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to think that all these 'learning' toys

(29 Posts)
mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 08:16:33

are simply no different from any toys.

AIBU to get fed up with toy companies marketing regular toys as learning. For example leap frog are advertising a plastic guitar as a learning toy. FFS it's not a learning toy it's a bloody guitar.

AIBU to want companies to stop patronising us parents and marketing everything as learning.

Fakebook Sat 17-Nov-12 08:23:48 do have to learn how to play a guitar don't you?

If you think about it, all toys are learning toys, but then so are normal household objects. Children learn everyday and not necessarily with toys.

I think yanbu.

SavoyCabbage Sat 17-Nov-12 08:26:22

Does it teach you guitar skills? If it does it's a learning toy.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 08:29:37

I agree all toys are learning for children but why the need to market them as educational it's frankly ridiculous.

On a more specific note I also think all the apps that are meant help pre school kids learn maths and reading are particularly unhelpful. We have a phonics system in our schools so the apps that just tell them the word rather than encourage them to spell them out themselves are not doing kids any favours. Different for older children I admit.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 08:31:05

Savoy cabbage,

No it doesn't teach guitar skills it doesn't even slightly resemble the reality of guitar playing. It electronically plays music.

SavoyCabbage Sat 17-Nov-12 08:33:10

Sounds shit then! I hate those fridge phonics things.

Sirzy Sat 17-Nov-12 08:37:14

Depends on the toy. DS has just been given a Peppa Pig phonics thing for his birthday, that is certainly educational.

Some toys are designed to help children learn particular skills and therefore are educational. Others are just for fun (which of course is educational in other ways)

belindarose Sat 17-Nov-12 08:39:55

Play IS learning for kids, isn't it? So all toys are 'educational' I guess.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 08:43:06


I have seen the Peppa pig thing, does it just teach the first single phonic sounds or more advanced ones too like ai, igh, ing, etc?

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 08:44:54

Yes play is learning for kids in the broad sense of the word. It's the fact that market things as educational learning which most are not and which some can actually put children back.

For example learning alphabet toys that start with capital letters!

Sirzy Sat 17-Nov-12 08:45:31

it just does the letter sounds, but it has different levels so builds up to spelling the words.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 08:58:59

Presumably just limited to words that are CVC's and phonetically accurate? Rather than words such as I, be, to, see, etc.

Sirzy Sat 17-Nov-12 09:06:24

yes, but as its an aide to learning not a teacher it does a great job!

insancerre Sat 17-Nov-12 09:18:42

Children learn through play and through exploring.
Learning letter sounds by rote is not really learning if the child is not using what it has learnt in context. Reciting numbers is not the same as counting and singing the alphbet does not mean a child has an understanding of letters.
Everything can be educational to a child. Which is why the boxes are always the favourite on xmas day.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 09:29:14


I agree about learning letters and numbers through these toys, I honestly think it does more harm than good for the children. The context is missing at the most vital part of educational learning.

I think for older children who already understand the context it's different but learning to read through a voice on a computer could surely mess up the contextual side of reading.

Sirzy Sat 17-Nov-12 09:31:27

But they need to learn to recite the numbers before they can count items. These toys aren't designed to teach children they are there as a bit of fun which gets the basics into their heads.

DS was 3 last week, he can count to 50 he can count up to 15 items and he can recognise the numbers written down. I have never sat and taught him any of this but he has picked it up through toys and games and the world around him.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 09:38:24

I disagree Sirzy, the toys ARE marketed as educational learning toys.

I think you are right with numbers because they are ordered but I think reading is far more complex to teach at pre school level and shouldn't be done through electronic toys with no visuals. I think it could confuse and put children off reading.

Sirzy Sat 17-Nov-12 09:40:59

I think that depends on the child and the toy for a lot it can be very beneficial. I think to limit the contexts for leaning is more harming for most.

insancerre Sat 17-Nov-12 09:41:32

Agree, sirzy, of course children need to learn to recite before they count. BUT, most children learn to do this anyway, without the help of so-called 'educational' toys. Wich are marketed at parents wanting their children to get ahead. Which is completely unnecessary and sometimes counter-productive. What a child needs is an adult to spend time with them, not an 'educational' toy.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 09:48:32

I think there is a risk that these toys substitute more engaged ways of teaching pre school children and they may learn sounds incorrectly or out of context.

I do know people who believe the gadgets are a substitute rather than an additional learning tool.

Clearly you are not in this category Sirzy.

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 09:53:29

For example,

The Peppa pig game is all very well but without someone listening, correcting, encouraging and understanding when the child needs to move on it could do more harm than good. I believe blending sounds to words needs more than an electronic voice, it is the start of reading and I think visuals and nurture are so important at that first stage, neither which you get with a game.

stinkinseamonkey Sat 17-Nov-12 10:04:21

I've charity shopped a lot of these electronic "educational" toys as IMO they only confuse and undermine phonics teaching etc, "D" isn't the symbol for dog IYKWIM, its a letter that's in "dog" and many other words, DS was picking up from somewhere that each letter was a symbol for one whole word, he would point at "m" and say 'that's the mummy one", and if you said "yes and "marmite" he'd say "no it's mummy!"

mumsfretter Sat 17-Nov-12 10:25:32

Brilliant example stinkin

Also having capital letters printed on many of the toy keyboards is wrong. For example the capital letter I on a keyboard which when pressed the toy phonetically sounds 'i' it is very confusing. Especially as one of the first tricky words they'll learn is I. They should just print lower case on such basic reading learning tools.

insancerre Sat 17-Nov-12 10:55:03

Look at these
"These imaginative blocks will help children learn the English alphabet with the colorfully fun illustrations of artist Sarah Buell Dowling. Children can identify the letter by the picture, "M" is for "Moon" or "C" is for "Clown". Makes learning fun!"
Surely building blocks are about, erm, building- learning hand-eye coordination and cause and effect, developing physical skills and developing self-esteem by repating and mastering skills?

Narked Sat 17-Nov-12 10:58:06

I don't really understand the point of them. Surely you do all this stuff with them anyway? Counting steps, toys back into the box, plates as you take them out of the dishwasher etc and sounding out letters on signs or books or food packets.

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