I don’t know why some people shy away from “educational toys.” Why is it that people sometimes think that educational toys are “boring” and kids won’t enjoy them? That is not true at all.
When my kids were little, I always looked for toys and games that were educational, but also a lot of fun. After all, you CAN sneak in some learning while a child is playing too.
I’m also a fan of toys and games that promote creativity and imagination. I have a big imagination, thanks to learning to play by myself growing up (there were not many kids in the neighborhood to play with).
If my kids were growing up today, there is no way I would let them just sit there and play video games or online games. No way! I’m not saying that all video games are “bad,” (they are not), I just mean that children need to learn how to play on their own. Case in point, my “work kids.” They range in age from Kindergarten to fifth grade. When they are not doing their remote learning or classwork, they act bored at times. It’s not that we don’t have plenty of the kids to do (games, toys, crafts…), it’s just that they miss being able to go online and play games.
I actually have two boys (fifth graders) who’ll go on YouTube to watch OTHER PEOPLE play video games. Ugh!
There is a brand of children’s toys and games that prove that you don’t need to be on a screen, table or phone in order to have a good time – AND – learn something in the process too. The brand is called Dr. Stem, and they are available through Thin Air Brands.
I was sent a couple of Dr. Stem items to review. The firs thing I was sent was Dr. Stem Toy’s Play Teacher Role Play Set.
I LOVED playing teacher when I was a little girl. I even wanted to be a teacher when I grew up (something I regret not following through with). I would set up my stuffed animals and dolls and pretend they were my students. I would go so far as to create worksheets for them to complete and tests for them to take. I had a blast playing teacher with them. I even played teacher with my friends and cousins.
Working with young children, I see kids playing teacher all the time. Last year when I was in the upper elementary school (4th – 6th), the kids would play teacher too. Instead of a chalkboard, they would use the giant dry erase board that we had in our program.
I think playing teacher is not only an amusing way to sneak learning into play time, but it’s also a great way to help children appreciate their own teachers more. After all, when the “shoe is on the other foot,” you tend to appreciate things better from another person’s perspective. I think that is why I have always appreciated all the work that teachers do, especially now having to work with children remotely (that must be so difficult to do).
The Dr. Stem Play Teacher Play Set has everything your little teacher (child) needs. When I say everything, I truly mean that they thought of every thing to include.
The set includes a board, bell, desk blotter, map of the United States, USA flag, eraser, attendance card, name cards, clock, pointer and more (a lot more!). I was very impressed by how many things came with this set – even things I would never think of including.
I am especially impressed by the things like the attendance sheets, reward sheets, and report cards.
I would have preferred a chalkboard, but I understand that most teacher’s these days use Smartboards and dry erase boards instead of chalk boards. I guess I just like the “old school” way (no pun intended).
I let my kids at work play with this set, with the exception of the paper items (attendance, report cards…), only because we can’t wipe them down when the kids are done playing with them. Instead, the kids use recycled paper at work.
One of the items has been especially useful at work – the play clock. My 3rd graders are learning about time, and this clock has been helpful in showing the kids time (especially when they need to figure out how many minutes between two different times).
Thin Air even has another Dr. Stem Teacher Play Set – a Canadian version. The only difference I can see is that this version has a Canadian flag and a map of Canada instead of the USA flag and map of the United States.
Dr. Stem has other toys that are great for role playing, including a cash register and an ATM (a great way to teach kids about money).
Another thing I was send from Dr. Stem toys from Thin Air Brands is the Ask Einstein game (and extra game cards).
Ask Einstein comes with game cards (extra packs available) and a super cute little mouse (Einstein) wearing a silly hat.
Einstein requires a AAA battery (not included). The battery compartment is in his hat (I didn’t see any instructions on where the battery goes – I figured it out eventually).
There are different ways to play with Ask Einstein. All of the game versions are included with the included deck of cards. The included cards are animals and dinosaurs.
Ask Einstein works by trying to figure out the correct answer on each card. To see if you are correct, place Einstein on the card (there are spots where his little feet go). If you are correct, Einstein’s hat will light up green on the one side, and you’ll hear a chime. If the answer is incorrect, the other side of Einstein’s hat will light up red, and it will make a honking sound.
I should note that you need to press down on Einstein once he’s on the answer you’ve selected. You need to push down on him in order for him to work.
I’m an adult, and I have learned things playing around with this toy/game. For example, did you know that sheep have FOUR stomachs? That’s crazy! And an anaconda is heavier than a python.
Here is a very brief video I made.
You can play Ask Einstein as a game, but you can also enjoy it on your own. Simply take the cards and try and answer them correctly on your own.
The game comes with 100 cards, and the additional packs (Math, Science & Nature) are also available.
Ask Einstein is made for children ages 3-6, but my older “work kids” (10 years old) have been enjoying it. Honestly, the younger ones (kindergarteners) can’t read the questions. They just want to play with the mouse – either as a stand alone toy, or to press on the cards to see if it lights up red or green. That’s OK. They are still enjoying it.
Ask Einstein sells for $19.99, and the “booster” packs (extra card sets) sell for $9.99.
Ask Einstein and the extra cards are available for purchase on the Thin Air Brand’s website (ThinAirBrands.com). The game and extra cards are also available on Amazon, and they are also available for Prime shipping.
Educational toys can games CAN be fun, and Dr. Stem Toys proves that.
For more information about Dr. Stem Toys, and other cool toys and games, visit ThinAirBrands.com. They are also found on Facebook and Instagram.
What do you think about these awesome toys? Do they look like something your child/grandchild would like?
*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.