01 of 08
Best Summer Learning Toys for Kindergarten Students
Summer months provide amazing learning opportunities for children as families and children engage in outdoor play, experience new places on vacation, and attend summer camps. However, the transition into Kindergarten can be a challenging one. While kids are certainly learning concepts just from exposure to the world around them, as parents we may hear a nagging voice in our head that says we should prioritize structured learning opportunities. While summer may not be a time where children learn... new skills to "get ahead," exposure and practice of previously acquired skills keeps knowledge fresh, so children don't forget about all the foundational skills they learned in preschool.
Parents often think pencil and paper coloring books, workbooks and repetitive flashcards are a must-have, but many child perceive these activities as work, quickly refusing to participating.
Here are some of the best summer learning toys for kids entering Kindergarten, that are not only educational, but fun.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Blue Orange Super Genius Collection
The Super Genius Collection from Blue Orange Games, includes picture, word and number matching activity cards that children can progress through, beginning with first words and expanding into reading words (level 1 and 2). There are also sets for older school age children that include addition and multiplication.
The concept is similar to the fun, family game, Spot it!. Large rectangular cards are stored inside a durable cardboard box with a hinged opening. Children look at 2 cards, searching... for the 1 picture that is the same on either card. Once children master this skill, they can then use the word cards to find the word that corresponds to the picture. There is also a reference card included that has the word paired with the picture.
We've had a lot of fun with this game in our home. While my son searches for the pictures, I search through the word cards, looking for the match. Once he finds the correct picture I'll present the word card, and help him identify the initial letter sound in order to locate the match. The reference card also helps improve his confidence, before searching for the word. Words on the cards are in different colors, fonts and cases (uppercase vs. lowercase), which is a great visual spatial challenge.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Pete the Cat Toy
What child doesn't love "rockin' in their school shoes" with the infamous Pete the Cat? Each Hot Dots Jr. set includes 2 laminated, wire-bound books and a special Pete the Cat toy or "stylus." Parents or siblings read the initial question, then children will answer multiple choice questions by placing their stylus on the dot that corresponds with their answer. When a child answers correctly, Pete's eyes on the stylus will light up green. They will simultaneously hear... a rewarding sound. Should they answer incorrectly, Pete's eyes will light up red, and they will hear a different sound.
Children ages 3-4 can begin with the preschool curriculum books, then when they are ready, or between the ages of 5-6, advance to the Kindergarten curriculum books.
Developmentally appropriate concepts are included within the books that provide exposure and practice with skills related to letter recognition, number recognition, basic counting, and looking at a variety of pictures to answer simple "Who, What, and Where" questions.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
For children who prefer tablet and iPad use, they will enjoy exploring letters and their sounds using Tiggly Words. Using colorful vowel toys placed on the surface of the iPad, children are prompted to match letters and create words using these vowels. Tiggly Words is not another annoying reiteration of letter names and sounds. Children will laugh, giggle and learn about many of the prerequisite skills that make learning to read easier, without even realizing they are partaking in a... learning activity.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
The LeapFrog LeapReader is great for summer learning fun. The toy is an intuitive talking stylus that is able to engage children by reading special LeapReader books. The device is also able to play downloaded music and engage kids in trivia games.
When used in conjunction with LeapReader books, depending upon a child's reading ability, the LeapReader is capable of reading an entire book out loud. It can also help children by reading single words or assist them with sounding out individual... words. By touching the stylus to a certain icon on the page, kids can also engage in games that ask questions that promote reading comprehension.
The device does require a connection to a computer through a mini-USB connection in order to download content and to charge the battery. There is a headphone jack located on the device, which also makes it a nice, quiet learning activity for busy households or for kids who still require rest time.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
VTech Lil' Speller Phonics Station
The concept of phonics, or sounding out letters and words can be a challenge for kids. Many children learn through trial and error, cause and effect exploration and lots of repetition. Phonics toys like the VTech Lil' Speller Phonics Station promote letter sounds and encourage children to form 3 letter words.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
On-The-Go Fun for Kids Activities Book by Amanda Morin
Let's face it, summer really should be about exploring, vacations and experiences. Amanda Morin's book, On-the-Go Fun for Kids is a great resource for families with busy, adventurous lifestyles.
Purchase a book to keep in the console of your vehicle, so when you find yourself stuck in traffic, needing entertainment on a impromptu family road trip, or waiting in long lines at appointments, there are hundreds of inspiring learning activities in the book that don't require props. The... book also contains dozens of fun, educational app recommendations that can be downloaded to a smartphone.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
LeapTV is an educational video game system for preschool and Kindergarten aged children that's a great indoor summer learning activity. Using popular characters from Disney and Nickelodeon, children engage in whole body movement activities to answer questions related to phonics, science, and mathematics. No perception of tough work here, as most kids think they are playing video games, but as parents we sit back and watch the learning happen.