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Stuff We Like: Get Creative with Lakeshore Learning


If you've got a preschooler, you're no stranger to this question. You may even be more than a little tired of hearing it, since our naturally curious tots tend to repeat it over and over and over again, causing us to scramble for answers that are both truthful and digestible for a 4-year-old. We may long for our little ones to outgrow the "why?" stage, but we should actually celebrate it and try to sustain it as long as possible. "Why?" you ask? According to author and educator Diane Rosen, a curious child’s natural inclination to question and challenge the status quo is essential to personal, professional, and academic success in today’s rapidly changing world. Rosen suggests that the best way to teach and develop creative thinking is by making these habits of curiosity part of your child’s life every day. One easy way to do that? Choose toys that promote creativity. These five toys from Lakeshore Learningencourage creative play, role-playing, and hands-on exploration, helping your child to exercise his creative muscle and sustain his natural curiosity beyond the early elementary years, when natural curiosity and creativity begin to decline. Lakeshore Learning is dedicated to creating innovative educational materials that spark young imaginations, instill a sense of wonder, and foster a lifelong love of learning. Check out our top five picks from the company's impressive line of educational and fun products:  

Bristle Builders for Toddlers

bristle builders block set

When it comes to creative play, building blocks are a no-brainer. The Bristle Builders Master Set ($39.99) includes 110 unbreakable blocks designed specifically to ensure building success for toddlers (ages 3-6). The soft bristles interlock when pushed together and stay attached until pulled apart. The set contains blocks in lots of shapes and sizes, plus wheels that really turn. A lower-cost option is the Bristle Builders Starter Set($19.99), which includes 51 bristled blocks for creative building.  

STEM Science Station: Magnets

magnets kit for kids

Kids can use magnets to push cars up a ramp, move a magnetic mouse through a maze, and more, as they learn all about magnetism and magnetic fields with the STEM Science Station: Magnetskit ($39.99; ages 4-6). The kit includes eight cards that prompt students to perform simple experiments, with all the hands-on materials to complete each one. Plus, the station features an engineering activity to extend the learning and build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.  

Storyteller’s Box

storytellers box for kids

Children ages 3-6 will discover all the details they need to tell their own amazing stories every time they reach inside the Storyteller's Box ($19.99). Perfect for oral language practice, boosting vocabulary, exploring story elements, and more, this ready-to-use box contains 45 color-coded prompts, each with cute illustrations of characters, locations, and situations that help young storytellers get started. Children just reach in and pull out a card from each compartment of the box, then use the who, what, and wherethey selected to tell their own original story.  

Lakeshore Building Cubes

building cubes

Similar to blocks, these Lakeshore Building Cubes($19.99) introduce kids ages 3-6 to geometric shapes while allowing them to build up, build out, and break down to build again. Each hinged cube opens diagonally and interlocks cube to cube to create symmetrical patterns and one-of-a-kind figures. Thirty interlocking, textured plastic blocks come in three colors.  

Tell-A-Story Dress-Up Trunk

costume trunk for kids

What child doesn't love to play dress up? With this Tell-A-Story Dress-Up Trunk($99.50), your child can use costumes to help bring childhood fables or stories of their own creation to life. Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and Goldilocks & the Three Bears, this 11-piece set creates endless role-play options.  

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Kaitlin Ahern

Author: Kaitlin Ahern has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. See More

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