Toys and Games to Keep Kids’ Learning Sharp Over the Summer

Background on Sherry:

Sherry Artemenko, Speech Language Pathologist and Toy Expert is here to share super fun toys to build language skills through creative play and storytelling, keeping brains sharp over the summer break.Today I am featuring some of the PAL Award’s latest winners that spark smart play. Information on all these toys is on my website,

Lily Pond By SimplyFun, 4 years and up, ($34.00)

  • wonderful reading/spelling game, good teacher gift
  • each child gets 3 word cards to spell
  • roll the die, hop your frog that many lily pads to reach the letter you need
  • use letter tracker to see where you are in sequence
  • watch other players, land on the letter you need, you advance tracker
  • practice letter recognition, spelling, sequencing, vocabulary, matching, reading

Gotta Word by Cortex Toys, 10 years and up ($19.99)

  • Draw a funny definition card, like..
  • Everyone chooses 2 word-parts from their hand of cards that matches the definition
  • Assigned Wordmeister decides which combo best matches the definition
  • Another name for chili cheese fries..PYRO-FACE
  • Lots of laughter as the judge uses the words in a sentence
  • Search for associated word parts that represent a specialized person, situation, object or emotion

Guess it, Get it, Gumballs by Peaceable Kingdom/Mindware 4+($15.95)

  • This is a game of faces and feelings
  • Spin, slap the gumball grabbing mirror and and make a face
  • stretch your face to look scared, silly, ,mad, excited, sad or happy
  • When did you feel that way? What makes you feel____
  • EQ, emotional quotient is a hot topic these days, parents and educators know the value of teaching kids to identify and manage emotions
  • Can increase EQ which is the strongest indicator of success in life

Gravitrax Trampoline, by Ravensburger, 8 years and up, ($24.99)

  • Recommend Gravitrax sets for kids 8 and up
  • Design and build 3D interactive marble run and construction set-gravity, magnetism and kinetics
  • Love to watch kids build, modify, collaborate, solve problems
  • New trampoline accessory has angled tiles that launch marble onto tramp
  • “That’s why they’re so cool!”
  • Perfect storm between STEM and Language skills

Summer Big Fun Workbooks by Highlights, K-1st Grade ($12.99)

  • Parents often ask how to keep skills sharp over summer
  • Perfect set of activities targeting skills aligned with school standards
  • Designed to get kids ready for K-2nd grade
  • Focused on letters, reading, writing, addition, subtraction, measuring
  • Can divide the summer into 8 weeks/8 chapters
  • I love “It’s Time to Rhyme search for star in jar, or stork with a fork
  • Reward stickers and activities to take learning outside

Snow Leopard Cub and Robot Puppet by Folkmanis, 3 and up, ($59.99, $55.99)

  • Grandma said, “It looks real!”
  • Folkmanis always teaching the next generation about endangered animals, information that kids learn and use in their role play
  • Robot story based on a folk tale, boy entered contest to make robot out of nuts and bolts, sister gave heart for good luck
  • Puppets encourage kids to talk, role play, converse, building confidence and essential language skills

Pop Up Shop by Hape, 3 and up, ($149.99)

  • I love pop up shops because element of surprise-where will they show up? kitchen, patio, or playroom
  • Kids take on roles, taking orders, adding up purchases on calculator, write out daily specials practicing reading and writing
  • Parent said, “It could turn into a Farmer’s Market
  • Children learn more language as they imitate events in their everyday life