The best educational toys for kids
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The best educational toys for kids

Views: 2     Author: 王倩雯     Publish Time: 2018-12-25      Origin: Site


Why you'll love it: The Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set is loved by children, educators, and parents for its ability to develop spatial, fine motor, and creative skills.

Magna-Tiles come in various sizes, shapes, such as right, equilateral, and isosceles triangles, and colors. Each tile has magnets along the edges and the unique ability to attract to other tiles even when they are flipped, which provides seemingly endless possibilities for use.

The tiles allow children to create anything they can dream up on either a flat surface in three dimensions. The tiles are great for all kids above the age of three. Younger children learn basic shapes by stacking and creating objects such as hexagons, while older children develop math and science skills by perfecting patterning, shape recognition, building, spatial, and fine motor skills.

As children grow, they can proudly transition to become Magna-Tile architects building more complex projects. The set comes with 100 pieces of translucent tiles to create cubes, pyramids, and other geometric shapes, but they are also compatible with other Magna-Tile sets. The more pieces or sets you combine, the more complex objects children can make. The company shows off kids' creations on its site, including skyscrapers, rocket ships, tea party tables, and more.

The tiles are translucent, so your child can build a structure and put it in direct sunlight to get a colorful reflection, use them on windows to create illuminated window decals, 'look' inside 3D shapes with a flashlight, see through them with a light table, or use them with a projector to seemingly enlarge the sizes of pieces and projects.

Magna-Tiles have received numerous awards and accreditations, including the Global Educator Institute Seal of Endorsement, which recognizes the very best in classroom-tested, teacher-approved learning products using a vigorous assessment process. The tiles have also won the Purdue University Engineering Thinking & Design Toy Award, the Brain Child Award by the Tillywig Toy & Media Awards, the commended medal in the construction category in the 2014 Independent Toy Awards, and an 'Excellent' play's accreditation by the research of Jørn Martin Steenhold, C.Phil.

The Wirecutter also recommends Magna-Tiles in the Building Toys category of its top educational toys. Multiple parenting and educationblogs praise the tile set, too.

On Amazon, the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set holds an impressive 4.9 out of 5-star average review based on 1,775 reviews, meaning it has more than 1,500 5-star customer reviews. Parents love the creativity the tiles inspire, how durable they are, and just how many different things kids can build with them.

The mere 2.25% of reviews that are critical mainly feature customers who have gripes with the price, such as this reviewer, who calls the set "A fantastic toy for the 1%." To be fair, paying more than $100 for a toy is a big investment, so if you cannot afford the 100-piece set, check out the more affordable 32-piece set with fewer pieces. That way, you can add onto your collection over time instead of paying so much up front.

Pros: Spans various age groups, can be used in countless activities, hands-on, nearly no learning curve to start using them, enhances various skill sets

Cons: Price

Buy the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set on Amazon for $119.99

Buy the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 32 Piece Set on Amazon for $49.99


The best educational toy for learning about electricity

Elenco/Snap Circuits

Why you'll love it: The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit will fill your child with knowledge about how basic electronics function.

The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit gives kids a hands-on education in electrical circuits so they can better understand the devices they use every day. The kit comes with 30 parts, including snap wires, slide switches, an alarm circuit, a music integrated circuit, and a speaker. It includes kid-friendly instructions to build more than 100 projects, such as a sound-activated switch, a musical doorbell, a voice-controlled lamp, a flying saucer, a lighted police siren, and more.

The projects build on each other and allow children to advance at their own pace, starting off with a simple electric light and switch, and advancing to more complex projects. Along the way, kids get to build replicas of real circuit boards found inside televisions, radios, and other electronic devices.

Beyond teaching valuable lessons about wiring that some adults may not even know, the STEM learning toy promotes building skills and teaches kids how to follow instructions. So as to not be overwhelming or discouraging to any child, the kit conveniently comes with a project manual that features large, colorful illustrations and simple directions for each project. Additionally, each of the 30 pieces is numbered and color-coded for easy identification. Intended to be a DIY toy that does not require parental supervision, there's no soldering or additional tools required. Rather, as the product name suggests, the pieces just snap into place.

The beauty of buying this starter kit is that it's a toy that progresses as your child grows. While more than 100 projects will certainly take a good amount of time to complete, the learning doesn't stop there. Once children have mastered several of the techniques introduced in this kit, they can use the components along with a little creativity to experiment and create their own customized circuits and electronic devices.

