Educational Toys Buying Guide

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It's no question that a solid education lays the foundation for future success in life: of course, there is the immediate and practical effect that your child will do well in school, but furthermore, learning and developing a variety of skills will help young minds be prepared for the world they will eventually face. However, don't let the dangling carrot of having a doctor in the family be your only incentive: learning should be fun and exciting in its own right.  As a parent, does this sound like an insurmountable task?  Hardly.

Children learn more about the world around them through play.  By interacting with each other, competing at cards, building a fort out of blocks, and so on, kids learn problem solving techniques, improve their motor functions, improve their interpersonal skills, and oh yeah, give you a little bit of time to yourself.

For more information about great educational toys that your kids will love, read on. 

Logic and Maths

Logical Skills

Logic is the process by which one uses reason to come to a conclusion about a given scenario.  These skills are especially useful for children to learn because when they understand the methods that consistently help them find a solution, they are less inclined to give up or say "I don't know."  In this way, not only do kids learn helpful problem solving tactics, but they also gain confidence.

  • Classic logic games include puzzles ,chess ,backgammon , and strategy games .
  • SuDoku  is all the rage these days, and it's fun for both kids and adults.
  • Card games  such as Magic  or Pokemon  encourage young minds to use problem solving--and kids are often so wrapped up in the game that they don't even realize that they're learning! Many board games are often just as fun. Give Mastermind  or Cluedo  a try.
  • If your child is addicted to video games, offer a simulation game that teaches him or her to manage a business, keep a budget, etc. Sim City  and Zoo Tycoon  are classic examples, and tons of fun for kids. There are also games that require a great deal of logic and strategy in order to succeed, such as Top Trumps: Doctor Who  or Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords 

Math Skills

Like logic, mathematics are an essential tool for future success.  Clearly, jobs in this field can be extremely well-paid, but don't let that be your only incentive for trying to get your daughter to do her Algebra homework.  Maths are a universal concept, and through them, children are better able to grasp how to analyse, plan ahead, organise, and think rationally--that's good for everyone!

Click here for more logic & maths recommendations.

Verbal Skills

Not only should you want your child to enjoy reading and writing for the sheer fun of it (come on, what could be better than escaping into a great book?), but an emphasis on verbal skills and instruction in foreign language have actually been shown to enhance children's cognitive development.  This in turn helps develop critical thinking capabilities, creativity, and flexibility of mind, which are absolutely critical facilities to possess in our fast-paced world.  Furthermore, there is evidence to support the theory that students who study a foreign language actually outperform monolingual children on standardized mathematics exams.

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History & Geography

History and geography allow kids to better identify their place in the world: by learning more about their own history as well as that of other lands and cultures, they are invited to think critically and make comparisons.  These subjects help provide a stronger sense of identity, give guidelines by which to improve decision making and judgement, and allow children to see how they relate to society (and the world!) as a whole.

History

  • Children's encyclopaedias  are a wonderful place to start the learning process. Not only are these tomes helpful for school projects, but they also allow children to hone their research techniques.
  • Look for toys and games with a historical theme or centred around a particular event. Kids are often fascinated by dinosaurs or the ancient Egyptians, so a dinosaur-themed puzzle  or a game like Dig & Play: Egyptian Tomb  is sure to delight any budding archaeologists.
  • Video games such as the History Channel  or Total War  series are a good option for older kids because they integrate historical events and competitive play.

Geography

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Science & Nature

Kids automatically wonder about the world around them: how do birds fly?  What are stars anyway?  Can I make things blow up in my very own home?  Encourage your child's curiosity with science- and nature-themed toys and games and you'll help them satisfy those eager minds.

Click here for more science & discovery recommendations.

Related Guides

Maths Toys

Language Arts Toys and Games

History and Geography Games

Science Toys

Creative Toys