Contributed by Rachelle Dawson, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Young children learn best by playing. And much of what they learn has to do with life, not just academic subjects. Toys which encourage imaginative and active participation help pre-kindergarteners to develop healthy habits, coordination, problem-solving skills, and more.
When selecting activity toys, avoid many of the toys which have become popular in big-box stores today. They may seem alluring because of flashing lights or battery-powered sounds, but they usually have only one or two functions. The best activity toys encourage your children to discover new ways of playing each time.
Age-appropriate toys for exploration
Give your soon-to-be kindergartener a toy that’s never the same game twice when you choose this Marble and Maze set from Young Explorers. Your kids might think it’s all about the play, but you’ll know it’s really teaching about basic construction and balance, spacial relationships and creative design. But we’ll keep that a secret just between us, okay?
For younger kids, this is a great mommy- or daddy-and-me toy (marbles are small, and can be dangerous for little ones) but as your child grows, their skill and independence will grow. Homeschoolers can even use it to demonstrate basic physics long after the official toy use has passed. This are toys for the long haul!
Creative learning tools for parents and teachers
Get your pre-kindergarteners down on the floor and involved in fitting together this colorful frog puzzle and you — and your child — will be winners. You’ll love the fact that they’re learning shape matching, spacial recognition and animal facts. They’ll love the colorful images, the experience of success as each piece fits together, and the big kid-friendly pieces.
An educational supply store specializes in all kinds of learning and activity tools for parents and teachers, all arranged by age and approach to make finding the perfect activity toys a breeze.
Creative Learning Stores
Colorful, hands-on, learning
Get kids outside and moving around and you’ll keep your pre-k kids giggling and happy. And like the rest of a learning store’s products, there’s more to this rainbow parachute than meets the eye.
Not only will kids love the bright colors, they’ll be improving their body/space awareness, coordination and strength. For younger kids, it can even help with object permanence issues. Choose a 6′ or 12′ size to fit your family, class, group or space size, put on some music and let the magic begin!
Creativity at every turn
Sometimes traditional building sets are too hard for little hands to connect. And that can be frustrating, just when when you want to encourage creative construction. Not so with Bristle Blocks, which fit together in countless ways, and then come apart just as easily.
This 75 piece set from Met Kids lets kids as young as two experience building success, while still keeping kindergarteners interested and involved. Not many toys can say that, but then not many toy stores are Met Kids!
Baby Goods Stores
Pretend toys for learning fun
No matter how fancy the toys, or how convincing the research about their “educational value”, there is nothing that beats old-fashioned pretend play for building a child’s skills, confidence, learning and imagination. Not to mention, it’s just plain fun!
This pretend kitchen from a kids’ store is a classic let’s-pretend toy that has stood the test of time. Little girls and boys love to make-believe cooking dinner, baking a cake or just organizing the play food in the fridge and cabinets. For a complete experience, pair the kitchen with a play store and your child will have endless hours of fun and learning.