Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post!
Harper and Lincoln are 2-and-a-half years apart in age and at almost 4 and 6, they’re really getting into playing together lately and enjoying the same toys. I noticed that their favorite toys seem to be ones where they build, create, explore and get creative – and I thought about how these toys are amazing for extending the learning they do at school into the home – in a fun, engaging and sensory way!
As the kids head back to school, I thought it would be timely to share our favorite toys that encourage learning at home. I’m partnering with Walmart to share our faves, why we love them and how they encourage learning at home. Walmart has incredible deals on all of the back-to-school items you need, including extended learning toys, games and activities and they offer free shipping on orders over $35!
A classic I remember playing with as child, it’s no surprise that my kids love this dough as well – it’s colorful, nontoxic and can be shaped into anything their imaginations desire. Our kids like to play with play-doh on its own, but we also add several colors to their sensory kits so they can incorporate it into play with other items in the kit. I love that play-doh helps fine motor skills and encourages creativity.
We’ve had our magna doodle for YEARS and it’s a toy both of my kids LOVE (I think we need a second one at this point!) We play a game sometimes like “Pictionary” where we each take turns drawing something as the others guess what the person is drawing. It’s a great way to spend family time together and get the kids engaged in a fun, creative activity that also encourages proper pencil grip. More options here and here.
The kids have had MegaBlocks for years, but LEGO was new to them – we went to the LEGO store at Disney Springs and literally spent an hour there, watching them build with joy and curiosity. We purchased some LEGO for them for Christmas and have since purchased this 725-piece set and a few mats for them to build on and it keeps them busy for quite some time! They like building cities with cupcake shops, restaurants and construction sites. Lego pieces are small, so don’t consider these until your child is out of the putting toys in their mouth phase (there are age recommendations on the packaging as well).
MAGNA-TILESWe LOVE MAGNA-TILES, so much so, that we purchased a second 100-piece set. It was a joint Christmas gift for the kids a couple years ago and they still play with them daily. I like them because they’re great for younger kids (not too small), easy to use and versatile – they make buildings, garages for their cars, stables for horses, the list goes on! I have been incredibly impressed with some of the things they come up with and bring to life – these toys truly encourage imaginative play and problem-solving. I love how they’re using their minds like little architects. This set is a great deal too!
I use a pyrex dish (any lower profile large dish will work) to contain the sand and the kids love playing with it – they add mini cars, construction trucks, dinosaurs, etc. You can also buy kits like this construction truck set. This dinosaur dig kit is super fun and engaging also!
SCIENCE LAB KIT
I love this science kit – it can get a little messy with the water, so I have the kids use it by the kitchen sink. They love to pour the water into different containers and pretend they’re creating all kinds of concoctions.
MATCHING/MEMORY CARD GAMES
Similar to the card games I mentioned above, matching card games are fun to play as a family and encourage memory building skills.
Lincoln is obsessed with Paw Patrol and this set includes 12 full-color phonics readers that will give boys and girls ages 3 to 7 the tools they need to begin reading on their own!
TIC TAC TOE
Harper and I love to play tic-tac-toe together – it teaches kids to strategize their next move and she is a pro now – we even played it on our recent flight to Toronto!
For younger children, I recommend an alphabet puzzle – this one is so colorful and helps children learn their letters and colors!
I hope you enjoyed this post and get some ideas for toys your kids will love that also encourage learning, creativity and fun at home!