# Learning Aids

## THE POCKET CALCULATOR

• Aids in visual cognition
• Refines logic skills
• Helps enhance technical knowledge
• “fact check” accuracy for mental validation

Pocket calculators are a great tool that assist children in school every day. Unlike cellphones or computer calculators, a pocket calculator will not distract children from school work. An advantage of the pocket calculator is the design simplicity – there are no additional applications on the device. A calculator is largely used with the intention to be a shortcut to mathematical procedures such as multiplication or division. However, children who are learning these concepts should do most of their work mentally or by paper, so they can properly learn and practice. In these instances, calculators should be used primarily only as an assurance that mental calculations are correct.

The calculator also serves as a helpful visual aid  when learning difficult equations. They can be used as tools to explain abstract concepts or long calculations. A child will have a better understanding of this information by physically punching in these calculations, rather than if he or she were to do it by hand. This hands-on style of learning is more effective than visual aids because it requires physical practice and engagement. While calculators do not replace knowing basic equations, they are great for teaching children how to learn and apply certain concepts that will arise in real-life situations, such as calculating percentages.

Studies have shown that when children use calculators, things like spatial visualization skills, critical thinking ability, and logic skills will all improve. A child that is proficient in basic math can then apply this knowledge to the calculator to help solve more complicated problems. In subjects such as Algebra and Calculus, children benefit from these types of calculators, as the focus in these subjects is on the formulas, rather than the number calculation. This simple device is a very valuable education tool that streamlines the process when learning to advance through more complicated math concepts.

## SPIN AND LEARN COLOR FLASHLIGHT

• Motor skills
• Learning numbers and colors
• Imagination

Children at an early age are very receptive to sounds and colors. Incorporating these things into learning tools are a great way to take that curiosity and focus it on learning. The types of toys we give children to play with can have profound influence on the way that they learn skills. Many types of toys for young children can be used as a way to jump start education.  One good example of these educational toys is the Spin and Learn Color Flashlight. Toddlers will have fun listening to music and animal sounds while interacting with the lights and colors of the flashlight. Numbers, colors, and animals are repeated through different games on the Spin and Learn Color Flashlight. The repetitive nature of the themes and activities helps children learn numbers and colors in a fun and engaging way. Toys using sound and lights to stimulate learning through the senses are likely to be the ones found most appealing to toddlers and young children.

The flashlight has different buttons and switches with different activities that will provoke curiosity. Playing with this toy enhances motor skills through different types of touch for every learning activity. The toy has a special button in the shape of a ladybug, which when pushed, also encourages movement as well. The buttons are designed to do different things depending on how many times or how hard they are pushed. For example, number buttons on the flashlight have two functions. One press will activate the numbers and two times will play music. Children who play with this will start to learn these push patterns and learn how to remember which features to activate.

The functions of the Spin and Learn Color Flashlight encourage toddlers to use their imagination. Versatile toys with multiple features and options such as this flashlight are great for encouraging imagination and creativity. Toddlers and young children will enjoy hours playing with these types of toys that cultivate knowledge and help shape and exercise their developing senses.

## Spy Alley

• Develop logic and reasoning skills
• Memory formation and problem solving
• Practice interpersonal skills

There are many types of board games that serve educational purpose. Educators and parents add these games to their lessons or at playtime to help children practice cognitive skills such as reasoning and logical thinking. Playing to develop logical and reasoning skills is a way to keep children invested in learning. Spy Alley is one of these board games that makes learning fun by taking different elements of other types of games and combining them into one. Like many other similar board games, Spy Alley is rolling dice move game however it has guessing feature and a money component. Helping children to exercise their logic thinking skills by deducting the other players spy identities before they collect all their items. Basing their reasoning off the players purchases.

Another benefit of board games such as Spy Alley and similar games is that it puts into practice problem solving skills. Players have to be careful in disguising their spy identities when they purchase items off the board. Creating strategies as bluffing tactics or using mystery cards. Analyzing the items other players buy as tale signs of their spy identities to win the game. Also, it is good way to exercise the mind. Thinking about their and other players moves also helps to build memory retention. Stacking up the clues, players have to memorize their identity cards making sure to guess right so they don’t get eliminated. A child is using their minds to remember, decipher, create strategies, and manage their spending while playing which skills will be later be handy to have for real life situations.

