educational toys for 6 year olds- pattern blocks

Educational Toys for 6 Year Olds

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Educational Toys for 6 Year Olds

I taught first grade (6-7 year olds) for seven years in the public school system, it is safe to say I’ve seen a few ways kids can learn! I have seen and used many educational toys for 6 year olds that can easily be adapted for surrounding age groups.

One of the top things I noticed during my time in a classroom full of young learners was the need for HANDS-ON learning opportunities.

There are learners on every level that thrive with hands-on activities, but first grade happens to be a place where nearly 100% of the kiddos really enjoy and need these experiences to make significant growth.

educational toys for 6 year olds- hands on learning

I will also share some toys and resources I have not personally used in the classroom, but that I think would be a great fit!

This article is directed toward current classroom teachers, but the information and ideas can definitely be used at home with the children in your life. IE. Your own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighborhood children, etc.

How Can I Keep My Students’ Attention?

Have you ever caught yourself asking this question?

For most teachers, it would only be a dozen times a day!

Child looking out the window

Student engagement and student achievement are closely linked together.

If you can help your students feel engaged- involved and actively participating- then their success and growth will most often follow close behind.

Adults are just older versions of children (news flash! Hahaha).

Adults also learn best by doing, rather than passively watching from the sidelines.

educational toys for 6 year olds- basketball going into the hoop

Have you ever mastered shooting a basket by attending every basketball game for the local team?

I doubt it.

We can certainly gain knowledge by watching someone else do something we’d like to do, but it’ll take a very long time to master that something if we never actually try it out ourselves.

Children are very much the same.

They can read from books and watch videos about every subject out there, but until they get to try it out for themselves their progress will be minimal.

So what can we do to mix it up? How will we capture their attention and keep it?

Children love to see things up close and personal, like in their hands kind of up close.

educational toys for 6 year olds- young girl with a camera in her hands

As a classroom teacher, there were lessons I started by placing a piece of paper in front of my students.

Can you guess the percentage of kids I had actively paying attention after just a few minutes? Maybe 50%, on a lucky day.

Imagine the difference when I placed materials in front of them that they could touch and manipulate. Almost a guaranteed 100%!

Attention Grabber

Case in Point: a lesson on tens and ones.

One day I handed out a worksheet with pictures of tens and ones and gave a brief explanation of what each meant.

The students were then asked to complete the worksheet.

Base Ten Blocks

I got some of those worksheets back with idle drawings all over them. Some kids didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.

Another day I started with placing base ten blocks on each student’s desk.

That got their attention!

For a few minutes they got to explore on their own with these new items.

Next we regrouped and talked about each one while the kids were handling their own blocks right in front of them.

BIG difference on retention!

educational toys for 6 year olds- check marks

Once the kids were able to handle the base ten blocks with their own hands the concepts began to make a lot more sense.

The next knowledge check reflected a much higher retention rate. It totally works!

Using educational toys and resources that capture their attention will help you drive home the concepts and skills you want them to learn.

It will make a huge difference!

I have been in classrooms with up to 11 and 12 year olds who were still benefiting greatly from having hands-on resources to support their learning.

Hands-On Ideas

Classrooms now can and should look different from those of classrooms 50 years ago.

educational toys for 6 year olds- old classroom

We have countless resources at our fingertips, we certainly want to use them!

Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning.

Educational Toys For 6 Year Olds

Classroom Store with a Cash Register

I did a classroom store for several years. There are many ways to run a classroom store and you can definitely find something that fits your style.

One way I ran my “store” was to give “money” for good behavior and assignments turned in.

The students were in charge of keeping track of their earned money throughout the week. If something was lost, it was not replaced.

On Fridays the store was opened and the students had the opportunity to spend the money they had earned during the week.

They could choose to spend every week or save it up for several weeks to buy something that cost more.

There were many skills being taught throughout this process.

One thing I feel would have been fun to have as a part of this experience is a toy cash register.

