that are mechanical, electronic, and some mix these two and even teach coding.
This is the way a lot of kids get attracted to the world of engineering.
Everybody loves those cool looking gadgets that smart people have on their desk. While the main purpose of these toys is decorative, the truth is these are great for sparking interest from an audience, especially a young one.
Most of the time, desk toys offer a small challenge to get assembled, and then they are just displayed to look cool.
Yet these desk toys are fantastic as stress relievers and starting conversations. Usually these conversations include interesting concepts that will be investigated later.
Very few things are so hypnotizing such as marble runs. In my opinion, the bigger they are the better.
The cool thing about marbles running over a track, is that it has a mesmerizing effect that is almost impossible to avoid.
Usually, you assemble the track first and then just enjoy the end result. I like to make them as big as possible and with as many marbles running to make it more interesting.
There are a bunch of great sets for this, but I like the ones from Rokr and Ravensburger.
Subscription boxes for kids
This is one of the best ways to keep your child’s feed loaded with cool toys and educational tools each month.
Think of this as a magazine you subscribe to, to get a sample each month. With subscription boxes you can get books, toys, educational sets, and many more assets to keep your children busy.
Again, there are lots of categories but you should target those which your kid enjoys the most.
Is there any downside of using toys as educational tools?
I can speak from my experience and say that as a kid, I enjoyed these learning tools. In my case, everything having to do with engineering got me big time.
Even today, as an adult, I still got the kits and sets that my mom bought me as a kid. They bring nostalgia and joy at the same time. Today they are not that challenging any more, but still represent a very special part of my life.
These educational toys helped me see complex things in simplistic ways. For instance, a 4-cycle engine is a very complex piece of engineering. Yet a toyish set, like the Smithsonian Motor Works, puts this into small chunks of data that help you understand the main parts of an engine and its functions.
Honestly I don’t think there are any downsides, besides wanting more and more educational kits in the future.
Closing thoughts on improving or developing learning skills
There is not much left to say about these educational tools. They are great enhancers of the learning experience, and go very well with kids, especially if they have a hard time learning complex concepts.
My recommendation would be to start digging into the categories available to give that advantage to your kid with his or her learning skills.
Like we said at the beginning, what really makes the difference in a job or any other task in life, is how quick and how well you can learn and adapt to what happens. For this, learning skills are super important.