Everyone knows that toys are the necessary instruments that kids need to grow and develop to their optimum. Unfortunately, like any other object in this world, not all toys are created equal. As consumers, we must be very meticulous in our choices of playthings as our kids are quite dependent on our judgment.
We have come up with a list of the world’s top 20 educational toys that we are sure you and your kids will love. These playthings are guaranteed to be so useful that parents who are also teaching in grade school can use these tools as learning instruments for the teaching of their students.
How We Chose the Top 20 Educational Toys in Our List
Coming up with a shortlist of the top 20 educational toys is not easy simply because of the sheer number of so-called educational toys currently available in the market. Additionally, the understanding of what can be rightfully considered as educational is purely academic. Teachers and education experts can also have their own respective personal preferences as to what type of toy can be rightfully considered as educational. This do not make the determination of the world’s top 20 educational toys any easier. However, to come up with the shortlist is something that we have set out to do.
To help us in our endeavor, our team of researchers had to carefully examine each of these so-called educational playthings and identify what features they provide that can be considered as truly educational. We then subjected each toy to a series of tests to try and determine the breadth of learning usefulness especially when played by its intended or target age group of kids. We then had to look for any indications of remarkable achievement such as toy design awards or even learning toy awards which may have been awarded to the toy. In cases where there are none, we had to look at what other people are saying and how such toys were able to help their respective children. Of course, company reputation also matters a lot especially when considering any warranties or guarantees that are provided with the product.
It was never easy coming up with the list of the world’s top 20 educational toys. Nevertheless, we were able to pull it through and hopefully, you were able to find something that you can give as a birthday present or a holiday gift to your own kid or the kids of a family friend or neighbor.
What Makes a Toy Educational?
It is quite easy to label something as educational. But do toy manufacturers really understand what it means to have an educational toy? Furthermore, do we, as parents, have the correct idea of what constitutes an educational plaything?
For most of us, a very simplistic definition of an educational toy is something which a child can learn something from. Technically, this can mean virtually anything. For example, a piece of stick may look nothing more than an ordinary stick to most of us adults but for a child, it can already be the whole world to him or her. This stick can become the Jedi’s light saber that is used to combat the forces of evil in the galaxy. Or, it could very well be the magic staff of Jack Frost as he tries to become one of the newest member of the Guardian. Or, it can very well be the lean tower that juts the scenic landscape of a prime real estate property. What we are trying to say is that even ordinary objects can mean the whole world to the imagination of a child.
There are educational toys the way we envisioned them to be. These are learning toys for young children – those playthings that play the alphabet, nursery rhymes, and come in different light shows, colors, and shapes – all help to define the sensorimotor development of young children. It is through nursery rhymes and children’s songs that babies learn and expand their vocabulary. This helps them master the different colors including patterns, forms, and shapes. This provides the backbone for their language and communication skills. And as children become more and more confident about their semantic and pragmatic language skills, they become more adept at conveying and communicating with other children as well as adults in their family. This helps boost their sense of confidence and help enhance their self-esteem and self-worth.
Of course, there are instances when toys are really designed for the purpose of learning more specific concepts. For example, science-themed toys such as play microscopes, laboratory experiments, telescopes, and other miniature scientific gadgets can be very useful tools in helping children understand certain scientific principles. Giving children building blocks which they can build into robots and other mechanized objects as well as beautiful structures can help them understand certain principles of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. These are toys that are primarily designed to help develop children’s logical reasoning, counterfactual reasoning, deductive thinking, critical thinking, and creative thinking skills. It allows them to harness their complex problem solving skills in ways that would otherwise be difficult if not for these types of toys.
Craft toys and playthings that allow kids to create something can teach kids about patience and perseverance. While these may not be the kind of education that you have in mind, these are valuable life lessons which children can use later in life. They are also able to learn how to make full use of their manual dexterity, visual motor coordination, balance, and sense of proprioception. More importantly, they tend to become resourceful and highly creative, substituting things for another. This cannot be taught in school. Only life experiences coupled with the correct set of toys can help prepare children to think out of the box.
The Bottom Line
One’s preconceived notions about what should constitute an educational toy can affect future choices. What is perhaps more important for us to understand is that toys are merely instruments for our kids’ optimum development. They will still require our guidance especially in terms of using these toys. We may have provided you with a list of the world’s top 20 educational toys but we would strongly recommend giving a more hands-on approach to enhancing the playtime activities of your children so they will maximize the many benefits of these playthings.