Educational childrens games

7 educational games for kids that still have the fun factor!

From improved reading to strategic thinking, psychologist Amanda Gummer advises on the best games to help your kids learn, without them even

By Amy Lewis, 07 December 2015
7 educational games for kids that still have the fun factor!

It’s no secret that many children learn best through play, so we’ve asked Dr Amanda Gummer, psychologist and founder of fundamentallychildren.com and The Good Toy Guide, for her top tips on what games are best for expanding young minds.

These skills will help young children start school with more confidence

From logical thinking and problem solving to improved reading and communication skills, try these fun ways to help develop your kids’ brains.

SMALL WORLD PLAY FOR DECISION MAKING

‘Small world play, such as the sets from Playmobil, is great because it gives children the opportunity to be in charge,’ says Amanda. ‘Young children spend so much of their time following grown ups’ rules and instructions, that it’s great for their decision making skills and confidence to be able to create a world that they are in charge of.’

Try: Playmobil City Action Tactical Helicopter, £19.97

BALANCE BIKES FOR CONFIDENCE

‘Balance bikes like those by Strider promote active healthy lifestyles and make it easier for parents to get children out of the buggy for longer walks,’ explains Amanda. ‘Balance and core stability are improved, and because they don’t need pedals they are accessible to much younger children, which can boost confidence as they feel like one of the big boys or girls.’

Try: Strider Balance Bikes, from £60, striderbike.co.uk

FAMILY GAMES FOR GOOD COMMUNICATION

‘Family games such as the Dobble card game are brilliant for promoting family cohesion and communication. At Fundamentally Children we particularly like Dobble because of it’s simplicity and fun, as well as the fact that it can be played anywhere.’

Try: Matel Uno Card Game, £5.97 

PRESCHOOL APPS FOR LOGIC AND PROBLEM SOLVING

‘Preschool apps such as Mini Boats from Sago Sago and Little Builders from Fox and Sheep are great for developing soft skills in preschoolers,’ says Amanda. ‘Rather than overtly educational apps, it’s great to see skills such as storytelling and logic/problem solving being developed in a fun way. These skills will help young children start school with confidence.’

Try: Sago Mini Boats, £2.29, from the iTunes App Store 

INTERACTIVE BOOKS FOR EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

‘Books such as the Campbell range from Macmillan are a wonderful way to help children develop a love of reading,’ advises Amanda. ‘The interactive playfulness of the books engages the children and sharing a bedtime story with a young child is fantastic for emotional development and attachment.’

Try: The Asda Kids Book Chart 

MIX REAL AND DIGITAL PLAY FOR FLEXIBILITY

Play in all its forms is important, and so Amanda suggests combining both digital and real play from a young age. ‘Connected toys that bring physical toys and apps together such as Pebli, allow children to benefit from imaginative real world play patterns combined with the flexibility of digital play.’

Try: Pebli Town Starter Pack, £59.99, elc.co.uk

CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING FOR SELF ESTEEM

‘Construction toys such as Meccano help children develop perseverance and concentration, while the sense of achievement they get from creating something from scratch boosts their self esteem,’ explains Amanda. ‘Meccano is particularly good as it helps introduce basic engineering principles without children feeling like they are learning.’

Try: LEGO Junior Construction set, £14.97