You can help kids get the most out of their classroom experiences by providing them with fun, hands on, toys to play with both during and after school. With so many flashing, blinking, singing and dancing toys on the market today; it's hard not to get sucked in. However, these more technologically advanced items do not give kids the same kind of stimulation that classic toys provide. In fact, they may even hinder your child's development in some areas--such as hand eye coordination.
Here are several better (and less expensive!) options that children have loved for generations.
Whether big or small (big if the kid is under four!) blocks are a childhood favorite! They not only give kids an excuse for making a mess and breaking things, they also help with motor skills. Kids learn how to balance and stack items, how to tell the difference between large and small items, as well as use their imaginations to create. Blocks also encourage kids to use their imaginations. Unlike with modern toys, where a flashing car is just a flashing car, blocks can be made into a house, car, trees, bridges, or people. It's all in the way kids look at them. Some of our favorites are the line of standard unit wooden blocks. They are sturdy, basic and come in sets large and small for multiple kids can play.
Colorful connecting toys or stacking toys are the more playful cousins of blocks, but with added benefits for early development. For starters, kids can learn colors by naming the color of each piece. They also excite kids from infant to kindergartner, so if you have kids in varying ages this is a great option to get more fun for your money. Aside from this, stacking and connecting toys offer the same benefits as classic blocks. Snap Blocs by Learning Products are just the right size for little fingers, colorful and full of fun!
Wire and Bead Toys
Always a hit in doctors offices, they also transition well in school rooms, waiting rooms and bedrooms. Although no one may ever quite figure out the mystical appeal of colorful beads on a loop of wire, kids will be entertained for hours on end with these! Kids can learn colors, shapes and other bits of important information while entertaining themselves for a change…without the use of a television. For added benefits, bead mazes also teach problem solving skills as well as encourage imaginative play. We like the Beads in the Barnyard Bead Maze because it also features a variety of animals for kids to learn!