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Toys on the shelf

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Now that Christmas is over, and all the new toys have been unwrapped, why not take some time to check out the educational value of some of the toys? The toys that are available for sale today fit into both categories of educational and non-educational. Toys that teach have several characteristics that can be used to make a decision as to the educational value of the toy. Children often do not even realize that they are learning when they are playing with an educational toy. Educational toys often can become their favorite toy. Some of the characteristics of an educational toy are these:

*Blocks of all colors, sizes, and shapes. Wooden blocks, legos, and linking cubes are all types of blocks that can be used for construction.

*Toys that enable the child to use their imagination. Toys that can be used in a variety of ways enable the child to develop thinking skills in a creative way.

* Toys that can be used for pretend play-housekeeping toys, dishes and cookware, and of course dolls. Boys can benefit from having these toys too!

*Puzzles can develop fine-motor skills.

* Play doh and tools can also develop fine-motor skills.

It is also a great idea to take some time to look at the selection of toys in your early childhood education center for the new year. The Starfish Academy as a part of The Florida Center for Early Childhood uses the OWL early education curriculum, a curriculum that is highly rated in that it uses developmentally appropriate learning toys in its pre-k and VPK classrooms. The manipulatives and toys that are on the shelves in these classroom meet all of the learning domains for early education, and are actually fun to play with. The domains that the toys meet are language and literacy, math, science and social studies, art, physical development, and social and emotional development. Children who play with toys that meet these domains learn skills in these areas with very little effort. They just play!

The Florida Center for Early Childhood Education is located at 4620 17th Street in Sarasota. It has a 4-star rating from Sarasota's early education organization that rates early education centers. This center makes a great benchmark to measure your child's early education center by, and if you are looking for an early education center for the new year, The Florida Center welcomes your questions and interest in enrollment. Interested parents may call 941-371-8820 for information.

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