10 Teacher-Approved Toys to Enhance Your Child’s Overall Development

Oh, the joy of seeing our children’s faces light up when they see toys! Learning is truly best absorbed through play, which is why it’s important to carefully choose toys that will not only be fun to play with, but will also encourage creativity and learning. Let this list of teacher-approved toys guide you on what to get your little one, and how you can maximize their learning capabilities.

Baby and Breakfast: Tips and Trends Teachers Recommend Educational Toys

 

1. Foam Blocks/Wooden Blocks/Building Blocks

“Building blocks teach kids to focus, enhances their imagination, develops fine motor skills, and social skills, and can be used in teaching math as well.” – Teacher Ryzah, Reedley International School

“I use foam blocks for both structured and open-ended play time. On some days, we practice building a specific kind of structure; this helps develop their cognitive (following directions and copying a specific model), physical (gripping and stacking), and social-emotional (taking turns, sharing, and teamwork) skills. There are also days when these blocks are used during free play, where the kids are free to use their creativity and imagination.” – Teacher Mika, The Little Apprentice Preschool

“It helps promote focus, can be used in shape sorting, and learning the basic concept of balance and architecture.” – Teacher Eica, Kinderfield Learning Center

 

2. Shape Sorter 

“I usually let my playgroup (1.6-2 years old) and toddler (2 years old) students play with this toy since the concept of shapes can be easily introduced at this age. This toy allows kids to practice hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills through sorting shapes. Different lessons can also be incorporated with this toy such as colors (different colored shapes) and numbers (counting specific shapes).” – Teacher Mika, The Little Apprentice Preschool

 

3. Engineer-A-Coaster Kit

Photo via Lake Shore Learning

“I usually let my 4 year old students play with this toy. They absolutely enjoy building their own coasters by placing the magnetic tracks on the board and letting the disks roll from track to track. The kit also includes challenge cards that the kids can follow to create different kinds of coasters. Through this simple kit, the kids are able to develop their cognitive skills, specifically about size, shape, speed, and trajectory.” – Teacher Mika, The Little Apprentice Preschool

 

4. Lego 

“It can help enhance a child’s imagination. It also develop’s a child’s problem-solving skills since they have to specifically look for a piece they need in order to build their work. Moreover, I think this also helps with focus and improves a child’s persistence.” – Teacher Daphney, Maria Montessori Foundation

 

5. Mr. Potato Head 

“This toy is great for teaching the concept of body parts and its functions. It can also help your child’s fine motor (grasping), sensory, and cognitive skills as they learn about the different body parts.” – Teacher Justine, Kinderfield Learning Center

 

6. Clay or Kinetic Sand 

“Clay helps a child construct different things he sees in his imagination. It enhances fine motor skills, and can also be used as material to teach literacy and numbers to children. In our Montessori school, we use clay to teach geography!” – Teacher Daphney, Maria Montessori Foundation

 

7. Wooden Activity Boards

Photo via Amazon

“These timeless toys are best for babies, especially if they’re at the stage of developing their motor skills. They will learn to manipulate objects, and it can help develop problem-solving, reasoning skills, and hand-eye coordination.” – Teacher Justine, Kinderfield Learning Center

 

8. Balls

“The most versatile of all toys–a throw and catch game can help develop hand-eye coordination, kicking towards a direction helps focus and muscle control, shooting a ball helps develop gross motor skills, and it’s also fun for a pass the ball musical game which promotes interaction with a group.” – Teacher Eica, Kinderfield Learning Center

 

9. Sensory Bags

Photo via Pins Daddy

“It promotes awareness of the importance of the senses in learning. It is a hands-on approach in letting the child discover different things. Since anything can be placed in a sensory bag, kids are able to feel, see, hear, and smell what they are learning.” – Teacher Ezra, Manresa School

 

10. Puzzles

“Critical thinking skills are best promoted when kids are exposed to activities that let them think and learn. Puzzles help kids to sharpen these skills.” – Teacher Ezra, Manresa School

 

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