When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to get off the school bus at the end of the day, so I could play and be creative! If you’re looking for a creative, educational toy that will help keep your kids entertained after school and help them learn, you’re in luck. Renowned Education Specialist, Toy Commentator & Columnist, Meredith Sinclair joined me for an interview this morning to dish on her top six educational toys that will encourage creative and engaging after-school play.
Candace Rose: What do you recommend for kids who love to build stuff?
Meredith Sinclair: “For after school we want them to have open ended creative play. If you have a builder in your house, they’re going to love this Lego Creator set. This one is called the Changing Seasons set. What I love about this is Lego is always great about giving us fun accessories and features, and this is no exception. This has got an actual campfire that will light up when you press the bricks. It’s got a garden, it’s got a pool, it’s got a basketball hoop, it’s got a snowblower. What I love about it too is it’s a three season toy. This house goes from your summer house to your winter house to your fall house – all the seasons so kids can really play with this throughout the entire year. As we know, Lego keeps kids coming back again and again.”
Candace Rose: Are there any new ways to make personal computing more playful and fun?
Meredith Sinclair: “Absolutely. We’ve got something that’s going to make your screen time really playful, this is the 2015 Logitech Play Collection. What this is is a series of fun wireless mice and as you can see (please see video above for details) they have great fun designs. What I love about them as a parent is they have a great shape so kids can really hold onto it well. It helps them have precise navigating while they’re on their computers – plus it’s got a really long battery life that lasts up to 18 months, so parents love that too.”
Candace Rose: How can parents make bedtime more magical?
Meredith Sinclair: “We all know how important story time is for our kids. As a former teacher I know how important it is for reading development. This is Storytime Theater (please see video above for details). What I love about this is it literally brings your kids stories to life by projecting them on the wall. They just download the app, put the character on the screen and their stories unlock and they can follow along. What’s great about this is it has three modes: it’s got a read to me mode for your pre-readers, it’s got a read to myself for your emergent readers – I’ve got a niece who is in second grade and she’s at this level, so she can read at her own pace. And then there’s a bedtime mode where the narrator reads along and then it has a starry scene that turns off in 10 minutes so it’s perfect for bedtime.”
Candace Rose: What do you have for girls who love imaginary play?
Meredith Sinclair: “Girls who love to imagine and play with their dolls and their sets are going to love the Flipsies from VTech. This is really a 2-in-1 playset. This is Sandy’s house and ocean cruiser. It starts off as her house, you flip it open and it becomes her ocean cruiser. She can live out her lifelong dream of being a marine biologist. What else is cool about this is it’s got this thing called MagicPoint technology so I can move her around the set and she will light up, she will respond and play back with with you, so for kids who are playing on their own it’s really interactive. For kids who have a friend over it’s more fun.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any suggestions for the fashionista kid who loves to accessorize?
Meredith Sinclair: “Absolutely! This is the hottest trend in accessories for girls. They love to personalize their things like their backpacks and their lunch boxes – this is called HipFits. This is a series of dresses that are made of this soft material, all different designs so girls can really show their fashion style. Also, what they’re doing right now which is really special is they have partnered with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to create special pink dresses for their Shop Pink campaign. Every time someone buys one of these, they’re going to donate $3. I love that it’s a give back and a playful experience as well.”
Candace Rose: What do you recommend for children who show interest in programming?
Meredith Sinclair: “We know that programming is the skill of the future for our kids, so if you’ve got a little coder in your life, you’re going to love Ozobot. Ozobot is a little tinker robot that kids can actually program to do fun things. It will follow your kids drawing on the paper if they have a drawing that they’re doing or words, it’ll follow along or they can also download the Ozobot app, which lets them literally code, so that the robot will dance and play along with them. This is definitely for your young coders.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much as always, Meredith. Where can we go for more information?
Meredith Sinclair: “For all of the information on all of these products, go to ThunkNews.com/AfterSchool.”