Hi everyone! I’m the head Toy Expert at Magic Beans – Fun Size, Manhattan’s new source for the best of the best playthings for ages 0-5. I’m a veteran Magic Beans employee, with years of experience in our Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline stores, so I’m bringing a ton of product knowledge to the scene – when you come to our store, I’ll be there to recommend the ultimate gifts for the kids you love, and I’ll wrap ’em for free, too!
Before we get started on today’s product recommendations, I’d like to tell you a bit more about Magic Beans – Fun Size: our store is in the boutique in the lobby at Kidville, at 163 East 84th Street in the Upper East Side. At our Fun Size stores, you can shop while your kids enjoy the award-winning classes and legendary birthday bashes at Kidville. Fun Size stores are toys-only, but if you’re in the market for baby gear, I’ve been selling it at Magic Beans stores for years and I’ll be happy to direct you to the best products on our website and in our full-sized stores.
With that said: this blog is the first in a series where I’ll be highlighting some of my faves from our collection here at the store. And while I would love to see your smiling face in my store, you can find all of these awesome toys here at mbeans.com as well! Let’s get started talking about my top picks for educational toys.
1) Magna-Tiles, $49.99 to $120.00, ages 3 and up
Imagination is endless with this ultimate magnetic building set for kids ages 3+. Magna-Tiles are a great educational toy that gives children the ability to build countless numbers of two and three dimensional creations. Each set contains squares and triangles that have magnetic edges, which attract on all sides, making building so easy! The hidden magnets in the colorful transparent tiles give children the opportunity to create, design and build some amazing structures!
These super durable geometric shapes are a great tool for understanding colors, shapes, and fine motor skills. For older children, Magna-Tiles help develop cognitive thinking by teaching spatial relationships, logic, math and problem-solving. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect to this toy is the amount of creative freedom they provide! The fun really does last forever. These toys are perfectly captivating for everyone from toddlers to adults.
2) Tangoes Jr., $29.99, ages 5 and up
Tangoes Jr. is an award-winning tangram puzzle for young minds and young hands! Kids can play independently or together, competing to use the tangram pieces to form the shapes on the playing cards.
It comes in an ultra-portable case, allowing kids to take the fun on the go almost anywhere. It comes with 7 standard tangram shapes that fit inside a pull out compartment on the bottom of the carrying case. The pieces are magnetic and will stick to the working board. There are three levels to this toy, so kids can try tougher challenges as they get the hang of the game.
If you’re looking to challenge your little one, this is the perfect puzzle option! This game is a unique learning toy combining artistic and mathematical elements, and it’s designed to enhance visual perception ability, develop problem-solving skills, and encourage creative thinking and teamwork.
3) Poof-Slinky My First Science Kit, $23.99, ages 4 and up
My First Science Kit is a perfect introduction to physical science for curious children, and a great educational gift for younger kids! Beginners get a fascinating chance to experience science through real, hands-on experiments. Perform 10 science experiments, including setting up a color-mixing lab, growing gobs of crystals in 24 different hues, and capturing a rainbow in a tube. Working through each of the fun and safe activities, little explorers learn all about the scientific process and how to think and act like a real scientist.
The activities included in the kit are meant to encourage focus, logic, and early interest in science. The My First Science Kit was based on the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) program which was developed at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science.
4) Lauri Toddler Tote, $17.99, ages 1 and up
Need an imaginative toy for your little one? This tote packed with Lauri activities is perfect for quiet time and learning, and is also designed to travel – bring it along to keep kids busy on long car rides, on a plane, or in a restaurant.
The crepe rubber puzzles and tall stacker will look familiar to you because you had them in your own preschool, and accordingly, they’re made to last! These toys are an entertaining way for young children to practice hand/eye coordination, concentration, counting, and color and shape recognition. Finally, the crepe rubber is bright, durable, soft, latex-free and washable!
5) Janod Magnetibook Alphabet, $17.99, ages 3 and up
Playing with the Janod Magnetibook Alphabet lets kids practice spelling before they’ve mastered writing letters, giving them a head start on reading, spelling, and vocabulary. Just fit the 26 vocabulary word cards in the grid: each has a picture of a familiar item, like a kite or an elephant, and kids can spell out the words with the 104 included magnetic letters.
The clever book-shaped design makes the Janod Magnetibook Alphabet set easy to store and easy to travel with: this is a fantastic learning toy to keep kids occupied on a long car trip, since it’s compact and doesn’t make a mess.We love that all the magnetic tiles store inside the book-shaped box, and it has a magnetic closure to keep everything contained. Plus, with the design of the box, you can easily store the Magnetibook on a bookshelf to blend in with the other books.
Is there a favorite educational toy you’d like to see on our shelves, or that you’ve bought and loved at Magic Beans? Tell us about it in the comments!