My girls just started preschool last week and I’m not going to lie, I am VERY excited they have started this transition! I can just tell they’re at the point where they need constant interaction with other kids their age. I also feel like a structured learning environment will be really beneficial for them. They have late summer birthdays and are the youngest kiddos in their classes so we started working over the summer on basic learning tools I thought they should know to help prepare them for preschool. So far I have found these toys to be the best learning toys for toddlers.
I love this one because there are so many different ways for them to learn. They can count the number of chocolate chips on one side of the cookie and the number on the other side helps them with number recognition. The cookie jar also talks and asks that they find different numbers to put in the jar, if they find the wrong one the jar will ask them to try again. Finding the correct way to place the cookies into the jar also helps improve their fine motor skills. There are a few different types of these on Amazon, this one is our favorite and is currently priced at $19.99.
One of my daughters in particular is obsessed with Mega Blocks. Mom loves them too because it keeps them entertained for long periods of time and they are fun to do together. I find that it also helps improve their team work because they have to work together to make sure their “castle” doesn’t fall over. Carefully stacking the blocks also helps improve fine motor skills in toddlers.
Creativity through art is a big part of preschool and this double sided multi-purpose easel is great for displaying all of the girls art work. They can hang their pictures on it or color with chalk on one side and with the dry erase markers on the opposite side. It’s a major bonus that both kids can use this easel at the same time on different sides without anyone fighting for space to color! This one is currently on sale for only $62.99.
These magnets helped my girls learn the alphabet at a very young age. We practiced putting the different letters on the boards and worked on learning colors. We are just now starting to get into spelling as well. They also have animal magnets which helped them learn the names of all of the animals and made going to the zoo so much more fun since they immediately recognized the names of all of the animals!
The number and letter magnets are $18.69, this package also includes addition, subtraction and multiplication math signs that can be saved for when the kids get a little older.
Similar to the magnets my kiddos love spelling out different words in the bathtub. These letters stick to the wall in the bathtub and float in the water. This is such a great and educational way to spend tub time! The ONLY thing I do not like about these is that the foam letters absorb water like a sponge and over time water collects and attracts bugs to the tub – yuck! We occasionally set ours outside to completely dry in between usage. These foam letters are less than $15 and this set includes a bath tub toy organizer.
This one is a little advanced but it’s great for kids who LOVE puzzles like mine do. It’s nice that each word is only three or four letters long so they don’t get overwhelmed trying to figure each one out. This puzzle helps with cognition of spelling and words, it’s also great for improving their attention span and concentration because they have to work until each individual puzzle is completed. The Learning Journey Match It Puzzles run around $10 on Amazon.
You can’t go wrong with some old fashioned flashcards! These are wonderful because similar to the counting cookie jar there is a number on one side of the card and the same number of pictures for them to count on the other side. The bright pictures on each card also helps keep them stimulated. We were given these flash cards as a party favor at a birthday party about two years ago and the girls still love playing with these! Such a perfect idea for a party favor!
You can get several packs of numbers, letters, colors, and shapes cards for only $14.95 on Amazon. This pack also includes a dry erase board to practice writing.
This one was recommended to me by another mom, I just ordered it and am so excited for the girls to play it. The point of the game is to be the first to fill your log with all of the different colored acorns for the squirrel. This game reinforces color learning and the development of strategic thinking because you can spin to pick an acorn or lose an acorn in the game. It also helps emphasize turn-taking which is something my girls definitely could use some practice with! The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game is less than $20 on Amazon.
I try to keep two of these in the car for the girls to look at with while we are running from place to place. This book in particular has over 100 words and 12 different interactive pages to keep them engaged. Most books like these also include music and touch and teach quiz games to help with word association. There are lots of interactive books like this but this one is currently one of our favorites.
The director of the girl’s preschool told me that the best thing I can do for them at this age is to read to them and I really could not agree more. Reading helps them learn in so many ways, and it’s such a great way for them to bond with mom or dad before bedtime. I really like the board books because they don’t get ripped when the girls want to touch the pages and hold the books themselves. A few of our favorite bedtime reads are Good Night Moon, Guess How Much I Love You, and any of these Sesame Street Board Books.
Which toys have helped your child learn? Please feel free to share your comments below or by reaching out to http://makingmemorieswithmyminis.com/contact/.