November 7, 2013

Toys That Get Kids Imagining!

As a teacher, I'd often get asked about certain 'kid products' and whether or not they had any educational value. Now that I'm also a parent, I am always on the search for a fun toy or gift that will help my children develop healthy bodies and minds. 

I decided to put together a list of toys that encourage kids to learn, grow, and explore the world around them (and boy, did I have fun choosing my top ones!). 

Each week, I will share one of these lists:

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*** Click on the links to see current prices and customer reviews.

1. Play Silks- Kids can dress up as pirates, princesses, or superheroes with these versatile play silks. Throw in some clothespins and rope and create a fort or an explorer's tent. I love how they can be whatever little minds come up with!

2. Road Rug- My little guy has one of these and it has been the source of hours of imaginative play for him. As a die-hard fan of the Cars movie, each of his car must also talk and Lightning McQueen is always the "yine-yeeder" (aka- line leader).
3. KidCraft DollhouseI used to pour over the dollhouse furniture books last year um when I was younger and dream about how I would set up each of the rooms. What I love about this doll house is that it's easy for little hands to move around the larger-sized pieces of furniture. It's also the right size to use with Barbies if that's a phase your daughter ever goes through.

4. Design-Your-Own Superhero Cape KitCustomize your own superhero cape! Choose a name, a logo, and you're on your way to starring in your own comic book adventure. We actually did something similar to this for my son's Halloween costume last year and he was super cute (says his totally unbiased mother). :)

5. Doorway Puppet TheaterYou all know what a fan I am of toys that are simple and easy to store away when not being used. This one fits the bill on both counts! Kids can act out any of their favorite stories with these cute puppets...or they could get creative and make their own out of bags, popsicle sticks, or socks!

6. Reusable Wheels for BoxesHow fun! These reusable wheels are designed to be used on cardboard boxes. They can be used to create cars, wagons, trucks and pretty much anything that goes!

7. Playmobile CastlePlaymobile always delivers a truckload of imaginative play with each of their products and the castle is no exception. I always thought of castles as a boy's version dollhouse (though I certainly dominated some play castles too in my time!).

8. Magnetic Paper DollsThis gift would be a lifesaver in the car! Ashley over at Make It and Love It shows us how to make this cute gift with just a few craft store supplies. If you are looking for an easier approach, check out these magnetic paper dolls from Melissa & Doug.

9. Color and Wash AnimalsThe magic of this toy comes in the fact that after you decorate it, you can just throw it in the wash and it comes out white again! Change the designs and pictures as many times as you want!

10. Wooden Rocket ShipNow this is definitely the boy's version of an amazing dollhouse! Complete with characters and furniture, boys (and girls!) could spend hours imagining different adventures with this set.

Check out the rest of this series for more great toy and gift ideas that are teacher recommended:

Toys That Get Kids Outside!
Toys That Get Kids Moving!
Toys That Get Kids Thinking!
Toys That Get Kids Creating!
Toys That Get Kids Reading!
Toys That Get Kids Imagining!
Toys That Get Kids Exploring!

Many of you are teachers or you have a toy you'd recommend that encourages reading?

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