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As a mom, you always want to give your child the best, no matter what. And that includes getting them the best kind of toys. When I look for toys to get my boys, I look for toys of a good quality, and that won’t easily break. I also look for toys that will not only keep them entertained, but also give them the opportunity to express themselves, promote problem solving and critical thinking skills, nurtures their creativity, and allows them to explore the depths of their imaginations. I’m sure a lot of you have heard the phrase’ “Children learn through play.” And this is very true… What you also need to take into account is that different toys encourage the development of different skills. So when shopping for educational toys, have a look at what skills your child will be encouraged to use and develop when playing.

In the early years, children need to develop Fine Motor Skills (using the small muscles in their hands and fingers to do things like picking up small objects), Gross Motor Skills (using large muscles in the body to kick or throw a ball or sit up), Speech & Language Skills (using and understanding language), Cognitive Skills (learning how to solve problems and use reasoning) and Social & Emotional Skills (learning how to share, play by themselves and interacting with others).

When choosing toys, think of these five areas of development and ask yourself, “Will this toy help my child to develop in any way?” As you build up your educational toy stash, make sure that you have a variety of toys, so that all of the developmental areas are covered. You wouldn’t want to have too much of one thing, and nothing of something else. Once you have a wide enough range of toys, you can rotate them. For example, if Phoenix has played with his lego this week, I know that in two weeks time I’ll make sure he plays with his wooden blocks. By rotating the toys you not only ensure that your child doest get bored of them, you also encourage them to make a meaningful connection between skills learnt when playing with different toys. 

Playing is the easiest way for your child to learn. There are a wide variety of activities that your child can do using household objects, without you having to purchase anything… But for now, this is my list of favourite educational toys that you can purchase, and save yourself the time of making things. Don’t forget, educational toys make great gifts as well!

1. Wooden Blocks
Melissa & Doug blocks for imaginative play are ideal for introducing early math concepts, including shapes, parts-to-whole, and sorting. They also help to develop hand-eye coordination and teach patience.

2. Interstar
Linking pieces that are easy to hold and connect. It inspires and encourages creative and imaginative play, develops co-ordination and logical thinking skills. Pieces join together multiple ways for endless connection possibilities.

3. Flakes
Brain Flakes develops spatial intelligence and thinking. A great solo or collaborative group activity. Countless design possibilities and hours of skill building play. Engineers Start Here!

4. Doctor’s Surgery
Wooden multi-sided doctor’s office activity center play space with waiting area, exam room, sink and reception area.

5. Medical Kit
Includes play stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, hearing tester, syringe, scissors, tweezers, rolling forehead thermometer, reflex hammer, otoscope, eye cover, tongue depressors bottles, ID badge, activity cards, and more.

6. Kitchen
Pretend Play Toy Kitchen includes oven, stove, microwave, sink, refrigerator with working “ice” dispenser, freezer, and ample storage space for easy cleanup.

7. Kitchen Accessories
Includes Plates, cups, cutlery, pans, bowls, and everything a little chef needs to host a dinner party!

8. Supermarket
Wooden grocery store includes a hand cranked conveyor belt, a bagging area, card swipe machine, a realistic beeping scanner, and cash drawer.

9. Pretend Food
115 pieces, including fruit, vegetables, and snacks.

10. Workbench
The Melissa & Doug Wooden Project Solid Wood Workbench, a realistic toy construction set for kids, includes a functioning vise, tool rack, wooden tools, and hardware, as well as project ideas to spark imaginations.

11. Dress Up
Take your pick from a variety of dress up outfits!

12. Lego Duplo (For younger children)
As they create and play with this versatile mix of LEGO DUPLO bricks and pieces, your little builder will develop creative thinking and problem-solving abilities, visual-spatial awareness and fine motor skills.

13. Lego Classic (For older children)
Kids will spend hours engaging in pretend play with this medium-sized building kit. This build your own play toy allows kids to create toy trains or tiger figurines with this classic collection of LEGO bricks in 35 different colours.

14. Nesting Cups
The My First Green Toys Stacking Cups are colorful and fun and teach basic counting and math concepts.

15. Building Magnets
The perfect STEM toy for developing children’s creative learning, shape recognition, problem-solving, and motor skills.

16. Crayola Art Set
64 crayons, 20 short colored pencils, 40 washable markers and 15 large pieces of paper.

17. Play Doh
This includes over 40 tools and 10 Play-Doh colours.

18. Educational Insights Beanbags
Each beanbag features a number (1 to 20) on one side, and its word form (one to twenty) on the other. All even numbers are colour-coded blue and odd numbers in red to help children learn the difference.

19. Musical Instruments
A variety of musical instruments to explore.

20. Wooden Activity Cube
Wooden cube with curvy wire rides, peek a boo doors, spin and match animals, turn and learn ABC word tiles, and racing rollers.

21. Push Walker
Interactive learning baby walker features a removable toddler play panel that develops fine motor skills.

22. Grimms Rainbow Stacker
Inspires creativity: Arches can be used as tunnels, little houses, hills, rocking chairs or beds for little dolls…

23. Shape Sorter
Helps teach multiple skills, including color and shape recognition, sorting skills, problem-solving abilities, and manual dexterity.

24. Pattern Tiles
Pattern blocks and boards set lets kids enjoy a classic math manipulative and learning activity. It’s great for spatial awareness, colour recognition, hand eye coordination, and problem solving.

25. Rainbow Counting Bears
Sort them by number or colour to practice colour recognition or teach numbers!

26. Gardening Tools
For lots of fun in the garden.

27. Easel
Magnetic whiteboard on one side, chalk board on the other.

28. Gears
Supports STEM by introducing children to sorting, grouping, counting, designing, constructing, and putting physics into play with spinning gear movement. Learning gets more intricate as children’s abilities advance.

29. Bristle Blocks
Bristle blocks feature soft, interlocking bristles that stick together at any angle for frustration-free building.

30. Kinetic Sand
Kinetic Sand Beach Sand feels like wet beach sand that’s actually dry! It magically flows through your hands without sticking. It’s easy to shape and mould and cleans up easily!

– Cath

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