Summer vacation: Keeping kids learning during their time off

The weather is warming up and for kids that means one thing -- summer vacation! But how do keep kids learning on their time off? Toy expert and speech-language pathologist Erika Cardamone joins us now with toys that are both fun...and educational.  

AQUA Splish Splash Park by PLAYMOBIL, 18 months-4 years, $64.99

  • Offers the sensory benefits of water play (like a water table), but with more transportability
  • Plenty of characters and accessories, people, animals, rafts, water slides and a water wheel
  • All these props allow for pretend play where kids can play independently or cooperatively to hear a story or tell a story.
  • Research shows that young children benefit from hearing different types of words, and there’s so much to talk about with the Splish Splash Water Park, kids can practice verbs (swim, slide, turn, splash, pour), prepositions (in, on, under, next to), and basic concepts (sink or float!).

Scribble Scrubbie Pets by Crayola, 3+ ($14.99)

  • New take-along homes Cloud Clubhouse and Backyard Bungalow where 2 scribble Scrubbie pets reside with everything they need
  • Familiar fun of the popular Scribble Scrubbies, draw with scented markers, wash, scrub, and draw again - all great for promoting fine motor skills which can help with handwriting
  • But now there’s an added component of imaginative play
  • Children use language in different play scenarios, which helps them to grow and master different vocabularies as play contexts changes

Idiom Addict by The Good Game Company, 10+ ($29.99)

  • Brainy game for all word lovers and language enthusiasts. Game play rules are simple: the team that guesses the most idioms and synonyms wins
  • Studies show that children as young as 5 begin to understand idioms. Understanding and using idioms help to enrich language and vocabulary
  • 400 double sided cards with either "Mixed Message" or "Synonym Twist"
  • Perfect game that develops vocabulary, figurative language, and children can practice perfecting the art of conversation

Create a Scene Neighborhood by The Learning Journey, 3+ ($14.99)

  • 60 different pieces, with interchangeable parts so that children can create their own unique scene and story.
  • Puzzle pieces can be grouped by shape (oval, square, rectangle) or category (people, pets, emotions).
  • Research shows that arranging thoughts, concepts, and words into categories facilitate meaning, improve memory and allow for faster retrieval
  • More than one way to complete the puzzle, so kids were revising the puzzle over and over and changing their story too.

Go! Go! Cory Carson- Two Scoops Eileen Ice Cream Truck by VTech, 2+ ($19.99)

  • Two Scoops Eileen Ice Cream Truck brings lots of flavors into imaginative play as kids recreate scenes from their own experiences
  • Kids loved taking on different characters and role playing their parts. They used details from the truck’s designs, such as the menu drawn on the side of the counter, and used language to negotiate their roles.
  • Children incorporate play schemas, patterns or sequences of behavior that allow children to explore and express developing ideas through exploration.
  • Using play schemas allows children to better understand their experiences by using hands-on play that engages active learning