On Monday, I posted part of my interview with The Toy Guy, Christopher Byrne. In that interview Chris and I talked about the importance of play and the role of educational toys in the learning process. Chris emphasized two categories of toys that he says are important for learning; reading/ literacy toys and creativity toys. When talking about toys that promote literacy Chris emphasized that as fun as toys can be, they do not take the place of parents reading to their children.
The second half of the conversation I had with Chris revolved around the notion that kids learn best when they can control the learning experience. As Chris said, "when kids can control the learning, they stay engaged." On that note The Toy Guy recommends a couple of toys that give kids creative control of learning. Chris gives his endorsement to "anything from Crayola, from the basic crayons on up." On Crayola item in particular that those interested in buying educational toys should check out is the Crayola TaDoodles Scribble and Sing Art Station. Another toy company that The Toy Guy says produces toys with educational value is Mega Toys. Mega Toys produces the Easy Writer drawing board.
That wraps the conversation that I had with The Toy Guy about educational toys for this holiday season. Chris did tell me about an educational organization called America Scores for which he serves on the board of director. It is a great program that combines soccer and poetry in a fun after-school environment.
No post on Free Technology for Teachers is complete without the mention of something that is available for free. Therefore, I must remind you that Time To Play Magazine holds a daily drawing for free toys which you can enter here.
Disclaimer: In addition to being a recognized expert in the toy industry The Toy Guy, Christopher Byrne, is my uncle.