Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had.

Play-Based Learning Toy Ideas & More

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If you’ve followed my blog closely then you know I’m a massive proponent of play-based learning. The reason is that play is arguably the best way for young children to learn. Not only do they learn social skills and how to problem-solve, they also use more complex vocabulary, test out early numeracy (math), demonstrate skills needed for early literacy (symbolic thought, fine motor skill practice, reading signs and symbols), and so much more.

The benefits of play-based learning vast, and so are the ways a parent can help develop facilitate it in the home. What is accessible to children plays a big role in learning through play. Important elements creating an environment of play-based learning in the home include the structure of children’s day, the amount of time they spend on a tablet or watching TV, the parents’ role, and the types of toys they have.

When trying to get the most out of your child’s play, having play-based learning toy ideas is key. But before I get into that, here are some toys and strategies to avoid.

 

Bad Toys and Best Strategies for Promoting Play-Based Learning

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Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had. Holidays, gift guide, Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, presents, presents for kids

  • Anything that requires batteries or buttons to get its play-value is not a good toy. While brands such as LeapFrog and Vtech have educational content programmed into their toys, these toys aren’t great for early childhood learning.

Often these toys are marketed as “developmental” because the toy has so many different functions. Unfortunately, this often has the opposite effect for the child. The more a toy does, the less your child has to do. If your child can sit and watch the toy “perform,” then it is likely more entertaining than educational… In short, the most useful toys are those that require the most action on the part of a young child. The more children have to use their minds and bodies to make something work, the more they learn.Zero to Three

  • Over-scheduling their day takes away from the richness of their childhood. When children have the ability to explore and discover at their own pace, the magic of play-based learning really comes to life. As such, they need copious amounts of free time to play. Having friends over or setting up invitations to play are great. Having too many scheduled activities and lessons is not.
  • When building on their play, take their lead.  It is great to invite friends over for a play-date or set up invitations to play at home. In either situation, the parent’s best course of action is to take a backseat. When joining in their play, ask the questions in the context of what they’re doing and what they learning. If they’re working on numeracy you can ask remove, say two Shopkins and ask how many are left. If they’re playing store, you can ask for a certain amount of money in exchange for an item. There are countless ways to learn through play.
  • Turn off the TV and tablet any chance you get. The less screen time the better. Read more from WebMD here.

Best Play-Based Learning Toy Ideas: STEM

Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had.

For those unfamiliar with the term, STEM refers to Science Technology Engineering and Math Learning. Why is STEM learning so darn cool? Well, it promotes innovation, creativity, hypothesis testing and exploration. It has also been found that, in grouping the four together, STEM bridges the gender gap in traditionally more male-oriented learning. Read more here.

Here are some incredible STEM play-based learning toy ideas.

 

Thames & Kosmos Amusement Park Engineer (pictured)

Magformers Walking Robot Set (pictured)

Goldie Box Invention Mansion (pictured in image at the very top of the post)

Magformers 30-Piece Set

Hot Ice Crystals

Glow in the Dark Sand’s Alive

Learning Resources Pretend and Play Cash Register (picture)

LEGO Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster (pictured)

 

Best Play-Based Learning Toy Ideas: Pretend Play

Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had.

Pretend play is really limitless in terms of its benefits. It is so open-ended and as a result is so rich. Some of the many benefits of pretend play include more complex language use, increased problem-solving skills, better social and emotional understanding, and a stronger imagination. The last one is crucial for early literacy because children start to understand symbolic thought as well as other important elements. To read more, click here.

Here are some gorgeous pretend play-based learning toys.

 

Melissa and Doug Scoop and Serve Ice Cream Counter (pictured)

KidKraft Disney Princess Cinderella Castle (pictured)

Melissa and Doug Simply Crafty Super Hero Masks

Theo Klein Police Case

Melissa and Doug Pizza Set

Theo Bosh Toy Tool Belt Set

Melissa & Doug Doctor Dress Up (pictured)

KidKraft Enchanted Belle Castle

Melissa and Doug Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop

Learning Resources Pretend Play & Play Fishing Set (pictured)

Looking for some great play-based learning toy ideas for #Christmas? Check this out. Click To Tweet

 

Best Play-Based Learning Toy Ideas: Fine Motor Skills

Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had.

If you follow my Instagram closely, you will notice I set up activities and encourage my kids to use their fine motor skills a lot. The truth is, fine-motor skills do not come easily to most early learners – my daughter especially. Because fine motor skills are requisites for printing, colouring, cutting, and so much more, I have included toys below that help with hand-eye coordination, writing, and pincer grip.

Here are some of my favourite toys to promote fine motor skills.

 

Melissa and Doug Wooden Double-Sided Tabletop (pictured)

Crayola Wonder Mess Free 2 in 1 Tote

Playmobil NHL Arena (pictured)

Shopkins (pictured)

Melissa and Doug Simply Crafty Marvelous Masks (pictured)

Melissa and Doug Simply Crafty Super Hero Masks

 

Best Play-Based Learning Toy & Book Ideas: Language Development & Literacy

Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had.

In this section, you’ll find toys that promote language development and literacy. I love kids books, so I could’ve made this list a mile long. Reading to your children helps increase the vocabulary, their understanding of the world, their empathy, letter recognition and so much more. For more benefits, click here.

Here are some of my favourite toys and books to promote language development and literacy.

 

Melissa and Doug Wooden Double-Sided Tabletop (pictured)

Mix it Up (pictured)

Press Here Game (pictured)

52 Wooden Alphabet Letters (pictured)

Melissa and Doug Alphabet Puzzle (pictured)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Game (pictured)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late

 

Best Play-Based Learning Toy Ideas: Gross Motor Skills

Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had.

To be active, fit, and burn off energy, we need well-developed gross motor skills. On top of this, there are also innumerable benefits to promoting their development in kids. The development of gross motor skills helps to increase body awareness, sensory processing, muscular strength and endurance, as well as balance, coordination, and so much more. Read more here.

Here are some of the best toys I can recommend for improving gross motor skills.

 

Joovy Balance Bike (pictured)

Plasmacar (pictured)

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Net

Little Tikes Easy Hit Golf Set (pictured)

Paddle Tether Ball (pictured)

Radio Flyer Pro Glider 3-Wheeled Scooter

I hope you and yours enjoy these toys as much as I did researching them!

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Toys can build or break on the magic of play-based learning. Click here to find the best play-based learning toy ideas. Find STEM toys, toys to promote pretend play, literacy, gross motor and fine motor skills. There is so much learning through play to be had.
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13 thoughts on “Play-Based Learning Toy Ideas & More

  1. I could not agree with this more! I hate it how so many toys these days all have batteries! It leaves no imagination to the child anymore. I don’t know how often I’ll just take the battery out of a toy, because not all toys need batteries! Does a doll really need to talk? Does your playhouse need to talk for them? I completely agree with you that the less noise the toy makes the better it is! Then they learn to really play and use their imagination instead of the toy doing it for them! The toy list that I have for Christmas is centered around toys that use their imagination as well.

  2. I totally agree about over scheduling kids! Too many lessons and sports takes away from kids learning how to amuse themselves, shortens their attention span, and I’m absolutely sure limits their creativity and development!

    1. Yes! Suffice it to say, the moment I saw it existed, I knew I what I was getting my kids for Christmas. We LOVE Mo Willems and that crazy, outspoken pigeon too!.

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