These Stimulation Toys Can Curb Your Pre-K Stress


By Evan Wade

If you’re a parent, you know that major milestones like the first day of kindergarten can be as stressful as they are sentimental.

These moments like to sneak up on you, too. One day you’re buying your baby stimulation toys, and then before you know it, you’re watching them climb onto the school bus, feeling so nervous you’re ready for a nightcap at 6:30 in the morning.

What’s the key to fighting this stress? Preparation—and as these helpful tools show, there’s no such thing as “too early” to start. Read on to see how to prepare even the youngest kids for the big K.

High-Tech Toddling

Tablets have something to teach everyone, including younger children (even babies, if they’re approaching toddler age!). Schools today show kids how to use these devices just like they teach them how to handle pencils and scissors. That means tablets are good for more than educational programming and apps—they give kids an early chance to master tools they’ll use on their first day of kindergarten and through the rest of their lives.

Tablets are obviously designed for ease of use, but some, like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, tout durable construction that can tolerate rough handling by children. They’re endlessly versatile, with a wide range of apps for all ages. When you’re growing up in a technology-focused world, baby stimulation doesn’t get more useful than that.

Start ‘Em Young

At this stage in your child’s development, your goal is to encourage basic skills (think spatial awareness and manual dexterity) and “set the table” for future skills, like word and color memorization. But fret not, parents of younger babies: there are plenty of toys to prepare six-month-and-under kiddos for the first day of kindergarten, too.

This Fluttering Butterflies Gears Toddler Toy from beloved top-tier toy maker Melissa and Doug is one good tool to help develop these abilities. It promotes multiple skills they’ll further hone in kindergarten, including dexterity, memory, and basic cause-and-effect. The ability to remove and place gears also promotes creativity and problem-solving, which are two big grade-school focuses. Not every toy has to have a direct educational focus to be an invaluable educating tool—this one is proof positive.

Sight Words: A Must

Kindergarten has changed a lot since your graduation. Take, for instance, the educational system’s recent love affair with sight words: if your current early reading strategy starts and stops at “sound it out,” you’ll likely find yourself drowning in flashcards and worrying about your child’s progress when school finally begins.

If you want to bridge this gap early, check out Meet The Sight Words 1, a DVD designed to help kids pick up common words at a glance. Though educational in nature, it dresses the learning in themes that babies and young kids love (construction and sports, for instance). They also turn the words in question into colorful cartoon characters, making them easier to remember. Perhaps best of all, their low-key approach isn’t nearly as grating as some baby stimulation videos. If you’ve ever wanted to scream after watching the same DVD a hundred times, you know how valuable that part is!

Gift your kids an early love of education with the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, available at Newegg.


How CakePay can Remove “Check, Please” from Your Vocabulary

Mobile payments and delicious food pair to create a glorious union with CakePay, the new app from Cheesecake Factory.

Fabulous, Darling: The Chic, Old Hollywood Look is Back

Rock Marilyn Monroe's Old Hollywood look with glamorous pieces that work with your everyday wardrobe.

Mother’s Day Buying Guide: Mom Gift Ideas That Mesmerize

Mother's Day shopping doesn't stop at your own mom. Here's what to get all the mothers in your life.

Tips for the Cinco de Mayo Party You Don’t Have Time to Plan

These five Cinco de Mayo party ideas can help you make planning this year's holiday bash simple and fun!