Additionally, all Snap Circuit kits are fully compatible, meaning once this junior set has served its purpose, you can upgrade your kit to theSnap Circuits SC-300 Original Discovery KitSnap Circuits Sc-500 Pro, or Snap Circuits SC-7500 Extreme. You don't even have to buy an entirely new toy with each upgrade, as Snap Circuit conveniently offers more affordable 'upgrade' kits.

Keeping your budget in mind, since all modules are fully compatible, purchases of additional kits only grow, rather than replace, your child's Stem Circuits collection.

Snap Circuit products have been recognized by The National Parenting Center with a Seal of Approval, and it has racked up more than 30 awards from the likes of American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), Tillywig, and others. In addition to the plethora of awards Snap Circuit kits have received, they are also featured in The Wirecutter.

On Amazon, the Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit holds a 4.8 out of 5-star average review rating based on over 5,500 customer reviews. Most buyers are thrilled with their purchase, many specifically state how much their children like it, such as this reviewer who comments that her kids like them more than Legos and this one who points out the kit is great because her child can use it alone or with friends. The relatively few critical reviews basically state issues with the product arriving damaged, pieces breaking too easily, or complaints that the kit doesn't come with batteries.

Pros: Cost-friendly, easy to expand your set rather than replace it, gives kids a hands-on learning experience with electricity, various add-on options to compliment each child's unique interests

Cons: Pieces may not be super sturdy, batteries required

Buy the Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit on Amazon for $22.00 (originally $34.99)


The best educational toy for learning about science

Scientific Explorer

Why you'll love it: The Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit teaches kids all about chemical reactions, which is less scary than it sounds.

The Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit allows kids aged six and up to make 'magic' (aka science) appear in front of their eyes, by teaching them about how chemicals can be added together to create reactions.

The kit consists of open-ended tools to construct, engineer, explore, and experiment with. It comes with 'chemicals' that are all kid-friendly and safe, such as red cabbage powder, citric acid, baking soda, three color tablets, a cross-linked polyacrylate copolymer, vegetable oil, and cornstarch. You'll also get tools, including two cotton swabs, three test tubes, three plastic cups, pipette, two measuring scoops, and an activity guide.

To learn the basics of chemical reactions, with this starter kit, kids can create 11 different hands-on, fun, and educational experiments such as a sunset in a test tube and a color-changing volcano. To complete experiments, you will need some in-home products such as water and baking powder.

Once kids have had their fair share of fun with this popular starter kit, there are a long list of other Scientific Explorer kits from the same company that your child can upgrade to for more science-learning fun, such as the Scientific Explorer Disgusting Science Kit, the Scientific Explorer My Own Perfumery, or the Scientific Explorer Ice Cream Science Kit.

To keep the learning non-stop, there are also a handful of add-on Scientific Explorer products you can gift your child at any time as his/her interest in Science continues to grow. Consider the Scientific Explorer Hydro Super Sand, the Scientific Explorer Spyhawk Night Vision Device, and the Scientific Explorer Newton Microscope.

The Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit holds an average 4.5 out of 5-star rating based on over 1,800 Amazon reviews. Most reviewers comment that the kit is fun and educational and some comment that the kit can be reused easily with household items giving you more hours of fun, such as this reviewer. Many parents recommend the kit to other parents.

Most of the critical reviews tend to focus on the fact that many of the experiments could have been done at home without the kit, or that the kit didn't entertain their kids well enough.

Pros: Price, multiple supplementary kits and add-ons to accommodate each child's unique interest, hands-on, safe

Cons: May not entertain or excite children not interested in science, many projects/lessons could be done or taught without the purchase of the kit

Buy the Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit on Amazon for $19.22


The best educational toy robot

Wonder Workshop

Why you'll love it: Make learning to code, solving problems, and developing patience fun for kids with theWonder Workshop Dash Robot.

When this Robot was first launched, our own Matt Rosoff got a chance to test out the robot collection with his kids and they enjoyed it. Intended for kids aged six years and up, the Wonder Workshop Dash Robot works with free mobile apps. Your child uses the apps to make the tiny robot dance, light up, make sounds, avoid obstacles, and react to their voice.

The robot is responsive to its world, so your child can really bring it to life through the hundreds of diverse coding adventures and projects available. As a plus and major time saver, it comes fully assembled and features built-in learning tools like the Go App, so your child can begin to learn and play with Dash right out of the box.

In addition to teaching children to code, the Wonder Workshop Dash Robot helps them develop patience and build problem-solving skills, as there are endless possibilities for freeform play. Dash also won't tire out as quickly as other toys, as apps accommodate different age groups, learning levels, and playing styles.

