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Educational toys


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  #1  
July 17th, 2009, 05:35 AM
broxi3781's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: belfast, northern ireland
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Do you think they make a difference? What do you define as an educational toy? Do you buy any toys only for eductaional value? If you were to buy one thing for eductional value, what would it be?
I really liked the book "Raising Boys" By Steve Biddulph, but he amde one comment i thought was totally wrong. He says he was visiting a family whose son was classed as "mentally deficient" and yes I know thats not the correct term now, but at any rate the child was slower then his peers. He comments on the busy mother repeatedly pulling the baby of the family back from the cupboards and there not be a duplo block or other toy in sight, and that he expected without these this child would grow up wiith the same lable as the brother.
Now I'm all for Duplo and blocks and everything, but the child could have had just as much fun exploring with pots and pans, measuring cups, spoons or any number of things that would have been in the kitchen anyway. And of course now, even the good old standbys like blocks and balls have been replaced by everything electronic.
For us, we have blocks and duplo because its fun, not educational. My children are deprived of al those brilliant gadgets to read them stories and have to make do with the old fashioned story reader model - Mom. The only toys I have bought for educational purposes are for home education items, some pc reading programmes, and abacus, etc... Toys for us are just for fun, but all sorts of things that are not toys can be used for great fun too.
So to answer my own questions - No I dont think the specially marketed educational toys will make a child smarter, i would say a parents time playing with rocks and sticks would be better then a bunch of gadgets. To me anything you play with can be educational, play is how children learn, but I buy toys for fun, not education. the one thing I think does the most to help a childs education though is either a good local library or a really good collection of books at home. I buy them because we enjoy them, but I do think having good stories to listen too, and to start reading with helps.
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  #2  
July 17th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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We strive to keep our home free of toys that require nothing other than a finger to operate,that talk to our kid,need batteries,and do not promote open ended play.

I do have a few Montessori Learning type toys but they are for dd to use at her own choosing and you can do lots of things with them. I totally agree that the stories, library time and experiencing life WITH your parents is the best educational path to follow.
Can kids actually learn things from the so called "educational" toys? Without parents ? Maybe, but they certainly won't have the benefit of context to place that knowledge in, and time with automated toys takes time from real play with caregivers which is PROVEN to help children grow and learn.
Real educational toys ARE pots and pans and blocks and Mom and Dad IMO.
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  #3  
July 17th, 2009, 07:08 PM
HS&Fsmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimber View Post
We strive to keep our home free of toys that require nothing other than a finger to operate,that talk to our kid,need batteries,and do not promote open ended play.
I consider almost all toys "educational" in some sense EXCEPT for these types mentioned by Kimber. Anything that flashes and makes noise electronically and purports to teach the kid something usually doesn't and is junk. Hugo has been given several of these robotic type toys and it seems that they have limited options beyond the use with batteries. He prefers his Hot Wheels and garage, balls, puzzles, books, doll/animals and bottle/play food, etc. Heck, he likes sticks out of the backyard more than his talking flashing spinning Winnie the Pooh gadget or vibrating cow (yes, there is such a thing).

I feel the same about "educational" videos/computer games... we don't have those. I just think spending time either talking to or reading to your child is more educational, and free!!
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  #4  
July 19th, 2009, 04:36 PM
broxi3781's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Speaking of this, we have found a great new educational "toy"!
As many of you know, we will be starting home education soon, so i do look for maniplutaives for maths and so on. So - dh was working on Billy's quad bike and Billy getting too impatient to "help" so i set him to organising all the sockets and wrneches by size. he is really enjoying this game now, and as the size difference is fairly small, I think its a great way for him to learn about bigger and smaller.
We actually do have far too many toys though, Hotwheels being the biggest favourite here, along with several garages tracks and so on. But I dont think any toy or gadget is as good as just spending time with the kids, even if it means me sitting in teh front garden playing HotWheels at my age!
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  #5  
July 20th, 2009, 10:12 AM
Ellemphriem's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I am an old fashioned mom also. I have no technology gadgets around my kid. She plays with her blocks and rings and stuffed animals, we sing and read and go for walks and describe everything around, she loves her pots pans and spoons and all her papers to cut to little pieces when she grows older she will have her lego's and her play doh and her colors and paper to draw and all the other traditional thingies that grew me up kwim .......hehehehe.....she hates complicated lighty too muchy things anyway so why bother. She learns more when i sing to her believe you me.
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  #6  
July 24th, 2009, 02:59 PM
KatiesGirls
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broxi3781 View Post
Do you think they make a difference? What do you define as an educational toy? Do you buy any toys only for eductaional value? If you were to buy one thing for eductional value, what would it be?
I really liked the book "Raising Boys" By Steve Biddulph, but he amde one comment i thought was totally wrong. He says he was visiting a family whose son was classed as "mentally deficient" and yes I know thats not the correct term now, but at any rate the child was slower then his peers. He comments on the busy mother repeatedly pulling the baby of the family back from the cupboards and there not be a duplo block or other toy in sight, and that he expected without these this child would grow up wiith the same lable as the brother.
Now I'm all for Duplo and blocks and everything, but the child could have had just as much fun exploring with pots and pans, measuring cups, spoons or any number of things that would have been in the kitchen anyway. And of course now, even the good old standbys like blocks and balls have been replaced by everything electronic.
For us, we have blocks and duplo because its fun, not educational. My children are deprived of al those brilliant gadgets to read them stories and have to make do with the old fashioned story reader model - Mom. The only toys I have bought for educational purposes are for home education items, some pc reading programmes, and abacus, etc... Toys for us are just for fun, but all sorts of things that are not toys can be used for great fun too.
So to answer my own questions - No I dont think the specially marketed educational toys will make a child smarter, i would say a parents time playing with rocks and sticks would be better then a bunch of gadgets. To me anything you play with can be educational, play is how children learn, but I buy toys for fun, not education. the one thing I think does the most to help a childs education though is either a good local library or a really good collection of books at home. I buy them because we enjoy them, but I do think having good stories to listen too, and to start reading with helps.
Completely agree.

I think that the effect that "the man" has had on merchandising all the way down to infants is sick. Throughout the hustle and bustle the world is in to replace any human hand to make a quick buck, we are now left with the task of stripping away these false ideas to come to the truth of how moms, dads, and kids really work.

That said, we have been given 'educational' toys that incoorporate things like abc's, counting, and colors with play but as mentioned above they really aren't of much use unless a parent participates... then at that point you really don't need the toy.

Over all I think that they are alright to have and play with. I only hope that parents don't come to the conclusion that they are in anyway a suitable replacement to real interractive education that their kids can only get from people, not things.

Kind of like the whole notion that's out there of "Why should I nurse? That's what formula is for!"
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