Drake is at a wonderful age for learning. I have always leaned toward educational toys, but now that he is going to school and picking up things left and right as well as expressing an interest in certain topics (animals), I have been trying to look at toys tailored to meet his growing interests. This is a small list of items I have been eyeing for Drake for now and a little later as he grows.
1) Maps – Drake has this map puzzle of the United States given to him by his aunt and uncle after Juliet was born. He has pretty much mastered making it himself and he surprised us when we told him we were going to Disneyworld this summer in Florida, and he said it was the one that had the rockets on his puzzle. Before our road trip we did the puzzle and showed him all the states we would be going through and pointed them out to him as we hit them on our drive down. Drake has also started to get a broader idea of countries because he understands animals live in different areas of the world. In line with that I am eyeing this puzzle map of the world with animals on them. When he gets a bit older I would love to get him a globe as well. The electronic ones seem to be very pricey, so I’m going to hold off a few more years until Drake is more ready.
2) Telescope – I admit this is more for me than Drake right now. I love telescopes and have always dreamed of having one to gaze up at the stars. Right now this seems like it would be perfect for Drake’s needs. I am even contemplating DIYing one with Mr Chocolate’s help.
3) Telly the Teaching Clock – Drake has been aware of time for a little while now — he knows what time he goes to school, about when Juliet goes for her naps (that’s when he gets to watch a few TV shows), hockey time (he gets to watch the Rangers play with daddy), and most importantly bed time. We only have digital clocks at our house so I was surprised when Drake went to school one day and was able to tell me the time on the analog clock at school. He only knows the hours, not the minutes, and I thought maybe we should start working reading time more. Another bonus I see in this toy is we can keep in Drake’s room as a clock since it has the digital display. We have been having issues with Drake coming out of his room at all hours of the night and I think maybe giving him a set time when he can leave would help with this issue, as well as teach him about patience and waiting.
4) Cash Register – Juliet’s developmental therapist recently recommended this little piggy bank as a good gift for Juliet to help with her fine motor skills. I think when he is older this cash register would probably be better suited and more realistic to use, but since the pieces are small and I’m worried about Juliet ingesting them I’ll stick with the piggy bank as an introduction tool for now.
5) Ladybug Garden – I hate bugs. Hate them. As luck would have it though, Mr. Chocolate’s mother adores butterflies, particularly monarchs, and has collected caterpillar eggs from her garden for years and grown butterflies in their home in containers. Long before we had Drake and Juliet we were treated to the beauty that is the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. Drake has watched the life cycle of these little creatures for many years now, but only last summer did it really click with him about what was happening. Now that winter is coming and the last of the butterflies have flown south for the season, I thought maybe Drake and grandma might like a new bug to play with at grandma’s house! There are butterfly kits too if you prefer those.
6) Physics Kit – Since Mr. Chocolate is a physics teacher, I am always on the look out for physics related things for him. Truly I don’t understand a thing about physics, now or when I was in high school, but I hope if it’s presented in a fun manner when Drake and Juliet are younger by their daddy, it might help them feel differently about it than I do. I recently saw this kit and showed it to Mr Chocolate who said it looked pretty neat.
7) My First Microscope – Mr. Chocolate is a physics teacher and has all kinds of science equipment in his school classroom that Drake has visited throughout the years. He is fascinated by some of the things in daddy’s room — this plasma ball in particular is always a huge hit. Recently when we went to visit one of Mr. Chocolate’s co-workers, he had his microscopes out and Drake was curious so they let him look through at some slides. This was super neat for Drake; he was amazed by the colors and shapes, even if he didn’t fully understand what he was looking at. I thought this might be a good gift for him so he can pretend to be scientists like daddy and his friends. There are even slides you can buy. When Drake is older I am considering this little lab set and lab coat. It might be cute for dress up or Halloween!
8) Alfie & Cogsley – Alfie is a toy I actually had as a child. Because of both the educational value he brought from my own childhood experience as well as the nostalgia of him, I bought this for Drake for his 3rd birthday and my mom got all the extra booster packs for him. Drake plays with Alfie often, at least once a week, switching packs. He is a great independent play toy which I like and Drake has picked up more about patterns and correlation from playing with him. Recently VTech came out with Cogsley, which I imagine is similar to Alfie. Cogsley even has a little version of himself which I am considering because it might be nice learning toy for Juliet. It also has a clock function with alarm so I could always use that for Drake’s clock in his room.
9) Super Why Board Game – Drake enjoys watching Super Why on TV and I like the show because of the spelling and word component to it. Drake is really into spelling these days as well as the idea of sounding words out to help read and spell them , rhyming words, changing letters in words to make new words, etc. so I thought a game focused on those ideas with some of his favorite characters might be the perfect combo. I hope we can get this one soon as I think it will be perfect for game night, which is something I am trying to do more often in our house, to help Drake learn more about games as well as following the rules, turn taking, winning/losing, etc.
10) Robots – I have seen a lot of pins about creating robots and such out of everyday materials, but when I saw this little brush robot kit I was really intrigued. I like that it comes in a kit with all the parts and instructions. I think this might be amusing for Drake and Juliet because the robot will move, and even paint, which I thought would really be neat for Drake who also loves painting. There are a lot of kits by this company if Drake really takes a shine to this one, though I do think this might be a little beyond his years for now. I think this can double as a great lesson about recycling and how objects can often serve multiple purposes.