The fate of the 2020-2021 school year currently hangs in balance as teachers, lawmakers, parents, and students weigh the pros and cons of different educational strategies. Because of this, many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids’ brains in shape—especially younger children.
With school and education on everyone’s minds, we thought we’d put together a quick blog featuring educational games, activities, and toys to keep your kids engaged while they learn. Make learning at home fun!
Educational Books & Activities
My First 100 Engineering Words (Ages 1+)
This is a cool book. Engineering seems like a complex subject for young children, but this book only contains words and some great pictures.
Each page contains a section of engineering (mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, etc.) with 5-10 related words and pictures. Every picture is colorful and cartoonish while still resembling the subject matter.
If you want to introduce your 2-year old to mechatronics, this is the most fun way we’ve seen!
Melissa & Doug Alphabet Activity Pad (Ages 4+)
This big (14”x11”) activity pad is perfect for young children learning their ABC’s. Activities in this pad include coloring letter themed pictures, matching stickers to letters & pictures, and tracing and writing letters.
The large pages come in handy for children who are still honing their writing skills. BIG letters will become small letters with practice!
Highlights Activity Books (Pre-K & Kindergarten)
Highlights magazine has been making learning fun for kids since 1946. They have branched out a bit over the years, including getting into publishing activity books for younger children.
Each activity book has a theme (numbers, colors, shapes, patterns, letters, etc.) with activities designed for preschoolers or kindergartners. With around 50 pages, these activity books have a variety of exercises that will keep your child engaged.
eeBoo Words Cards (Pre-K through 8th Grade)
eeBoo has designed a series of flashcards that will help develop the vocabulary of any child. These ‘Sight Flash Cards’ come in 4 levels (1, 2, 3, & Great Words) that contain cards with longer words as they move up.
Each card features one side with the word on it and a flip side with pronunciation, definition, and an example sentence. Have your child use the word in their own sentence for maximum value!
The ‘Great Words’ pack has some truly tricky words in it! Words like obsequious, palimpsest, and recalcitrant are just some of the words even adults would have trouble with.
Mad Libs (Any age)
What better way to test a new vocabulary than by putting it to the test with Mad Libs? This classic word activity is as fun as ever, especially for kids who have new words they want to test out.
Most Mad Libs activity books have a theme. Some of the new ones include the 90s, Avengers, Frozen 2, and Star Wars. Mad Libs are a great way to get your child to use boring old ‘learning’ in tandem with something they like.
Educational Toys & Games
Melissa & Doug 2-in-1 Talking Ball (Ages 6 months+)
Melissa & Doug’s 2-in-1 Talking Ball has settings that allow it to grow with your child. The ball talks, using words parents can set to reflect several categories (cognitive, physical, and social). Each setting encourages using the ball in different ways to help your child learn.
Eventually, your child will be able to play catch with the ball as the letters or words change in-motion. A versatile tool to help kids start learning from a very young age.
eeBoo Memory & Matching Games (Ages 3+)
eeBoo has created some memory matching games with styles that are all their own! Hand-painted artwork lets kids mix and match things like ice cream trucks, dinosaurs, and candy.
Classic memory match game rules apply; flip over 2 tiles. If they match, go again. If they don’t it’s the next players turn. Whoever has the most tiles when there are none left is the winner!
Bananagrams Party Edition (Ages 10+)
Bananagrams Party Edition is really just “Xtreme Scrabble” in disguise. Build words from other players’ letters, but watch out for letter stealing, word destruction, place swapping, and turn-skipping (among others).
Bananagrams is a no-holds-barred way to teach kids how to think on their feet and get creative with words and letters. A bit of politics may also be learned after the first time your child destroys mom or dad’s word grid!
More Educational Games & Toys In-Store
We have all the products in this article and much more in-store. Check out a ton more games and toys that have educational twists or look at our huge selection of puzzles for a more relaxing problem-solving experience.