Toys That Teach: A Few Resources for Younger Learners
Please note this post does contain affiliate links.
Many teaching and learning techniques or resources that I have previously discussed or linked to on my “Resources” page, tend to be for older students, but I wanted this post focus on younger learners. I am a firm believer in giving kids less TV time, more nature experiences, and more books and hands-on toys to play with. Below are three of my all-time favorite toy brands for younger learners that I have used extensively over the years. Please feel free to comment with your suggestions too!
Melissa & Doug
I love, love the wooden toys from Melissa & Doug. We have several puzzles by this company, and they are fantastic! They are great learning tools with bright, non-toxic colors and paint, and they are very durable. I originally bought their clock puzzle for my two year old, but used it to teach time and advanced shapes to my 7-year-olds, as well.
I have always had a special place in my heart for Legos, and it has been a blast being able to build with not only my kids but others as well. If you want to bond with your kids, get a Lego set! Aside from building camaraderie, Legos are great tools for teaching spatial recognition, basic engineering concepts, and math skills. There are so many ways you can use Legos, and they are wonderful for visual learners. It is also hard to outgrow Legos. I used my son’s set the other week to help plan my next landscape project, and my uncle who is an engineer told me he and his team use Legos all the time!
Hooked on Phonics
It worked for me! All kidding aside, Hooked on Phonics is the top program for teaching reading. I bought a kit deeply on sale several years ago for K-1st Grade, and later got another kit for 2nd Grade. I have never found its equal for teaching reading and if you have a dyslexic student, this program is especially great for them since it incorporates visual, auditory, and sensory learning.
*Stay tuned for my short, award-winning ebook about the history of teaching reading in public schools and the role that phonics plays.