How to choose a really good educational toy

 In Blog, Learn & play, Nikki Bush

Many parents often struggle to identify a really good educational toy that has extensive play value and will last a number of years. When I look for a toy for toddler or preschooler that teaches, I am looking for something that:

  • teaches colour
  • teaches shape
  • teaches number
  • provides a see, touch and feel multisensory experience
  • can be played with in many different ways
  • can be played with differently as a child develops

Pyramid of Play is a good example

Hape’s wooden Pyramid of Play is a good example of  a classic educational toy with broad play value. It is an excellent investment in a child’s early learning because it provides the following learning opportunities:

  • stacking toy – put wooden cubes on top of each other from biggest to smallest helping children learn about size
  • nesting toy – put wooden cubes inside each other helping children learn about size
  • shape sorter – wooden shapes can be posted into the matching hole on each cube
  • colour matching – coloured shapes can be matched to the correct hole by colour
  • incidental reading of numbers, letters and words (whatever the brain sees it ‘photographs’)
  • concrete learning with real cubes
    • children can touch these 3D cubes internalising their shape
    • children can count the shapes from one to five
  • semi-concrete learning via the pictures on the side of the cubes
  • abstract learning via the numbers and letters on the cubes
  • fine motor co-ordination required for posting the shapes
  • gross motor co-ordination required for stacking the cubes on top of each other
  • problem solving when posting the shapes or stacking or nesting the cubes
  • spatial planning when posting the shapes or stacking or nesting the cubes
  • hide the shapes under the cubes for surprise fun and to test visual memory (where has the green shape gone?)

Play value over time

  • This product is suitable from 18 months of age as little ones tear down the tower of cubes you have built, or drop the shapes into the empty cubes, or pick up the shapes you have pushed through the matching hole in the cubes.
  • By 24 months they will be pushing the shapes through the holes by themselves.
  • By 2.5 years they will be stacking the cubes on top of each other and working out how to nest them inside each other in the correct order.

Wooden educational toys are investments

The Pyramid of Play is from Hape, the the world’s largest producer of eco-friendly wooden and bamboo toys that come from natural renewable sources. These high quality products should last for generations and can be passed down from child to child, rather than tossed out.

Hape products are available exclusively at Toy Kingdom stores.

Listen to my Radio 702 interview here about how to choose a really good toy, and I use the Pyramid of Play as a great example.

 

 

 

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