LocalWin.com - Your Local Business Finder

Using Educational Toys to Enrich Your Home School Experience

Educational toys are a key component of any school program, whether it is in a public school setting or in a home. Children learn through play and their play is work. As children play with educational toys such as puzzles, games, and imaginary play items they begin to put together complicated academic concepts in a natural environment and setting which leads to better understanding. Almost all toys that a child plays with can be considered educational toys. However, there are some really good educational toys that would be worthy to take notice of. Although direct instruction becomes increasingly important as the child grows older, educational toys can always play a role in the educating process even for students in the upper grades. Following are some examples of educational toys that you might want to integrate in your home school program:

Puzzles and Manipulatives: When you think of puzzles, you may think of the two-dimensional puzzles that you did as a child. However, also included in this category are three dimensional puzzles and brain teasers. When children are working on two or three dimensional puzzles they are using their spatial intelligence as well as their small motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Mathematics can also come into play as they match geometric shapes. Puzzles can also build language ability as children talk about the pieces in the puzzle. Many of the puzzles designed for younger children have simple common pictures and shapes that children can name and identify as they are putting it together. Older children may even enjoy creating their own puzzles and this uses a whole different set of skills.

Brain teasers are mental puzzles and may not be considered educational toys but they are a fun way to teach a new concept or to test knowledge and understanding on a previously taught concept. These types of puzzles almost feel like a game and can be a fun way to engage students. They can be based on nearly any subject area. Students may have fun making up their own brain teasers as well.

Manipulatives are small items that can be used for counting, matching, sorting, building, and so on.  They are invaluable as educational toys in the early grades where children still do a lot of concrete and tactile learning, but they are also helpful for those children in the upper grades who are visual or tactile learners.

Imaginary play is usually confined to the Pre-K and kindergarten years of school. However, children in all of the elementary grades can enjoy and benefit from imaginary play. Simple things such as dress up clothes, stuffed animals, props, toy vehicles, blocks, etc. can all be considered educational toys and are great for imaginary play. Children learn how to relate to others, they self-talk to solve problems, they act out real-life situations, and they problem-solve as they are engaged in imaginary play. Many teachers and educators direct imaginary play in a sense as they make suggestions or rotate the types of materials that are available for imaginary play.

Computer programs have become increasingly popular as educational toys in the last 20 years. Young toddlers and even infants have computer programs that are aimed at them. The key to finding computer programs that are useful as educational tools is to look for recommendations as well as to get word-of-mouth personal experience reviews. Just because some computer programs have "math" or "phonics" as part of the title does not mean that they are effective educational tools. You can get some great recommendations for computer games on the internet as well as find websites with free computer programs and games to teach and reinforce skills that your students are learning. The secret is to find computer games that are not only educational toys, but also that children like to play.

Other Educational Games: Despite popular belief and what some children may claim there are educational games that children enjoy that are not computerized or electronic-they don't even have to be board games. Some are classic games such as checkers and chess, while others are newer games which have been invented in the last few years. The good educational games are not those that are luck-based. Younger children should be encouraged to work cooperatively toward a goal and to use higher level thinking skills in games. Games for older children can be role-playing games, such as those which require them to think about how early settlers survived tough times. Or, they can play games which require strategy and thinking several moves ahead.

Science Equipment can be a really fun way to supplement your science and math curriculum. Some of the science equipment that you can find includes telescopes, microscopes, chemistry sets, and electricity experiments.  You can also find instructions for creating your own science experiments, science equipment and scientific education toys online-items such as a hurricane in a bottle, a tin-can stereo, and a blizzard in a box. The more that children learn about science through hands-on experience with science equipment, the better they will understand the deeper academic concepts. Science equipment is just one tool that you can use.

As you incorporate educational toys such as puzzles, imaginary play items, computer programs, science equipment and educational games into your home school program you will make it a more enriching experience for everyone.
About Us | Privacy | Terms | Copyright © 2005-2015 Localwin.com. All rights reserved.