Board games may seem like an unconventional learning tool, but it is a compelling way to develop and grow. Teaching children life lessons that go beyond the lesson plan. Children exercise interpersonal skills by learning to read facial expressions. Requiring players to use their observational and communication skills the game. Board games offer opportunities to build up their social skills. Children not only learn to bluff but also how to work together and wait for their turns. Spy Alley and similar games are a fun way to put these skills into practice. Being mischievous and doing some friendly banter it is a good way to exercise the mind without the pressures or stress of homework. Spy Alley and other board games alike are fun activity to bring everyone together for friendly competition and having a good time.

## APPLES TO APPLES CARD GAME

• Improves logic skills
• Increases memory cognition
• Refine social skills in a group environment
• Improves creativity

Card games are a great way to help us connect with family and friends and opens the door to countless hours of entertainment. Aside from being used as a fun way to socialize and pass the time, there are other benefits to playing cards worth keeping in mind. Games like Apples to Apples are an immersive way to help players improve cognition by practicing skills like logic and memory retention. They also offer a way for children to develop healthy social skills. Social interaction is a huge advantage that classic card games have over more technology-based activities that have recently become so popular.

When playing Apples to Apples, players are dealt seven red cards that each have a noun on it. Every round, a green card will be drawn that lists some sort of characteristic. Players will choose which card from their hand they think most closely relates to the green card. The chosen cards are given anonymously to the judge, who determines the round winner. Players rotate into the role of the judge with each round. Choosing which card to lay down each round is a practice in logic and critical-thinking. A unique aspect of the game is how winners are determined — since the role of the judge changes every round and he or she chooses a winner subjectively, knowing your audience is an important component. Players who use observation and memory skills to recognize patterns will have an advantage in predicting which card a judge might choose. This also encourages players to think outside the box and get creative when choosing cards.

Apples to Apples is great to play in just about any social setting. The nature of the game makes it an especially good breaker when making new friends or getting to know peers and classmates. Learning effective communication and building social bonds is essential for children in order to develop confidence and skills that can be applied in many aspects of life, from school to future employment and beyond.

## THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING WITH MARBLE RUN

• Promotes engineering and building
• Enhances creativity
• Engages problem solving
• Develops cognitive abilities

As children grow, it is important to be able to teach life skills and encourage mental development in a fashion that is both effective, but also fun. If your child is not engaged in what they are doing, then their attention will roam, and they will miss out on the benefits you are trying to give them.

Games like Marble Run give children the ability to construct, create and play with countless tracks and pieces that stimulate their need for a creative outlet alongside the ability to problem solve.  The sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities with games like this. Being able to create new structures that will guide each marble on its path is both fun to do in the moment, as well as imparts a feeling of satisfaction in the physical building of something new.  Each piece placement is a new decision that gently challenges the child to follow a sequence of events, and it is up to the builder to decide what pieces work best together to create their vision and which ones get in the way. All these attributes create a great way to teach problem solving while having fun. When one-piece doesn’t match well with another, it puts the child into a situation where they must engage their cognitive abilities to formulate a solution to getting them to their goal.  The more something like Marble Run is played, the more it engages their memory about what worked last time, helping guide their decisions and creativity about how the sequence should go next.

A great creative outlet, building piece by piece a structure that guides a parade of marbles is also a magnificent way to introduce your child into various motor skills that can teach basic engineering concepts and cognitive skills in a subtle but efficient way.  Anticipating how to use gravity      to your advantage, each marble slides down connecting paths that      eventually lead to success as the marble makes its way to the finish line.  Since each pathway the child adds to the structure follows the laws of gravity, it allows children to begin to instinctively anticipate situations where they have to adapt to avoid the marbles getting stuck in one sole place before reaching the goal.  Helping children organically build mental and physical skills is obviously a goal of all parents.  Being able to do it while providing countless hours of fun is a great way to keep toddlers mentally active while having fun.

## Chickapig

• Develop critical thinking
• Exercise strategic thinking
• Stress relief
• Build social skills

Friday nights, weekday afternoons, or Saturday mornings, board games bring fun to every occasion. Even better, board games just like brain teasers are a great way to exercise the mind. With an educational value, board games are a great way for children to develop and practice their cognitive skills. Games such as Chickapig are interesting and fun for adults and children to want play and are designed to keep the mind active while playing. Having a similar concept to the classic game of chest, the goal of Chickapig and similar games is to have your pieces across the other side of the board before the other players facing many challenges along the way. Parents and educators use these types of games to boost a child’s critical thinking skills to later apply in class. Everyone playing is engaging their critical thinking skills competing one with another.

