Is it ever to early to get children engaged in programing their own computers? Well, before 4 years of age is too young — but 4-year-olds are the whom this Kickstarter project is aimed at.
The Kibo from KinderLab Robotics is “a robot kit that teaches youngsters fundamentals of programming through intuitive, age- and developmentally-appropriate technology” by showing kids how to customize and personalize their own two-wheeled robot base unit.
Kibo engages four- to seven-year-olds in building instruction sets that control the actions of robots by creating programs, or lines of code, through the use of familiar ‘manipulative’ wooden blocks. Each block represents an action for the robot.
It’s based on research at Tufts University. “It’s important that children grow up with the understanding that technology isn’t magic, but is something that they can learn to master, “the researchers behind the project say.
There’s more information here.
Baby drum set
May 14, 2014 by Paul W.
Kids got rhythm: this new learning toy has three drum pads and cymbal, each with its own unique sound, VTech says.
Your child can play along to nine pre-set melodies in styles including rock, dance and pop, and choose from four different sounds for the drums. Each drum illuminates with an LED light.
It’s $18 here.
Noted by Time Magazine as one of the “toys that will make your kids smarter,” Tiggly Shapes develops motor skills, spatial thinking, creativity, and language.
Toddlers toy with tablets, the company says, and “you might think it’s crazy to let a youngster touch such a pricey device,” but Tiggly Shapes encourages it. The four colorful shapes interact with three free iPad apps: Tiggly Draw, Tiggly Safari, and Tiggly Math. The games encourage creative and critical thinking and aid in motor-skill development. They can be experienced in 8 different languages, including English, Spanish, and Chinese (Mandarin).
They’re $30 here.
Your child’s senses will be running wild as they explore and discover ball play, shape sorting, turning gears and more. VTech says its Grow & Discover Tree House has so many fun activities, “your little one will never want to come out from their tree house play tent.” And that’s a good thing, as the toy “provides a variety of activities to stimulate toddlers senses and help develop important motor skills.”
Babies can drop the balls through the holes and watch them roll, sort the shape sorters, or use the fabric to play peek-a-boo or hide and seek. They’ll play hide and seek, and crawl around the tent and play peek-a-boo through the colorful fabric flaps. There are 20 features to develop fine motor skills and learn about numbers, shapes and more.
It’s $63 here.
With the AlphaZoo Spinner, children can “press and spin their way to early reading skills,” LeapFrog says.
Toddlers can listen and learn the names of the letters when in Letter mode, and the names and sounds of animals when in Animal mode, “all while building gross and fine motor skills. Children learn more when they’re having fun,” the company adds.
It’s $20 here.
The “Life in The Amazon” Triple Fun Active Learning Center “offers parents a safe alternative to walkers,” maker Evenflo says.
The center has eleven age-appropriate toys that “help your baby achieve important developmental milestones,” the company adds, “with rock, spin and bounce actions that provide your baby with plenty of exercise to strengthen legs, back and neck muscles” to help develop fine motor skills, object exploration, and tactile development.
It’s good from newborn to 24 months with a 3-position height adjustment that “grows with your baby.” The playmat, “exersaucer,” and activity table are one unit, and fold to “significantly smaller to make travel and storage easy.”
It’s $90 here.
Laugh & Learn Laptop
Apr 15, 2014 by Paul W.
The Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop “makes learning fun,” Fisher-Price says. “Power up a world of learning fun with a baby-appropriate laptop that’s just their size.”
The small device has nine colorful keys that are easy to press, and “bring learning to life on the animated screen so baby can learn numbers, shapes, colors, object names, initial letters and more.” Character comes to life when the lid is flipped open, Fisher-Price adds, and there are sing-along songs, words, sounds and exciting activities, in both English and Spanish.
It’s $20 here.
Learn with a helicopter
Apr 1, 2014 by Paul W.
The Explore and Learn Helicopter combines a favorite toy with introductory learning tools.
There’s a spinning propeller of course, and wheels that roll for take-off. The exit door opens and closes — and releases colorful balls. “Pulling the helicopter and spinning the propeller promote imaginative role-playing,” VTech says. “Press on the piano keys, object buttons, and the puppy to hear fun phrases, piano sounds, and melodies.” It’s $16 here.
“Bath time can be reading time with the Sing and Squeak Bath Book,” Vtech says. “This soft, waterproof book actually floats in the tub.”
There’s also a light-up music button for sing-along songs — and a rubber ducky button for funny, squeaking sounds. Two electronic buttons introduce first words, fun sounds, and music.
The short rhyming songs promote language development, the company says, and the playful sing-along songs encourage parent-child interaction.
It’s $15 here.
The Letter Factory Phonics has 26 singing letters to bring the alphabet to life, LeapFrog says.
It’s based on the award-winning Letter Factory DVD, but doesn’t require a disc player. Instead, “little learners place letter tiles in the “factory” to hear songs that teach the corresponding letter names and sounds,” LeapFrog says.
The learning system has helped more than 7 million children practice phonics in a fun way, the company adds. The tactile play with the individual letter tiles helps reinforce the curriculum.
It’s $20 here.