Picture the fun a child could have with a toy cash register! They could be a part of the cashiering process and have hands-on (there’s that term again!) experiences with handling money.

icon icon

This cash register includes a working calculator, paper roll, pretend money, a bank card and a scanner that makes it feel like the real deal.

Pattern Blocks

Pattern Blocks played an important role in my classroom.

These shapes allowed my students to have that touch and feel experience with each shape. Check this page for other fun activities with shapes and free printables.

They could count how many sides and vertices each shape had. They experimented with how the shapes fit together to make new shapes.

educational toys for 6 year olds- pattern blocks

One fun activity we did was to create pictures using the shapes. The students could create anything they wanted using the shapes before them.

The results were always varied and unique!

After creating the shapes with the pattern blocks they then recreated their picture using sticker versions of the pattern blocks and wrote a short story/explanation.

These were great things to display in the hall and to share their creativity with others in the school!

Microscope

There are curious little scientists waiting to blossom within our classrooms.

Children want to learn the why about the world around them.

Why does the light turn on when we flip the switch?

Why do dogs bark and cats meow?

Why are you putting your seat belt on?

Why is the sky blue?

educational toys for 6 year olds- kids asking why?

The questions can feel endless, because they are! I mean that in a positive way!

The world is so big and there are so many things to learn.

A neat idea I did not implement in the classroom was the use of a microscope.

Can you see young students leaning in to inspect a newly fallen leaf? Microscopes give children the chance to find their own answers to their questions.


The Magic School Bus Microscope Lab – $39.99

from: Fun.com

Wooden Balance Tower

Giving your kids different opportunities to work together and solve problems can go a long way in helping them learn and grow.

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This wooden balance tower could be a fun way to explore:

  • how things balance
  • how to stack the blocks so they don’t fall over
  • ways to practice taking turns with others

The kiddos will likely come up with several other things.

The block ends are colored, so that could add another element to the game. Can you place them so they are in a pattern?

On to Discovery!

Children discover from a young age that one of the best ways to get an answer is to ask a question.

Makes sense!

We can provide meaningful and fun activities and resources that will encourage more questions and learning to follow.

Best of luck in your adventures of discovery!

What type of educational toys and resources have you found useful and fun? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas below!

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8 thoughts on “Educational Toys for 6 Year Olds”

  1. This is great information! I agree that hands-on learning makes things way easier to grasp than just reading about it. I love the idea of a classroom store. Great way to teach about money!

    Reply
    • Thank you! Money is one of those things that everyone has to deal with at some point on some level in their lives. Why not make it fun for kids to learn about and practice using?!

      Reply
  2. Hi, I enjoyed reading your article on Educational Store with a cash register. There’s a lot of helping and interesting information. I remember the cash register when I was a little girl. It is a great learning experience and plus a lot of fun. The cash register is good for handling and counting money. This would be a great gift for any occasion.

    Best Wishes,
    Margaret

    Reply
    • Margaret,
      That is fun you remember using a cash register when you were little! I’m glad you found the information helpful. I agree, I think a cash register could be a great gift!

      Reply
  3. Wow

    I am a teacher myself and I teach young students and I had problems with some attention of other kids.
    I used classroom management system which works but I also want to include the toys to see how that will turn out.
    I like the microscope idea a lot. Would you suggest one microscope or many?
    Thanx

    Reply
    • Younger students are definitely tough to keep busy! Their attention span is quite short. Using a classroom management system is a great idea as well. Adding relevant toys could also help keep the behaviors under control because the students will hopefully be interested and focused in what you are using and less worried about misbehaving. I would suggest more than one microscope, depending on the size of your group. With younger students I would suggest maybe 3-4 kids per group per microscope. If your budget allows you could have even smaller groups or let them work individually. The more they can be hands-on and actively participating the more they will be engaged and learning! A nice work around with groups is to have them do it as a part of a center so they rotate through different activities but then each one has the opportunity to work with a microscope. This could help with budgeting and you’d potentially only need to buy a few microscopes.

      Reply
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    Reply

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