Fun for Growing Minds: Educational Toys for Infants and Preschoolers
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July 2003 | Vol. II - No. 7

July 2003 | Vol. II - No. 7 TDmonthly SEARCH

Fun for Growing Minds: Educational Toys for Infants and Preschoolers

Assessing a child's learning ability early is the best thing a parent can do to prepare him for the future, and with a gamut of new products geared to help kids find their learning “space,” parents can have greater involvement in how their kids develop.

The Baby Prodigy Video/DVD

Designed to entertain babies while educating them, the Baby Prodigy video/DVD series ($15) by The Baby Prodigy Company (ToyShow Preview) presents tiny ones with learning via an ultra-cute character. Follow the lovable puppet Dookie Duck as he treks through a terrain of visually stimulating experiences such as ice frying and juice being poured into differently shaped vessels. Set to soothing classical music, the Baby Prodigy experience is one sure to help those new to life better understand the world around them.

While infants do startle easily, Hasbro Inc. hits the right key with the Playskool Tummy Time Picture Show ($27.63). Listed as a top seller at national giants like Wal-Mart, the light-up toy is designed primarily for babies confined to their tummies. The Tummy Time Picture Show plays soothing musical compositions to entertain infants as they discover lifting their heads and crawling. Ideal for babies and toddlers up to 3 years old.

Discover Sounds Kitchen

From the Little Tikes (ToyDirectory) line, the DiscoverSounds Kitchen ($30-$35) is for babies 6 to 36 months and is aimed at giving children the real life experience of food cooking in the kitchen. With electronic cooking sounds and sizzles, children gain a feeling of comfort and command in a familiar setting. The stovetop interacts with pots and pans placed on top by making boiling, frying, popping or cooking-timer sounds. The refrigerator offers a shape-sorting game where items fall into the ice dispenser.

For babies 6 to 36 months old, the Little Tikes PlayAbout Farm ($39.99) is a winner with coordination and confidence building activities, including a mirror and crawl-through arch to satisfy the baby's simplest pleasures. The hayloft has three places to drop balls from as babies scurry to different destinations. Shape-sorters are brightly colored and a spinning windmill, hen and daisy keep babies busy.







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From Leapfrog, the Alphabet Pal ($18.88) is a caterpillar begging you to pull his legs -- all 26 of them. Each leg sounds out letter names, letter sounds and related colors. Its wiggly, wobbly movement and giggling makes anyone laugh, and at a critical learning age, this crawler toy gives excellent exposure to phonetic pronunciation and even features a cheery ABC song.

Leapfrog’s Junior Globe ($59.84) is a talking encyclopedia-like globe that feeds a child's desire for knowledge under the guise of a toy. Wielding a magic pen, preschoolers touch the pictures in the different global modes: Explore, World, Music, and Adventure Rap. Explore Mode exposes youngsters to facts, languages and music. World Mode stimulates interaction with clues to animals and the places where they live. Music Mode reveals different cultures and the traditional songs from unique regions of the world. And in Adventure Rap, engaging narration about animals and places entertain as they inform. For ages 3 to 7, batteries included.


Writer's Bio: Letitia Adrienne Monaco is a freelance writer and producer based in Jupiter, Florida. Writing for national print and television productions, her repertoire spans a range of subjects, from travel, pets and healthcare to educational programming and children's stories. Her independent series, Travel with Heritage, aired nationally on the History Channel.



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