This is my latest story at Forbes. It's all about cutting edge tools in schools.
Yes, a lot of them involve technology but believe me, it's more about just what's good for kids right now. These tools demonstrate the kind of leadership that I find in great educators and educational institutions.
I've been doing this quietly but I'm now taking more clients for this service because I want everyone to really enjoy their bricks!
Educational toys are not educational if you can’t find them We straighten out their drawers, their desks, and now we even buy rugs for their school lockers. However, when it comes to toys, even educational ones, we usually require kids to do all the clean up. In most cases they should be able to, but LEGO bricks are different. There are few toys that kids can own that could easily number in the thousands. There are about 70 LEGO bricks for every one of the world’s 6 billion inhabitants. And children around the world spend 5 billion hours a year playing with LEGO bricks.
If the collection becomes this large, throwing them all into a big bin makes about as much sense as using large garbage bags to store your clothing for everyday wear. Jenn Choi, toy expert and Founder of Toys As Tools, has learned from working with toy designers and brick fan families on how to coach families on best ways to organize their LEGO bricks to suit kids' play styles and their families’ needs too. Read about Jenn's work here in Quartz
Parents are trained along with the kids. Parents are present for the entirety of the training.
How she does it
Jenn Choi, Toy Expert and Founder of Toys As Tools provides brick sorting and organization education to families who love LEGO bricks and want to make sure that the LEGO bricks they own are organized for optimal creativity. Services include initial phone/video consultation and a home visit where parents and children are taught how to sort and organize in a way that best suits their collection. Appropriate supply suggestions are also provided. Consultation concludes with a final follow up phone/video call.
You think you know math but you don't know it like Rachel McAnallen. She will blow you away. I'm sitting here with teachers of gifted children because we were following her like Confucius and she let us "play math" with her for an hour.
I made a remote control something! littleBits remote control bit is the best. Make an RC car? Yes you can.
STEM class for twice-exceptional kids? She packed in so much material. Katharina Boser Master STEM Educator!
Keynote from globally recognized leader in Twice-Exceptional Education. Susan Baum.
So many friends of the 2E community. Thank you all!!! Think about it like this: If your teacher works well with gifted kids who have special needs, doesn't that mean that teacher is pretty much a super teacher? 2E ed is amazing ed.
From Nancy Tarshis' talk. If you can leap right over, you probably haven't learned anything. YES!!!
Oh look, there goes another working mother. Gyroscope power. MiP
Here are some more details you may want to see before buying from this new list of toys worth watching this year. But first, may I say I admire your adventurist spirit. While I review toys for work, I do hope all of us feel free to just go with our gut sometimes.
Here are some additional photos and purchase links (they support this website) that may help you buy the toys that are already available for sale.
It's true that parents and play industry leaders alike have all focused on getting the family to "unplug" and go "offline." I like this movement and do like the toys and games that support these activities however, there is nothing like a great technology gift that can really wow a child.
Tech gifts can be very fun for the gift-giver as well because they can range from the very practical to the completely unnecessary. What's funny is that people tend to fall in love with their most practical and most unnecessary gifts. I think this is because no matter what, tech gifts can inspire us to think about the world of possibilities be it striving for productivity or just plain fun.
Thank you so much everyone! The recent newsletter is a success! The Toys As Tools Hit Lists is proving useful to you all. I'm thrilled!
I know you want to support this site so please bookmark these two pages to use when shopping on AMAZON or MARBLES. Your support will lead to a new and improved website that promises to impact the industry by making it easier for consumer to by the best toys and tech for their families.
Please bookmark it. Toys As Tools will receive a small commission from anything you buy whether it be diapers, food, toys, or technology. Everything counts! Here's a very short photo diary of our testing. We've been looking out for you knowing that you've been waiting to buy everything now.
Mel Chemistry: We're still testing but it's fun overall. https://melscience.com/en/
Playdoh TOUCH- Launched at the Apple Store a just a couple of weeks ago.
This was a customer service call. Kids should learn how to do this. Spin Master gets an A+ in customer service!
Still researching parenting tools. This one is a pair of gloves. I like a man in uniform!
Are you ready to shop until you drop? Just kidding. I don't believe we should respond to Black Friday this way. Ninety percent of the items in this list contain products that Toys As Tools testers has personally tested and approved. For the sake of brevity, this will just be a list. The toys were submitted for consideration. Payment for inclusion is impossible. Note: Re: Amazon and Marbles: Putting items into your cart after going through my link means that you are supporting Toys As Tools just by purchasing something as you would normally do but a little percentage will go to TAT so thanks in advance! As you will see, a lot of the deals will be on the home sites of the products. Go ahead shop around! May you get the very best deal this holiday season.
