I love toys, which is why I love my Playroom Chronicles series. However, many people do not realize that a toy can do so much more than what the product packaging says. For example, a remote-controlled car can be a great math tool, and a nerf blaster can actually help with spelling! Here are seven exciting and exceptional toys, but also educational – even if they are not considered “educational toys.”
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Nighthawk NexGen (Rollplay)
Kids can cruise at variable speeds up to 6.5 MPH. By using lean-to-steer controls, kids can twist and turn. When the kids are done, quickly pop the foot pedals and wings back in for storage, then release them with the push of a button when ready to play again. The weight limit is 110 pounds, and the recommended age is 6 and up. The ride-on is powered by a 24-volt battery that requires a wall outlet.
While the item is fun and of itself, use chalk on the driveway and put numbers 1-10 (or 1-20). Throw out addition, subtraction, and other math questions, such as “What is 10-5?” Then have your child drive to the correct number/answer. It is a fun way to practice math and gets them up and outside too.
5 Surprise Mini Brands Mini Mart (ZURU)
ZURU’s 5 Surprise Mini Brands Mini Mart expands the experience of its hot 5 Surprise Mini Brands line, offering fans and collectors a one-stop-shop to store, collect, and display their growing collection. The playset from Zuru features shelves to a freezer section, a shopping cart, a cashier stand, and four mystery minis. This engaging store and display playset also make real shopping sounds, offering a true to life experience for collectors of all ages!
While the mini-mart is a collector’s dream toy, it can be a functional toy too. On a separate sheet of paper, give prices to the items in your mini-mart. Then give your children a pretend amount of money and have them go shopping in their mini-mart to see what they can buy with that money! It is a great way to practice functional math. Another activity is to ask children to follow a grocery list for executive functioning practice.
Available: Amazon, Target, Walmart
Atomic Power Popper with Sticky Targets (Hog Wild)
The Hog Wild Atomic Power Popper rapid fires up to 20 feet, thanks to its newly designed pump-to-shoot handle, and kids can use the new sticky, movable targets to help create a customized target range. The toy comes with three sticky wall targets and 24 safe foam popper balls for kids four and up.
While this toy is, literally, a blast to play with, it can also be a fun tool to work on vocabulary and grammar. For example, place a cup on a shelf or ledge. On one cup, have the word “Tale” written on the surface. On another cup, have the word “Tail” written on the side. Then say a sentence with the word in it, such as “The dog had a tail that wagged.” Your child has to ‘pop’ the correct answer! Is it a tale or tail that is used in the sentence they heard? You can also do similar things with spelling and can also use this for math facts too. The possibilities are endless – and fun!
Available: Amazon, Target
Power Treads (WowWee)
Power Treads from WowWee are all-surface vehicles that flip, rip, and roam all over your home. Build epic trails using the modular track set. For kids five and up, you can even add obstacles to Power Treads tracks using found objects to create cool stunts and challenges.
This set can work on architecture skills – and science skills like cause and effect. One challenge is to give kids five objects and see how they can incorporate those objects into the set. This teaches them about collaboration and enhances critical thinking skills.
Available: Amazon and other major retailers
Lite Brite Ultimate Classic (Basic Fun)
Lite-Brite from Basic Fun Ultimate Classic is now brighter than ever for 2020 with a bigger screen and more pegs. It also includes more than 200 colorful, round, 1″ long pegs, and the battery-powered LED bulbs light up the screen in 4 different ways for a fun light show effect. Best for kids four and up, six design templates included with more templates to downloaded from basicfun.com.
Lite Brite is a fun toy that inspires creativity, but it also helps work on sequencing, patterning, and fine motor skills. Use it as a tool to have kids create a scene from a book and then give a presentation on what they created and why. Place pegs in a certain color row and ask younger or challenged children to follow the pattern or guess the next steps’ pattern! Lots of ways to play and learn with this device!
Available: Amazon, Target
Charaction Cubes (Bandai)
Charaction CUBES are the next generation puzzle for both casual and hardcore fans. Whether you’re a Rubik’s addict or pop culture fanatic, there’s a Charaction for everyone, with beloved characters from Dragon Ball, Gundam, Naruto, and Gudetama. Each design captures each character’s iconic representation with appealing ‘chibi’ detail while functioning as a Rubik’s puzzle to enjoy and add to your collection! Best for kids eight and up.
One of the alternative benefits to Charaction Cubes is that they can work on fine motor skills and attention. Plus, they can act as a fabulous fidget toy.
Available: Amazon, Diamond Comics, Entertainment Earth
Lego Dots Sets (Lego)
Lego DOTS sets are for kids who love craft making and DIY projects. It’s a wearable and decorative creativity for ages six and up with colorful themes and unique decorated pieces. The DOTS bracelets let kids design their new bracelets, over and over, and the pencil holders or picture frames are places where kids can show off their creativity.
These Legos can also be great function rewards for kids. Instead of earning stickers or tokens, kids can earn the DOTS. Then they can display their new dot on their bracelet or picture frame. It is a fun reward that will last a long time too.
MSRP: Sets range from $3.99–$19.99
Available: Amazon, Joanns, Michaels, Justice, and LEGO.com
All in all, these seven toys are fun. Yet, they can also be educational. That this the lesson of this post. Toys don’t have to be what they seem – if you have a little imagination.