What makes a toy a learning toy? It is quite possible that any toy can be a learning toy — from coloring books and building blocks on.
But most people have something quite different in mind when they talk about learning toys. So when looking for something interactive with an educational spin I found a good place to start — the toy awards.
The LeapFrog Reading System
The LeapFrog TAG Reading System exceeded expectations by the Toy Industry Association for the Educational Toy of The Year this February at the Toy Fair in New York. Judging from LeapFrog’s continued success I think we’ll see them taking home more awards in this category in the future.
These toys have been dominating the marketplace for years and their educational value is not to be decreased as the popularity increases. LeapFrog has come up with new variations on their basic design and more options are in the works I’m sure.
Check out this popular variation, the LeapFrog Fridge phonics set.
The basic sets are available for checkout from some libraries (think of donating yours to the library when your kid out grows his), and this allows even those with limited disposable incomes (more and more of us as the economy plays its tricks) to keep fresh games available for the kids.
The need for an interactive reading toy is apparent in a culture where so many kids sit passively in front of a television all day. By turning off the TV for a little bit each day and allowing the child to read — even with electronic aids/stimulation — there is an interactive quality to the entertainment now being offered.
Parenting: The Best Way for Kids to Learn
As these learning toys advance it’s also good to remember the basic learning toys — parents! There is nothing as developmentally stimulating as a parent’s attention and cooperative play. This doesn’t have to cost a dime & the learning (both mental and emotional) can be beneficial to all the participants. So, grab a book and read together, or make a fort out of a clean sheet in the living room.
Or take fifteen minutes to play cars — it’s not much of your time, but it’s a world of fun for that little growing person.