Choosing the Best Educational Toys and Games for Your Child

With so many toys on the market today, it is sometimes hard to choose the best educational toys for your child. Educational toys are toys that help a child develop essential skills needed for success in life, including, but not limited to, thinking skills, social and emotional development, and the tools needed to learn math, reading, and writing. Something as simple as a cardboard box can be an educational toy if your child plays with it in a creative way.

Toy store shelves are stock full of hundreds of bright, colorful toys and your child is bombarded with their ads on television. Many of these products claim to have educational value, and several of them do, but there are a few tips to keep in mind as you search for the best educational toys and games for your child.

Most importantly, be sure the toy you select is not only safe and durable, but choose a toy that is appropriate for your child’s age and abilities as well. Follow the manufacturer’s age guidelines to avoid chocking hazards from small parts and consider your child’s personal developmental level to decide if the toy would be right.

Take the time to examine a toy before making a purchase decision. Ask yourself what types of educational benefits the toy may offer. Look for toys that invite creativity and self-expression or cognitive skill development. Leap Frog toys and games provide children with fun ways to learn basic reading, math, and language skills. These educational toys also aid in hand and eye coordination, fine motor skills, and a number of other thinking skills.

Your child will most enjoy toys that relate to his specific interests. If your child likes dinosaurs, then dinosaur figures and play sets, books about dinosaurs, and dinosaur games will make great toys. Toys that spark a child’s curiosity will give him a desire to learn and will provide hours of fun.

The most important factor in determining the true educational value of a toy or game is whether or not it is fun to your child. Toys that are not fun will be quickly thrown aside and forgotten, eliminating any educational benefits the toy may hold. Fun educational toys will be played with frequently, ensuring that your child actually develops the skills that are intended.

Watch your child as he plays with his friends, plays at school, or in a special playroom at a doctor’s office or garage. Observe the toys he chooses to play with and note which toys seem to be fun as well as educational to your child. If you still have trouble selecting the best educational toys and games for your child, try consulting one of the many lists of award-winning toys, like Dr. Toy or Parenting Magazine.

Choose toys that fit your budget and are in line with your family’s beliefs and values. Keep in mind that many high quality toys, especially those made of wood, are generally rather costly, but a well-crafted toy will typically outlast their cheaper counterparts by many years, sometimes decades.