Buying toys can be hard. It's hard to know what the child will like and what they will actually use. Today I'm sharing five of our most used educational toys. There is a lot to love here but most of all I love the engagement, that they capture my child's attention and hold his concentration.
Geometric Shapes Building Set - This was so much better than I had expected, it's a little oversized and perfect for the 5-7 age range. The cards make it much easier for the child to make the shapes, the cards guide the child. I love this as it combines fine motor work with geometry and maths. The child is learning through doing, they are learning geometry while playing with it - without even realizing it. The shapes look so good at the end, this is really fun to work with.
Primary Science Lab Activity Set - Children in this age often enjoy science experiments (see our science basket here) and I wish I had bought this sooner. While there are cards included with a few basic experiments, what we love is the equipment, the beaker, the oversize test tubes, the funnel and, pipette - they make the child feel like a real scientist. These materials could be used over and over again on so many experiments and also for pretend play. Again this is learning through play, even if it's a bit of fun colour mixing like what is pictured above, the child is experimenting and taking it all in.
Kid K'nex - We've had the K'nex set for older children for a while and Caspar (10 years) loves it and it's perfect for children who like to build. The Kid K'nex is labelled for children 3-5 years. As it is simpler and with larger pieces, Otis (7 years) uses the Kids K'nex more. It's good for his fine motor and construction skills but it's also fantastic for creativity and open-ended play.
Good old kinetic sand. For a long time, Otis didn't like to use kinetic sand but since he's got a little older, around 6-7 years he loves it and says he finds it satisfying to play with. I'm not sure what is so educational about this, the experience of the texture and the construction of items, the use of imagination and engagement leading to extended periods of concentrated play perhaps.
There is still a little block/construction type play going on in our home with a few animals and Earthtiles. The magnetic tiles are engaging and lead to lots of construction/engineering and pattern play.