Chickapig and similar strategy board games have many components to the game. In Chickapig, each player has six chicken pig hybrid pieces. There are four colors of chickapig to choose from. The game also has four hay bales per color, a cow piece and eight poop pieces. Just like chess, each piece serves a different purpose and moves differently. Plus, there is die roll and two types of card decks. With many components to the strategy board games, it helps children practice strategic thinking by creating offensive and defensive plays in order to win the game. Strategy games set perfect scenarios to practice planning and decision-making skills. Keeping in mind that they have to move all their pieces to their goals, the players face each other and test their skills. Learning how to use the board and their pieces to their advantage.

Moreover, board games create an atmosphere for socializing. Integrating friendly banter and chitchat to the experience board games such Chickapig are fun way to relax and have a few laughs. It helps relief some of the stress and worries of the day. Assisting children in creating spaces for communication Chilckapig and similar strategy game help the players build up their social skills. Players can team up to defeat the players that face the opposite of the board. Practicing teamwork, a child learns how to interact in group settings. Children get exposed to different group exercises that can be applied to real life situations. Chickapig and other board games alike help break from the routine and let loose. Making the most fun out of strategies revolving cow poop.

## THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING MAGNA TILES

• Promotes critical thinking
• Imaginative play
• Engages problem solving
• Develops cognitive abilities
• Pattern distinguishing

As children develop their ability to create, play, and imagine, it is important to nurture those qualities in a fun and scholastic way. Engaging your toddler with toys that encourage them to think, solve and construct their ideas into reality is an effective method to accomplish this while embracing a fun and healthy environment.  Being able to take control and make decisions based on what the child’s imagination wants to create is just the start to what can be an efficient way to build cognitive abilities.

Magna Tiles give children the chance to imagine, plan, create, and express themselves in a creative and educational way.  At its most basic level, each tile connects to each other, forming a pattern or a shape, but it is important to distinguish what benefits it provides as well.  When playing with a toy such as Magna Tiles, a toddler’s imagination increases and opens the door to the many combinations of shapes and sizes they can form.  For each design that pops into their mind, there is a pattern of tiles that can make that a reality.  Alongside this, they get a taste of problem solving whenever they have to think through which tile to use to get them to their desired creation.  This promotes critical abilities of logicing through problems, aiding in cognitive improvement and the practice of essential motor skills.

Being creative is not only fun, but it inspires toddlers to concentrate on an idea and to establish hand eye coordination through play.  Critical thinking with imaginative play is a great way to improve skills for further use at school and life in general.  It gives children the chance to independently make decisions that can lead to confidence building and healthy social skills.  Being able to provide children fun and efficient ways to learn and grow is always a parent’s goal and Magna Tiles is a great fun option to help them achieve it.

## UNITED STATES INTERACTIVE MAP

• Developing map reading and spatial thinking skills
• Engaged in Social Studies
• Improve learning process

Maps are a valuable learning tool. A good way to make Social Studies fun and interactive is by letting children play with interactive maps. Studies have found that children are more engaged while learning about history and geography through interactive map than with normal textbooks since lesson requires participation from the student. Furthermore, interactive maps can be used anywhere, and they are a great source of entertainment. For example, the Learn and Climb’s United State Interactive Map is one of many interactive map toys that use sounds and buttons to get a child’s attention while giving history facts. Interactive maps test a child’s knowledge on different subjects by giving questions that require the children to work with the maps. It is a visual aid for educators and parents to give context to history books. It lets the child explore and be interested in Social Studies.

Map reading and spatial thinking skills are developed while working with interactive maps such as the Learn and Climb’s United State Interactive Map. There many activities educators and parents can do with these interactive maps such as find the state or name the capitals of each state. Children benefit from these hand-on activities recognizing geography and learning topography and history facts. A child exercises their spatial thinking making connections between the location with the information the interactive map narrates. They get to trace routes and make their own adventures as they explore every city, state, or country. With the Learn and Climb’s United State Interactive Map and similar maps, children learn more than 700 facts about state size, population, fun facts and so much more.

