Exclusive: Undercover teachers – how toys and games can help with homeschooling

Published on: 5th May 2020

Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to leaders in the educational toy space to find which toys and games are ideal for the home classroom.

Social media is currently brimming with all manner of serious (and not so serious) homeschooling ideas; a standout favourite of mine combines colour recognition, counting and shape sorting – tasking kids with matching an assortment of lids to their correct Tupperware counterpart. Elsewhere, heated debates have been raging over exactly how long young learners should be spending poring over their school workbooks each day, as opposed to playing or simply relaxing. Multiple daily homeschooling planners have surfaced, while some education professionals have urged parents not to overthink homeschooling – especially if they themselves are trying to work remotely – instead encouraging caregivers and kids to learn together through exploratory play and creative projects.

“Many of us are worried about homeschooling the kids,” notes Nick Saunders, sales manager at Brainstorm. “After all, teachers train for years and are brilliant at enthusing children about different subjects. People who know me will be familiar with my mantra ‘I love my kids, but I don’t like them much’, and the thought of teaching them fills me with dread. (By the way – they don’t like me much either!) Brainstorm products appeal to kids as they’re entertaining while educational in a way that’s fun and engaging; the term learning by stealth could have been coined to describe the Brainstorm portfolio.”

With many public places either temporarily shut or off-limits to visitors unless trips are essential, role-playing can offer some great opportunities for family learning. Setting up a supermarket at home using Learning Resource’s Pretend & Play Cash Register, which can be complemented by a UK Money Pack, lets kids have fun whilst developing their maths skills and money recognition. (For added realism, be sure to maintain the one-way traffic flow and stick tape on your floor for proper social distancing.) In fact, Learning Resources’ entire portfolio is ideally suited to home-learning, as Simon Tomlinson, head of marketing, explains.

“We are an education company; home-learning is part of our DNA and has been for over 25 years,” he says. “Every product is designed for use in schools and many cross-over into the home, so we’ve seen huge demand in recent weeks. Our products are exclusively of the highest quality and are noted for their innovation and creativity, and this extends to the calibre and depth of our educational content, giving parents the confidence that our products will supplement and develop the home learning environment.”

To read the full article, published in the May issue of Toy World magazine, click here.


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