The best educational toys for your kids

The best educational toys for your kids

June 21st, 2013

By Aimee Heckel

Experts agree that kids learn by playing.

Through playing, kids learn to solve problems, how to be creative, they develop leadership skills and they also learn about themselves and the world around them, according to Colorado State University’s extension division on Family and Consumer Education.

Plain and simply, providing positive play experiences helps kids learn more.

Here are some of the best educational toys to help your kids learn.

For the youngsters:

41697135A solar-powered mini grasshopper toy, $4.36 from Rakuten.com. Teach your kids about solar power and alternate sources of energy. Charge it up with the sunshine and the internal motor makes the bug move.

Use this coupon code to get free shipping, plus up to 4 percent Cash Cack when you order through ShopAtHome.com.

For elementary school kids:

pTRU1-5852598regA glow-in-the-dark solar system, $19.99, at Toys ‘R’ Us. This is a fun way to learn about outer space in your own home. Hang the planets and sun from the ceiling and open the windows during the day. At night, the charged-up balls will glow your kid to sleep. Oh, and this kit even comes with the latest info on Pluto’s status.

screen_1The best educational games for your iPad: 

PBS Kids is the goldmine of educational apps for your kids. Download the free PBS Kids Play and Learn app and get 13 interactive games, a free-play sticker area and 52 hands-on activities. Plus, the app is bilingual, offering both Spanish and English versions.

Also check out the Dinosaur Train app, which costs $1.99 in the iTunes store – but all proceeds go to support PBS Kids.

Another PBS freebie: The Electric Company Party Game, great for kids ages 6 and up. This virtual board game is filled with brainstorming, math questions and more.

Bonus tips: Make sure the toys are right for your kids, Colorado State University advises. The toys you pick should be things that respond to your child’s interests and natural curiosity. They should also be unstructured. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to play with a toy. Let your child be creative, and see where their brains take them — and you.

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About 

Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at AimeeHeckel.com, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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