Another benefit to interactive maps is thar children are entertained with interactive maps allowing improvement in the learning process. The lessons become more enjoyable. With interactive maps a child is able to use thar imagination to visualize history facts. Helping them to memorize better history dates and figures as well as do better in geography education. Children get to be part of the lesson by finding, comparing, and explaining the geography of the maps. Overall improving their knowledge in Social Studies. A child can initiate the play with interactive maps toys at any time and learn a little more each time. Plus is fun to play with maps!

## LEGOS

• Creativity
• Problem solving
• Teamwork

It is safe to say that Legos have become a cherished part of most people’s childhoods. Beyond being fun to play with, there is a reason behind finding Legos at day-care centers and schools everywhere. It is widely agreed that having visual and tactile aids helps children have a better understanding and learning curve in general. For teachers and parents, Legos and other types of building blocks are very flexible in that they can be used to teach children both inside the classroom as well as playing at home. They have been at the forefront for developmental education for many years. Legos and other types of building blocks ignite the imagination of children to find the solutions through creating structures and new fun worlds.

Legos play can be applied to a wide variety of different subjects such as math, science, grammar, and history. The toy benefits every subject, bringing the lessons from the textbook to the real world. Educators recommend using this type of toys in STEM programs. In math, the Legos can be a fun way to teach adding and subtracting, fractions, geometry, etc. In science, Legos can be used as models for engineering and experiments. In grammar, the different color of the blocks can be useful for children to identify the structure of a sentence’s subject, verb, and predicate. In history lessons, the Legos can be used to reenact important scenes, helping children visualize and engage their imagination on the subject which helps in memory retention. The important thing is to keep your child engaged in the subject with hand-on teaching methods.

Legos are great for team building exercises for kids at an early level. With guided supervision, children can work on a project together. They develop communication skills as they talk amongst each other to come up with ideas to create the final product. Legos reinforce the skills of sharing and communicating with other children or adults, which will help the child when they go to school and start doing group projects and engaging more socially. It further develops their communication and social skills.

Children’s imagination can flourish playing with Legos, or other quality building blocks. The mental skills used to first create the ideas in the mind, deciding where to place the blocks to make their vision real, and how to solve any challenge they encounter while doing it, are some of the skills a child develops while playing with Legos. It stimulates their senses and motor skills as they are envisioning their goal and manipulating the blocks in the real-world building process. This kind of activity is extremely beneficial for children’s learning potential as it’s been proven many times that working with your hands helps acquire and cement cognitive knowledge in an actively learning environment.

## Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus

• Attention and listening skills
• Learn about instruments and math
• Promotes creativity
• Develops motor skills

Listening to music or playing an instrument from early age is great for developing a child’s cognitive and motor skills. Toys such as Fisher-Price Think and Learn Rocktopus are great introduction for the music world for toddlers. With 15 instrument sounds, children learn different styles sounds and types of music. Learning the basic of rhythm and tempo. Playing music to stimulate their minds.

Think and Learn Rocktopus has three setting for play: math, music and game. Children learn to distinguish the different sounds an instrument makes and at the same time acquire a foundation in basic math. While playing with different rhythm patterns, they learn simple addition and subtraction and how to count. It is a fun way for children to develop both left side and right side of their brain simultaneously in an engaging musical game.

Children get to be creative when they play with instrumental toys and games benefiting their creativity. Playing instrument lets children produce their own arrangements and explore with sound. Toys such as Think and Learn Rocktopus are great way for incite toddler’s curiosity for music. With simple settings, the Rocktopus is easy to make sounds with a push of a button. The sounds are enjoyable, and the child can play with different styles of music. This also boost their confidence and helps build their own identity. Moreover, a child can self-express their emotions which is great aid for communication. Encouraging their well-being, children can have express how they are feeling and make it something productive and fun in the process.

Furthermore, musical toys and games develops a child’s fine and gross motor skills. Musical games and instrumental toys such as Think and Learn Rocktopus are fun way to keep their hands busy for hours. They are great for developing hand-eye coordination and dexterity by playing continuously. Pushing the buttons and moving around the instrumental pods to create music, children get to exercise both their mind and body.

Finally, the Rocktopus and other similar toys foster listening skills. A child’s ear becomes more tuned to musical sounds helping them to learn to recognize patterns and pay attention. Which is helpful for when they are in school, the child has the skill set to be focused and alert in class as well as they can better attain information in class. Think and Learn Rocktopus and musical toys alike are a great addition to playtime or class. Children get to be themselves and play while learning.