Keep that noodle sharp!
While schools are closed due to COVID-19, there are still plenty of ways to keep your kids learning from home. A far cry from completing a math worksheet, these new toys are fun and entertaining for kids, but still sneak in educational lessons. Educational and fun, yes please!
We’ve compiled a list of educational toys that’ll keep kids busy during these unexpected days off. Best part? They are so fun and entertaining, kids will totally forget they are learning. You may have to beg them to do their school assignments, but you’ll never have to beg them to play!
VTech Explore & Write Activity Desk (VTech)
While you are hard at work from home at your desks, your little ones can now have their very own desk space, too. This interactive desktop comes with five pages kids can use to learn and explore letters, numbers, music, and colors. They can practice writing on the writing pad and exploring all the activities it has to offer. Plus, kids can use the stylus and the built-in light-up display to trace letters, numbers, and shapes. Soon, practice will make perfect and they’ll be scribbling like a pro! And when it’s time to get creative, the desk flips up into an easel and a chalkboard. Plus, there’s room for all your arts and crafts supplies to store neatly inside.
Coding Critters (Learning Resources)
Introduce preschoolers to STEM concepts and coding with screen-free exercises. These interactive toy pets are ready to code right out of the box — no iPad, phone, or computer required. As kids follow along with the included storybook, they will learn to program different commands to walk, feed, and nurture their little pet. Parents can choose from a cute-as-a-button cat, dog, dinosaur or bunny versions. When kids are homeschooling and spending more time in front of a screen than ever before, it’s important to offer them some unplugged play experiences, like this one!
Buy Now: Amazon
Speak & Spell (Basic Fun!)
Kids can test out their spelling skills with the Speak & Spell tablet. Just like the version from the ‘70s and ‘80s that parents may remember, kids can learn to spell more than 200 words using the speech synthesizer function. Plus, there are multiple play modes and challenge levels to take spelling quizzes to another level. This multi-generational toy is great for bringing the whole family together for a unique bonding experience, while learning some commonly misspelled words, too.
VEX Robotics Kits (Hexbug)
One way to keep your tweens and teens busy while stuck at home? Have them build a robot! Hexbug’s VEX Robotics kits are great introducing older kids to physics and STEM concepts as they construct different building projects. The engineering kits use more than 200 pieces and your kids will see how these mechanics work firsthand. Plus, you get a fun robotic friend to experiment with once you’re done building. Parents will love that this toy requires no additional tools, glue, or anything else — it’s ready to build right out of the box!
Buy Now: Amazon
Gummy Candy Lab (Thames & Kosmos)
Snack break! But before they can eat it, they have to make it! This Thames & Kosmos kit will have kids cooking, mixing, and learning the scientific method as they make yummy gummy candy. There are sweet and sour ones, as well as pretty rainbow-colored ones. Sound yummy and educational? It is. This one might require a little help from parents, so best save it for after work hours or a fun weekend treat.
Buy Now: Amazon
Design & Drill STEM Garden (Educational Insights)
Watch kids’ STEM skills blossom with the latest addition to the Design & Drill line. Young builders will add the stems, stack the petals on top, and use a kid-friendly drill and bolt to secure the pieces in place. Then, they can watch the garden bloom before their eyes! This STEM Garden supports key STEM lessons and creative play for little kids ages 3 and up and helps them develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and patterning skills. This type of hands-on play is super important for kids. And remember: now is a good time to get a jump on your spring cleaning and disinfect your kids’ playthings, especially ones that are constantly touched.
Buy Now: Educationalinsights.com
Smartivity Kaleidoscope (Elenco)
This kit is sure to amaze kids and keep them busy for a while! They can build their very own kaleidoscope, fill its drum with included trinkets, and decorate it with paint and markers. Once it’s ready, watch kiddos explore light and color. A major win for parents? Assembly is mess-free using only rubber bands, no glue or batteries required.
Buy Now: Amazon
LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book (Leapfrog)
Looking to practice some of kids’ first words? Leapfrog’s 100 Words Book teaches new vocabulary on each colorful page. There are fun sound effects, silly learning songs, and interesting facts to help kids understand each word. There’s even a bilingual option to learn words in English or Spanish. School breaks are a great time to start a new language: There certainly is plenty of time to practice! This book is great for independent learning, too!
Discovery Geology Sand Dig (Horizon Group USA)
Who’s ready to dig it? Young archeologists-in-training can cut through layers of colorful sand to unearth nine natural earth stones, including pumice, slate, coal, shale, obsidian, gneiss, marble, gypsum, and granite. After kids find all the stones, they can play with tactile, moldable sand to continue the fun. It’s the perfect way to kick-off a rock collection!
Buy Now: Walmart
DIY Music Maker Science Lab (hand2mind)
Maybe your kiddos are bummed to be missing out on music class? With hand2mind’s kit, they can make their own instruments. Kids explore the science behind pitch, vibration, and acoustics as they make a box guitar, a pan flute, and an ocean drum. A Storybook Lab Guide explains 10 different activities that combine STEM and sound lessons. Next thing you know, you’ll get a private concert from home.
Buy Now: Amazon
Magna-Tiles Structures (CreateOn)
The magic of storytelling is combined with building and STEAM lessons for young builders. Kids will build a variety of 3D sets using the magnetic, two-sided colored tiles. There are Story Sets so kids can recreate iconic moments from the World of Eric Carle. Then, they can go for a bigger challenge with the Building Sets and try to build a rocket ship, a school bus, or a Royal Castle model.
Buy Now: Target
A plush and a learning robot all-in-one? At CES 2020 this year, Thinker-Tinker introduced its first interactive plush robot. Kids can follow along with an interactive educational story by reading the included storybook and playing simple online games via an app that can be connected to Octobo. Octobo has bluetooth-connected sensors in his body, arms, and treasure bowl that respond to kids’ interactions. Awww, we’d totally take a hug from Octobo! Especially in an age of social distancing, this plush buddy provides a nice friend for kids.
Buy Now: Thinker-tinker.com