It’s Back-to-School Time!

August 26, 2019 | With the long, lazy days of summer coming to an end, getting back into school-mode will be fun for kids thanks to a new crop of educational toys and games that foster STEM/STEAM learning, enhance creativity, sharpen memories, and build strategic thinking skills.

“Toys, games, and play are amazing tools to keep imaginations active and get young brains back in focus after summer vacation,” noted Adrienne Appell, trend specialist at The Toy Association.

The Toy Association recently appeared on Good Morning Washington to talk about some great educational play picks; here are some additional examples of toys that are so engaging, kids won’t even realize they’re learning:

Preschool to Grade 3
Kids in preschool and the younger grades learn mainly through rote and repetition, therefore memory games are an excellent way to exercise a child’s ability to retain information (Texture Memory Game from Edushape is a great one!)

Games that specifically teach young learners about language, spatial properties, or math are also great ways to prep little ones for school, and kindergarteners will benefit from toys that teach building, shapes, colors, and offer many levels of play so that they can move ahead in their learning. (Tactbit cubes snap together, light up, record sounds, roll on wheels and do so much more, offering kids the opportunity to engage in open-ended play as they learn STEAM skills.)

Kids in first, second, and third grade will learn a lot from flash cards that challenge them to build words, or all-in-one educational toys that teach math, science, art, music, reading, and writing.

Science kits are a perennial favorite. Hands-on kits that introduce kids to the exciting world of science as they engage in stimulating experiments are a fantastic – and fun – introduction to science. (Just Add Sugar from Griddly Games inspires artists and scientists to make their own rock candy, sugar cubes, and more!)

Grades 3 to 6
Older kids will benefit from play products that challenge and excite them – from in-depth science experiments to fun-filled ways to expand their knowledge in subjects like history or math. Games targeted to older kids will also feature components that encourage critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving and discovery.

Games that teach children topics like U.S. and world history and geography can engage kids in competitive or cooperative play, teaching them how to lose graciously or work as a team. 

Math games make learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and powers a lot of fun, as do complex science kits that expose children to topics like alternative energy sources, biology, technology, engineering, chemistry, physics, astronomy, earth science, and more. (Air-Walker from Thames & Kosmos is a great example – it literally brings engineering and physics “to life” for kids ages 8 and up.)

These are just a few examples of the types of toys that will help kids get into the swing of things before packing their book bags for the new school year. Looking for more play ideas and information on the benefits of play? Visit