I'll be trying this one out very very soon. It's physics plus spatial reasoning and cunning strategy Newton - $34.99 Exclusively at Marbles the Brain Store
I don't know why it took me so long to make this list from Marbles. My apologies to you but I'm confident that you'll forgive me once you make your first Marbles purchase. I just became an affiliate and I couldn't be more thrilled. This is a list of great items here but it also contains tips on how to win at specialty store shopping. It's possible. Just give me a chance.
America is getting an intimate snapshot of how technology lets inclusion make life better for everyone through the new hit ABC comedy Speechless. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
Ever hear that argument? If they give a computer to a kid who has dysgraphia then what would happen if all the kids wanted a computer. I like to answer it with if you gave someone whose legs never let him more than a half a block even with crutches, a wheelchair, then that's good. But if all the kids said, hey I want a wheelchair too then what would you say? You'd probably have a lot of things to say.
Kids keep playing long after the teacher has left. photo: Toys As Tools
Folks, this is Doug Mercier, an IT professional by trade and my go-to advisor for all things board games and video games. He also helps me with questions like, "How do I set up a server for Minecraft for my kids so he can play with his friends- you know, people he actually knows? But I have to be able to turn it off whenever, okay? "
Today, as my article in Quartz about board games is published, I am simultaneously publishing his first person perspective on what it is like to teach Testers 1 and 2 on how to play the coolest games out there. Happy Reading. -Jenn
In a world saturated with games and entertainment for kids it can be hard for parents to turn the fun off, get them to settle down, and do their schoolwork. But what if the fun didn’t need to turn off? Video games and board games can seem like fruitless activities however, many of them can actually teach kids important lessons that can be used in real life.
For example, games like Catan teach the importance of resource management and planning ahead. Other games like Legends of Andor teach problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking. So how is a parent to know when a game has real skill opportunities versus just fun?
by Jenn Choi (Doug Mercier contributed to this article) Does your child hate writing? Does your child avoid reading? Then give me your attention for just a few. I promise to be assistive and then some.
Bubble Soccer. OMG. OMG. Can anyone say, corporate retreat? Beat down on Boss Lady or Boss Man? How about a family retreat? Beat down on Dad but not Mom, okay?
How do you know which toys will work for your child? Ask him to make a list? Based on what? Commercials? Black Friday Flyers? Ads.... hmmmm...
When is the last time you saw an ad for your favorite extra virgin olive oil? How about your chef's knife? Your favorite hot sauce? Things that you just don't compromise on, ever - like your kids' learning tools. Sure you can buy silly stuff too but if you are reading this blog, it's because you know that toys are investments too. You may already have some great toys in mind but let's face it, sometimes, those really great toys can be a little intimidating. The day of unwrapping is a moment of joy, not just for them but for us too but you want that moment of excitement to go on after the holiday season so what can you do??? Here is a solution from Chicago that should be replicated everywhere.
Like a busy cafeteria, you had to wait for a seat sometimes. KLASK is an amazing game from Denmark. What is it with Denmark and toys? LEGO, Plus-Plus, and now KLASK!
Keep reading to discover our Top Toolbox Essentials Pick for ChiTAG (Chicago Toy and Game Fair)!!! All the way on the bottom. Saving best for last....
WHAT: Czur- the kind of tech that can solve so many problems for students and teachers everywhere! So I'm breaking my rule. I rarely report on crowdfunding projects but this time I am making an exception. If your child has a hard time reading, sustaining attention when reading, and maybe even writing, this is a piece of ed tech news you don't want to miss...
WHAT: THE SECOND HALF of my follow up to my post at Forbes This one is all about ACTIVE FUN too but for kids over 5! TOOLS: Express Yourself, Think Like a Scientist Engineer, My Body Needs to Move This giveaway is brought to you by Toys Are Tools, nay Forbes.com We are dividing this feature into two parts because this post and giveaway will focus on active toys for kids over 5 years of age. The previous post with its very own giveaway focuses on active fun for kids under 5. DON'T MISS! You can enter both!
WHAT: A follow up to my post at Forbes This one is all about ACTIVE FUN! TOOLS: Express Yourself, Think Like a Scientist Engineer, My Body Needs to Move This giveaway is brought to you by Toys Are Tools, nay Forbes.com
We are dividing this feature into two parts because this post and giveaway will focus on active toys for kids under 5 years of age. The next post with its very own giveaway will focus on active fun for kids over 5. DON'T MISS!
Okay, we're not giving this dress away but I am going to tell you how to get closer to reaching this goal. The Bay Area Maker Faire is next week, May 16 and 17. Buy Mom a ticket if you are in the area.
This giveaway is brought to you by Toys Are Tools, not Forbes.com- just to be clear. WHAT: A follow up to my post atForbesand HUGE giveaway!!! Over hundreds in value AGAIN! Goodbye laundry machines and dishwashers, those are not presents to mom, we still want productivity tools though but it's all about working smarter for us.... in whatever we do!