Using Educational Toys To Entertain And Teach Your Children
Learning is fun, or it should be. I loved learning new things when I was a kid, reading through encyclopedia and dictionaries to find out new and exciting stuff. But it seems like kids today don't have the time to do that. Or they consider it geeky. Or they just think learning is boring. This is because they've learned bad education habits in school. You, the parent, can get them interested again by using educational toys. Educational Toys for Babies (Birth-1) Many people don't realize how bad a baby's vision really is. If you are more than eighteen inches away from a two-month-old child's face, she sees you as a skin-tone-colored blur. And they have a terrible time distinguishing colors, particularly light ones. This is why children like people with light skin and dark hair (or vice versa) or eyeglasses, or sparkly dangly jewelry (ouch!) - they can't make out details, but they can make out the contrast. For this reason, it's always puzzled me that manufacturers push pastel and lemon-yellow and baby blue as ideal colors for babies. Babies like sharp contrasts, especially black and white with a little red (no joke there!); they also like toys that they can feel differences in, smell, taste, and cuddle. Look for educational toys for babies that have black and white in them, and lots of textures and different things to discover. Don't worry about getting the toy with twenty activities, though; babies aren't nearly as jaded as we are. Educational Toys for Toddlers and Young Children (1-5) Movement. Kids this age are all about discovering ups and downs and how to jump, climb, and play. And they get as much education out of it as books. Toys such as small-size sports (and then sitting down and watching a game to explain the grownup rules) are great; the new Dance Dance Revolution video games are marvelous for teaching children basic coordination. Books are great for some children, but don't get your heart set on them. If you can find educational toys that require playing active games, modeling clay, getting out and having a scavenger hunt, you will be fulfilling the dreams of most young children. Do try to teach them the rudiments of the alphabet as early as you can; your best bet is those magnetized letters that stick to the fridge. It gives your little one something relatively safe to do while they're in the kitchen. Educational Toys for Older Children (6-12) Now we get to the jaded kids. Kids today really do have everything, and you don't have to give them very much more. Instead of going for quantity in toys, go for quality. Look for the toys (and they may be more expensive, but you're buying fewer of them, right?) that are well-constructed, have style, and really teach. For instance, Schleich Knights, a German-made line of toys, are historically accurate, beautifully detailed medieval knights, horses, and castles. For a kid interested in science, go for the basic science kit - but don't get the cheap one, get the one with the best books, real beakers, and instructions for making science experiments with food or household materials. Think about the kid before buying anything; an educational toy your nephew puts up on a shelf teaches nothing, and the minute you require a kid to use it, you're teaching them - again - that learning is work and not fun at all. Educational Toys for Teens Through Adults Yep, I said adults. We have to play too, and too often we forget about that. Again, it comes back to your personal interests. If you like to play with words, pick up a game of Scrabble or Upwords. If you're a sports nut, try doing some fantasy sports online - and keep moving. Physical education is important, so don't forget to buy sports toys - bats, gloves, etc. Keep your teens moving too. And talk to them. Again, you can't buy appropriate toys unless you know enough about the kid to know what he or she likes. Play hard, and have fun!
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