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21st Dec 2016

The Top Three Educational Toys Parents Are Going Nuts For This Year

Amanda Cassidy

Parents keen to teach through play can rest easy.

The Christmas toy offering of 2016 is off the charts in terms of brain teasing tools for your savvy child.

Mandarin classes are so five years ago. Now, the smart kids are all about coding, building and strategising toys that will both occupy as well as inform.

No pressure whatsoever then.

The choices are endless and the decisions daunting, so we have rounded up the best in the market in terms of educational toys for you.

1. A Coding Caterpillar.

Fisher Price launched this smiling insect earlier this year with huge aplomb and with good reason. Instead of getting your three-year-old to debut their coding career with an Ipad, this little guy has more subtle tactics.

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The Code-A Pillar teaches the basics of coding, like sequencing and programming using sections of the caterpillars body. Each of the segments have different symbols and colours. Your child can put them together, attach them to the caterpillar and get it to move themselves. We trialled this toy earlier in the month and it is a firm favourite in terms of engrossing the children and letting them figure things out on their own.

The focus is on problem solving which is an invaluable skill to learn at such an early age. It is, in a nutshell, sophisticated fun. It is available to buy here for about €60 and suits children from three to eight years old – perfect for sibling sharing. Ha.

2. LeapStart Preschool Interactive Learning System

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This is a very handy preparation kit for children as they begin their journey into their school years. It is an interactive pack full of activity books that help your child with understanding the basics of phonics, writing and critical thinking. By tapping the pages, little fingers can explore with or without adults. This is a wonderful learning tool and suitable for little ones between the ages of two to four years old. This is priced from €52 and is available here.

3. SmartMax Discovery Starter Kit 

It is a very simple concept.

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Build using magnets. The SmartMax Discover sticks and balls allow kids to explore the fascinating world of magnetism in a safe way while teaching about attraction and repelling. They will soon discover the magnets of the longer bars are stronger than the shorter. Starting from as young as one year old, your little one will learn about which make the stronger connections and which can lift more weights. This pack is priced from about €34 and is available here. You can get more advanced packs as your child progresses.

Of course, there is the always the good old abacus. But my little ones are more likely to use them as lethal weapons than actually use them for learning purposes!

We hope these help towards finding perfect tech toy for your tiny human this holiday season.