Pretend Play: Getting Them Ready for School

cute black girl in firefighter uniform
Photo by Amina Filkins on

When it comes to school, we all want our kids to be at the top of the class and that means giving them a head start before they ever meet their teacher. From letters and numbers to shapes and colors there’s a lot they can learn while they’re still at home. But let’s face it, no parent wants to be a drill sergeant! The more positive learning experiences the better.

A child who is used to being curious will have a much easier time staying ahead in school. Thankfully, there are some great toys that will entertain your child so much, he won’t even realize he’s learning! Let’s take a look at some different types of toys that can put your kid on the right track.

If you’ve got a toddler in the house, don’t forget the classics! Some of the best educational toys have also been around the longest. These toys have lasting power because they have universal appeal and will help introduce you kid to some foundational ideas. Blocks are a smart option for any kid that’s at least one and a half years old. You can find them with all kinds of basic shapes, numbers and letters.

Don’t worry if your child is too young to understand them right away; blocks are good for motor skills and hand-eye coordination too. This means your little tot can get years of playtime with these handy little stackers.

Now if you like the sound of wooden toys but you need a little more variety, try a stacking board or some basic puzzles. You can find boards with all the basic shapes and in vibrant colors. Puzzles are another fun way to sharpen these skills and you can find some tailor-made for toddlers. These are just thick and safe just like blocks but they can also teach kids about environments.

A farm animal themed puzzle is an easy way to introduce your kid to concept in an enjoyable way. You can even find puzzles that make sounds! This does require more hand-eye coordination because each shape must be fitted onto a peg or into, but that extra challenge can be more entertaining. That being said, You might want to wait until your child is a little older before you introduce this toy.

Plush toys are another great way to make learning fun. Nowadays, there are so many plush items that are adorable and educational. Melissa and Doug is a toy company that makes a wonderful line of educational plush toys just for tots. You can act out a classic fable with the Three Little pigs play set or start teaching your child about money with the Fill and spill wallet.

All of these play sets are large and cushy; perfect for that age when everything ends up in his mouth! And the company has made each piece colorful and friendly looking.


There are so many toymakers dedicated to helping children during those first five years of learning. And with a few of the right toys, your toddler will be well on the way to having a great education. So keep an eye out for these toys which are sure to be so much fun, your child won’t even know she’s learning!

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At SensoryEdge our focus is to educate, inform, and inspire each person caring for children to be and do their very best. It is not always easy and sometimes we don't take action (or we take the wrong action) because of a lack of understanding the real issues. We hope that the conversations that occur here will help in some small way better the lives of children, their families, and the professionals who work with them. We are always looking for valuable contributions to our site so if you are interested in becoming a contributor contact us.