Educational toys are the rage nowadays. Most toys have some educational element in them. Besides traditional educational toys, edutainment toys are slowly gaining the lion's share of the toy marketplace. This year, the educational toys which have made the cut include toys like the Hot Wheels Accelerator Laptop, Piano Made Easy, Brain Quest DVD games and many others. Here's a list of the best educational toys of 2007.
The VTech Whiz Kid Learning System is one of the best learning toys of the year for kids between the ages of 3 and 7. There are as many as 120 activities and games included which are sure to keep kids happily engrossed. The touch screen interacts with the stylus for hours of fun and play. The system works with the included activity sheets and an activity cartridge to match. Simply insert a sheet and the system automatically knows the activity associated with that sheet. Lost the sheet? No problem, the included CD enables you to print out another copy of that sheet for future use. Additional cartridges are available. This is simply the most compact and technologically advanced learning system for toddlers that I've encountered in a while.
2. Smart Cycle
The Smart Cycle is a stationary bike meant for preschoolers which plugs directly into your TV's A/V jack. You can use the software title called Learning Adventure which is included or purchase more software separately for use with the Smart Cycle. Learning Adventure has three options: Driving, Learning Arcade Games and The Big Race. In the "Driving" mode, your child can pedal through various environments while picking up interesting tidbits of information along the way. The learning arcade games are actual educational games in which your kids can use the joystick to play and learn about letters, numbers, shapes etc. The "Big Race" option offers the most fun of all - a fast paced race against a friend or other vehicles on the TV screen.
If you are familiar with the Brain Quest cards, then you will know why I chose the Brain Quest series as one of the Top Educational Toys of 2007. The Brain Quest cards, and now the Brain Quest DVD game, are in a class of their own when it comes to educational questions and answers. Which is exactly what the Brain Quest DVD game is all about - questions and answers! There is a series of electronic questions with answer choices, all of which are clearly spoken, which makes it pretty easy for a child to understand and follow along. A very important thing, which is great, is that the game is not about winning or losing, but playing and learning. Informative sessions follow some of the questions which makes it more interesting.
Finally, something refreshingly different! Piano Made Easy (the name is self-explanatory) is brought to us by The Mayron Cole Music Conservatory, Inc. which has spent the last 32 years developing and publishing The Mayron Cole Piano Method that is used by schools and piano teachers all over the country. I compared it to Fisher-Price's I Can Play Piano, and was bowled over by the difference in both the products. Piano Made Easy is so much more professional, well designed and interesting. If you are looking for a tool to teach your children a musical instrument and develop an interest in music, this is the one to go for!
I was hooked the day I tried out the Get Ready to Read Activity System from Zizzle. This great learning tool is based on the Hooked on Phonics concept, and is all about preparing your preschooler to read. The system is electronic (but of course), has an LCD screen, a key pad, a mouse and 3 interactive learning books. There's a slider which helps you to select the page you want to work on. The electronic voice guides you through the various activities. There are lots of interesting activities like identifying alphabets, matching the letters, rhyming, shapes, colors and much more. This system is recommended for kids above the age of 4, but if your child shows an interest in learning activities, you can even try it out at an earlier age.
LeapFrog's Clickstart My First Computer is the latest in TV learning systems designed for kids aged between 3-6. It has a fair sized keyboard with large colorful keys and a mouse attached. Although the mouse has limited functionality, it will definitely be a source of fascination for kids who watch their parents using similar devices in the real world. The activities are adequately designed with not too many frills. There are additional cartridges available when your youngster tires of the included ones. If you're a computer buff and you'd like your kids to get an early start, go for this product. It's a good way to introduce your kids to electronic learning systems.
Oregon Scientific has teamed up with Hot Wheels to bring out the masculine version of a kiddie laptop packed with over 60 bilingual activities consisting of spelling, math, logic, cognitive skills and sequencing. The design of this laptop based on the famous Hot Wheels line of cars is phenomenal to say the least. There are red LCD lights on the panel that light up when your child zips through the numerous activities. When these lights come on, they are designed to look as if they are emitting from auto exhaust pipes. How cool is that!
Peek A Boo Stuff is unique and fresh, and that's what it's appeal is all about. Peek a Boo Stuff reminds me of the I Spy games I used to play with my mom when I was a little girl. If you're wondering what Peek A Boo Stuff is all about, I won't keep you in suspense any longer! It's a little sealed pouch with a transparent window which is filled up with letters and lots of little white beads. The aim of the game, if you can call it that, is to find the letters from A to Z by trying to uncover them from underneath and in between the white beads. Peek A Boo Stuff is a perfect way to keep your toddler busy and to stimulate his/her intellect as well. I loved it, I'm sure you will too.
As far as toys go - the Rubik's Revolution is catchy, fun and engaging. On the flip side, the Rubik's Revolution is almost nothing like the original Rubik's cube. But who cares, right? The Rubik's Revolution has certainly earned it's spot on this list of the Best Educational Toys of 2007. There are 6 games that you can play on the Rubik's Revolution. They are Light Speed, Rapid Recharge, Pattern Panic, Cube Catcher, Code Cracker, and Multiplayer Madness. Put simply, the basic principle of the Rubik's Revolution seems to be how fast you can click the buttons, and in what order. It's pretty challenging, as well as stimulating. Try it out.
What is an Automoblox? Is it just a catchy name, or is there really some substance to the actual product? I soon found out that the Automoblox are a series of very well designed wooden cars which are made up of interlocking pieces. The cars have a sleek modern look to them. Apart from the looks, I loved the feel of these "puzzle" cars. The cars can be taken apart into several pieces which interlock using these special patented connectors. The connectors themselves can be detached, which means that you could probably interlink pieces from other Automoblox cars together. Why did I chose them as one of the Best Educational Toys of 2007? Well, they offer a challenge and stimulate the mind. In short, they are fascinating.