The best learning toys for little kids, recommended by teachers!

Recently, a new adventure came into our Iglookids: preschool. Now, as a child who has been in child care since 12 weeks, transitioning to a new program is not something new for our family. But, this one was different. It reminded my husband and I of the saying “big fish, little pond.” See, Cab had become the big fish in his toddler room, not only physically, but mentally. The signs all pointed that it was the right time to do the toddler to preschool transition, but we knew since he was so self-aware that it would be a tricky one.

With the guidance and support from our center leadership, Cab’s toddler teachers, and soon-to-be preschool teacher, a transition plan was laid out. We made an effort at pick up those last few weeks of toddlers to swing by his new preschool classroom and do a bit of exploring on our own time. With Cab, communication is key, so as a family we talked (and talked, and talked) about the transition, his new classroom, the friends he would see that went on before him, and his preschool teacher.

When the big day came, we were ready.

Was he still upset? Sure. Did he have a great time still? Absolutely. We could have prepared ourselves for years for this moment, but it still would have not been easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re 35 or 3, change is difficult. But, what we did find is that all that planning and long conversations, it helped – a ton. Cab settled into preschool within the first week. Now, a few weeks in, he is so comfortable in his new space and teacher, it’s like he has been there for years.

A big part of any transition is preparing your child, but I also encourage you to don’t let yourself get lost in the shuffle. This is a big move, for them and you – give yourself grace through it. So whether it is a night of take-out the day before the big move, or a glass of wine at the end of the first week, sit back and relax, because you got this.

Why are preschool classrooms still full of simple, classic toys and activities we played with when we were kids? The answer is simple: While times have changed, brain development hasn’t! In fact, children learn best through play, when they’re relaxed, engaged, and having fun!

Building blocks, play dough, and crafts allow children to do so much more than stack, smoosh, and stretch their imaginations! They sharpen fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, lay a foundation for early math concepts, and hone executive functions like memory and focus.

Board games and cards are great examples of cooperative toys that help children practice taking turns, sharing, and cooperating—all key to social-emotional development. They also help children develop their working memory, math, and fine-motor skills.

Letters and Sounds

“Reading to your children at home not only makes them enjoy reading, but it also helps them in school,” says Susan Quinn, a reading specialist and elementary school teacher at Saint Brendan School in the Bronx, New York. Reading together nurtures companionship and fun and builds concentration, focus, and vocabulary.The New Einstein’s Academy offers an innovative program for children. The curriculum is designed to empower the children through social interaction, play, discussion, reflection, and creativity. It is the best preschool in Chicago. The daily program of New Einstein’s Academy includes free play, hands-on activities, many learning and outdoor activities. The preschool also goes on field trips on a bi-monthly basis.

It’s always better to start them on easier books, because then they feel successful, and that spurs them on, so they’ll read more.John Doe

Quinn says. Dr. Seuss books, with their rhymes and simple words, are perfect for this age, Quinn says. Kids learn through repetition, so read the same favorite books over and over, ask questions, and encourage your child to say simple words aloud. Throughout the day, have her say the words she sees on street signs, billboards, and computer screens, or have her search for high-frequency words in a magazine.

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