For example, the Blockly app introduces kids to fundamental programming concepts including algorithm design, command sequences, flow controls, and creative problem-solving. The Xylo app introduces children to programming through music and helps foster skills such as algorithm design, command sequences, and control flow, and loops.

To ensure children never get bored, the robot comes with various optional add-ons for further learning, including a Wonder Workshop Launcher for Dash Robot, which turns the robot into a programmable launching machine, and the Wonder Workshop Build Brick Extensions, which lets kids use Legos to build the robot into anything they can dream up.

The Dash Robot has received numerous awards from the likes of Dr. Toy, the National Parenting Publication, Good Housekeeping, and more and holds high reviews on established tech sites, such as an 8-out-of-10-star review on Digital Trends and a 4-out-of-5-star review on PCMag. The robot is also featured in The Wirecutter and The New York Times.

On Amazon, the Dash Robot holds a 4.3-out-of-5-star rating based on 263 reviews. Many reviews say the Dash is the "Best Robot Ever." Otherscomment that it's a great learning toy for their classes, especially to help teach programming. Some of the critical reviews complain that the Robot isn't fully compatible, such as this reviewer who had trouble pairing the robot with a Kindle, or this one who couldn't connect it with a Samsung Galaxy Tab A. Others have issues with the intended age range such as this one who says it's too advanced for her five-year-old, orthis one who said it has "limited appeal" for her 10-year-old.

Pros: Makes coding fun, guided setup and learning process, hundreds of use cases, multiple apps accommodate different learning styles

Cons: Best for a certain age range, reports of trouble pairing the product with certain mobile devices

Buy the Wonder Workshop Dash Robot on Amazon for $148.54


The best app-based educational toy


Why you'll love it: The Osmo Genius Kit enhances skills from math to drawing and incorporates hands-on digital learning.

The Osmo Genius Kit allows you to transform your iPad into a hands-on learning tool for your child. This starter set includes five games that foster creativity and problem-solving skills through hands-on and screen-based play, although additional games are available as add-ons for continual learning.

Designed for kids ages five through 12 years old, you can pick the type of learning that is best for your child based on the apps you give them. For example, Tangram lets kids arrange wooden puzzle pieces to match on-screen shapes to encourage visual thinking, while Newton, a drawing game that allows you to place any object in front of the screen and manipulate falling balls on the screen into the target zones to recreate the object, encourages problem-solving with 60 different levels of difficulty.

We really like that you can completely customize the learning kit to your child's particular learning structure and although there are only nine core games, the games have so many levels they can adapt to your child at any stage of learning within the intended age levels.

The kit turns core subjects into fun games. Kids can tackle math with the app Numbers, which has kids arrange physical tiles, including dots and digits, to make numbers and complete levels. Meanwhile, the spelling-focused Words app has 150 puzzle images that ask kids to guess and spell out the hidden word on screen by tossing down real-life letters.

The Osmo Genius Kit comes with the basic Osmo stand and reflector, as well as five core apps and games: Masterpiece (drawing skills), Numbers (math), Tangram (spatial thinking), Words (spelling), and Newton (creative problem-solving).

Additional add-on games usually require some hardware, as well as the software app, and are available for around $30 to $60. The Osmo Pizza Co. Game (add-on) teaches kids how to run and grow and business, honing in on math, money, and fraction skills; while the Osmo Coding Jam Game (Add-on) introduces and refines coding skills allowing children to use real-world blocks to create music.

The learning toy has received rave reviews from dozens of online experts ranging from Consumer Reports and The Wirecutter to The Wall Street Journal. Osmo was listed as one of Time's 25 Best Inventions of 2014, was a Toy of The Year Finalist is 2015, and the company was listed as one of Fast Company's 10 Most Innovative Companies In Education 2017. Tech publications like PCWorld and Digital Trends recommend the Osmo Genius Kit, too.

On Amazon, the Osmo Genius kit holds a 4.7-out-of-5-star review based on nearly 500 customer reviews. Reviewers mostly comment that their children love the product. This reviewer says that her 3-year-old child is a big fan of the toy, but there are plenty of older kids up to age 11 who enjoy it, too. There are only 40 critical reviews, which largely complain about the high price tag and the fact that you have to pay for add-ons.

Pros: Lessons (games) build on each other for continual learning as your child grows, various apps with hundreds of levels to advance to, teaches various skill sets and schools of study, uniquely incorporates hands-on learning in a digital environment

Cons: No detailed instructions for use, price, requires a tablet

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 Ms. Katie Zhang
 Yangwan Industrial Area,Qiaoxia Town,Yongjia County, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China (Mainland)


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