If I were pressed to defend the educational value of video games, I probably couldn’t do much other than say they can teach reading, math, problem solving, community interaction, cause and effect, and hand-eye coordination skills, so really I’d have an uphill battle talking about their benefits (wink). However, there are a handful of very popular toys being sold this very second to parents wishing to give their kids a little boost in the learning aspect of playing while still making sure the toy is fun (gotta love parents). But just what are some of the most popular educational and learning toys right now?
Heard of LeapFrog? You probably have since they’re selling tons upon tons of electronic toys aimed at teaching kids. It just so happens one of their best-selling products is a video game system called the Leapster. It looks like a mutant Game Boy but plays like something with the explicit purpose of learning in the foreground. However, you can easily fool a kid into forgetting he’s learning something when the character in the game is Batman. LeapFrog also has a wide variety of other electronic-type toys with the Learn & Groove Musical Table for kids (a thing that makes noise), the Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo (a thing that makes noise), or the Scribble and Write (I’m sure it makes some sort of noise, it is a child’s toy after all).
If, perhaps, you’d rather not futz with noise or electronics in general, our good friends Melissa & Doug have more than enough toys made of wood and magnets. Sometimes simple can be best, and Melissa & Doug tends to make very high-quality toys that last and last. It’s hard to beat a magnetic alphabet set or a magnetic responsibility chart. Sure, kids hate responsibility, but disguise it with magnets and they’re sold.
Fisher-Price is still around and doing just fine, by the way. Do you remember them from your childhood? I sure do. I had all sorts of plastic blocks and shapes and steering wheels and things of that nature from Fisher-Price, and I’m happy to say they still make all those things with their Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks staying as a bestseller. Their Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote may not really be in the same category though. It may say “Sesame Street: on it, but it also says “Silly Sounds” which is code for “Lots o’ Noise.” Just get the blocks.
It’s also cool to see that the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden is up near the top in sales. Why is that? Bugs, while super gross, are also super cool. Plus, it’s impossible for kids to find bugs in the house, so they have to go outside. If they can find tons of bugs inside, you’re teaching your kids something wrong. I was always happy as a kid with a bug net and a jar to keep my findings in. I assume kids haven’t changed too much since my childhood.
This is an incomplete list of the bestselling Education and Learning toys, but it’s a good start for sure. If all else fails, I can’t think of a single kid that’d say no to “Imagination Time” with their loving parents. In fact, I might just call my dad and see if he’s up for a game of it right now.