With the big kids getting ready to head back to school, little ones can feel a little left out. Bring the learning – and the fun – home with three of our favorite educational toddler and preschool toys, perfect for practicing early math, literacy, and science skills!

Letter Learning with ABC Lacing Sweets

A tasty take on traditional lacing toys, this set features 26 lettered “sweets”, two lacing strings, a storage jar with a lid, and a fun, pint-sized scoop. This set grows with your child, from letter identification to early spelling and develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, too!

Letter Identification – Let your little one scoop out several sweets. Each time they string a letter, point to it and say its name. Once several letters have been strung, point to each one in order, saying its name as you touch the treat.

Letter Sounds – Once your kiddo is able to identify the letters, try making their sounds “A – ah, ah” as your child strings them, for example. Try pointing to a letter and asking your child for its name. Then repeat the letter name, make its sound, and encourage your child to make the sound, too.

Alphabetical Order – Practice singing the Alphabet Song together. Then dump all the letters out and see if you can find each one as you sing the song, placing them in alphabetical order on the floor. Then string a few in order.

Early Spelling – Older kids can use the set to begin spelling simple C-V-C (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. Pull out three treats – maybe D-O-G – and place them in a pile on the floor. Help your child sound out the word “dog”, finding and stringing each letter as you go.

Stacking Whales

Introduce early math skills, including matching, sorting, number recognition, number order, number words, and quantity, with this colorful set of stackable whales, including five sets of stackable large whales featuring number words and baby whales with corresponding numerals.

Matching and Sorting – Matching and sorting requires kids to identify similarities and differences, a critical early math skill. Set all of the whales in a pile, and encourage your little one to separate them into piles of big whales and small whales. Then try matching the sets by color.

Number Recognition – Give your child the red baby whale and point to the number “1” on its side. Then give your child the orange baby whale, point to the number “2”, and so on. After some practice, asking your little one to find the number “3”.

Quantity – Begin with the red whale again, handing it to your child and saying “1 whale”. Next, hand your child the orange baby, touching both whales and saying “1, 2 – two whales!” Add the third, fourth, and fifth babies, pointing to each as its added to the pile, to help your child correlate the quantity of whales with the appropriate number word.

Number Order – Pointing to your fingers, speak the numbers “1, 2, 3, 4, 5”. Ask your kiddo to find the whale with the number “1”, then “2”, and so on, until you have a row of whales in number order. Point to each in order, saying its name, to emphasize the concept.

Number Words – Have your child stack each set of matching whales. Point to the number on the baby whale and ask your child what it is. Then point to the number word on the larger whale beneath and read the number word to them to help them begin to associate the numeral with the written number word.

Sensory Tubes

Encourage observation and discover with this set of four sensory tubes with lids for both liquid and solid explorations!

Sight – Fill a tube with a variety of objects like buttons, bells, small rocks, jelly beans. Show the tube to your toddler and ask questions that encourage deeper observation like whether the objects are the same or different, what colors they see, and what shapes they can find.

Sound – Fill a tube half way with hard beans or popcorn kernels. Encourage your little one to shake the tube and listen to the sound it makes. Try again with a tube full of cotton balls, sand, jingle bells, or bouncy balls.

Smell – Dab a cotton ball with peppermint or vanilla extract and place it in a tube, capping it with a vented lid. Hand it to your child and watch as they delight in the delicious smell!

Touch – Drop a few cotton balls or pom poms into a tube and ask your little one what they think they will feel like. Use scientific vocabulary like smooth and rough, soft and hard, cold or warm. Then open the tube and shake the contents out into your child’s hand to see if they were right!