Showing posts with label Time To Play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Time To Play. Show all posts

Saturday, November 24, 2012

5 Educational Toys for Your Holiday Shopping List

Once a year I break away from websites and apps to check out some tangible educational games and toys for your holiday shopping list. I'm not a toy and games expert, but my uncle Christopher Byrne has been working in the toy industry for more than 30 years. Some of you may have seen him on Oprah, the Today Show, and other nationally syndicated shows. So when I want to find out which educational toys and games are popular right now I turn to his company's website, Time to Play. I spent some time exploring Time to Play this morning and found five toys and games that I think kids will enjoy playing with while learning at the same time.

LeapFrog has been popular for years. I just learned that they have a couple of interactive maps that look like fun. They offer interactive maps like LeapFrog Tag Maps: USA which allow children to use the LeapFrog reader to explore the map. They also offer the LeapFrog Tag Solar System Adventure Pack which is an interactive map of the solar system. Learn more about the solar system adventure pack in the video below.

For the children in your life that are just learning to write, Mead offers Letter Stories Dry Erase Flashcards. These flashcards have uppercase and lowercase letters for children to trace.

My family played a lot of board games when we were growing up. In fact, we still play them when we get together during the holidays. (My uncle Chris hates to lose at board games). Two educational board games that look good to me are Wise Alec Family Trivia Game and Flag Frenzy! see Flag Frenzy in action in the video below.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Educational Games & Toys for Your Holiday Lists

The holiday shopping season kicks-off in full force at the end of this week. To help those who will be shopping for children's gifts this year, I recently talked with The Toy Guy, Christopher Byrne about his picks of educational games and toys for the season. Fans of Regis & Kelly, Oprah, or the Today Show may recognize The Toy Guy. While The Toy Guy does love toys and games, he also recommends taking kids on a good old fashioned trip to the public library. The video of our conversation is embedded below.

Make sure you check out Time to Play Magazine for more games and toys reviews.

Here are the toys and games The Toy Guy mentions in the video.
vTech V.Reader Animated E-Book System
LeapFrog Leapster Explorer Learning Game System
Hyper Dash Extreme
Woody's Run Around Round Up Game

This one is not mentioned in the video, but I found it while exploring Time to Play Magazine and thought it had potential to be good. LeapFrog Tag Maps

If you're looking for educational games and toys to add to your classroom, I recommend reading Gary Stager's recent post 'Tis The Season for Technology.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's Time to Play Again - The Toy Guy Part II

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.