Every early childhood educator knows how crucial children’s first experiences are in the classroom. They are the building blocks that lay a solid foundation for critical thinking, sensory exploration and social skills that will shape a child and prepare him/her for a lifetime. In addition to being exposed to new cognitive concepts such as recognizing letters, numbers and shapes, children develop other skills such as lengthening their attention span and self-discovery through play. The following are recommended toys, games and materials that teachers can use to maximize their student’s growth and development, all while having fun!
10. Magna-Tiles Translucent Colors
These magnetic tiles teach spatial relationships, math, logic, and problem-solving through creative building! The tiles attract on all sides and in all combinations, helping children move from two-dimensional to three-dimensional creations.
9. Melissa & Doug Shape Sequence Sorting Set
Recognizing color, shape and size, and sorting objects into groups are the “building blocks” of beginning math skills. What better way to explore these important concepts than with boldly colored wooden blocks and frame. Extension activities are included to explore form, fun and function all in one toy.
8. Guidecraft Sensory Stepping Stones
The Sensory Stepping Stones from Guidecraft offer a great way for children to hone their sensory identification skills. Just close your eyes and feel the tactile patterns below your feet. Ask kids to identify the textures and patterns on each stepping stone. This set of 6 stones makes for a fun sensory perception game and great way to enhance balance and other motor skills.
7. Nickelodeon Floam
Nickelodeon Floam is the incredible, reusable molding compound that will keep your kids creating for hours on end! Mold your own creations or transform almost anything into a Floam-covered masterpiece. Roll it, mold it, cover it That’s the way you Floam it! After you’re done, squish Floam back into the container and use it again and again or let your creation harden overnight and keep it forever!
6. Educational Insights Shapes Bean Bags
It’s time to “shape up” with these toss-and-learn beanbags. Each bean bag is a different color and shape—circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, pentagon, hexagon, and star—and is beautifully embroidered with its name. Bean bags are approximately 4” to 5” in size—just perfect for small hands—and come in a handy cloth drawstring bag. Includes a “Tip Sheet” packed with fun activities that make learning shapes an exciting visual and kinesthetic experience.
5. Transparent Marble Run
This wonderful marble run has transparent pieces which allow children to visually track the entire course of their marble. This set includes 48 transparent pieces plus 16 marbles. The Marble Run stimulates creativity and reasoning, both which are required to build impressive-looking structures with the correct angles of inclination.
4. Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Clock
Time to Block around the clock! Combines shape sorting and learning to tell time; it’s two toys in one! Place the colorful numbered shape pieces in their proper places on the face of the soundly-built clock; and move the hour and minute hands to make learning time fun.
3. Playchest Games Go Fish
Do you have a red card? Go fish! In this memory matching game, kids fish for colorful cards with a plastic pole. The suction cup worm at the end of the line helps reel in the catch to see if it’s a match. (Watch out for the old shoe!) This game for two to four players includes four boats and 35 fish playing cards. Younger kids can match colors; older kids can match numbers. Kids boost memory, coordination, color and number recognition while they play.
2. UNO MOO Preschool Game
The farm animals have come out of their barn to play UNO! An exciting new game for preschoolers, UNO Moo! offers a stress-free, fun way for children to gain confidence in their matching skills. Parents will appreciate the Play-and-Store barn accessory, which makes clean-up quick and easy. Remember to shout the magic words when only one animal in a player’s stable remains….UNO Mooooooo! Fast fun for everyone.
1. Scratch Art Magic Rainbow Black
It’s simply magic. Make cool, colorful pictures, greeting cards, notes and more. Rainbow Black Multicolor Board sets your creativity free. Simply draw your masterpiece by scratching on the black coated board and watch spectacular colors magically appear. Amaze your friends with the dazzling display. Rainbow Black is completely safe and 100% fun. This kit includes 4 sheets of Rainbow Black Board, 1 Wood Drawing Stylus, 1 Stencil with more than 30 amazing shapes and instructions for hours of fun.