COMMENTARY: Keeping Kids’ Brains Active During the Summer

Now the school year is drawing to an end, parents surely want to keep their little ones mentally active during the summer months. There’s a whole slew of toys out there that are fun and educational, of course, so the trick is to really find the ones that work for you and your kids. However, we’ve got a bunch of toys in our office that’ll help kids of all ages flex those mental muscles, even when they aren’t sitting in a classroom.

Hello SunshineThinkFun‘s Hello Sunshine is a hide-and-seek game that uses a huggable plush toy. Parents of kids ages 18 months and up hid Sunshine according to a set of flash cards. In searching for the toy, kids will learn positional concepts such as in, on top, below, next to, and more. It’s also the perfect game for a rainy summer day that has to be spent inside.

adventurer_explorer_w_ipad_hrKids are always reaching to play games with iDevices, so why not have them learn while they do it? The iLearn ‘N Play Adventure Explorer from AppStart Learning allows kids ages 3 and up to connect an iDevice to the console, turn on the ignition key, and drive into a learning adventure. The Adventure Explorer comes with a free Letter Explorer app, which teaches kids about letters and phonics. In this app, children are encouraged to collect and recognize letters and spell words.

littlebits_starter_kit_openOne of my favorite educational toys is the littleBits Starter Kit from littleBits Electronics. This kit allows kids ages 8 and up to learn about creating circuits. The electronic modules snap together magnetically to build interactive circuits. Each bit has a function, such as light, sound, or pulse. The kit includes 10 bits, a 9-volt battery, and instructions on how to create different circuits.

For more commentary from Ali, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!