Electronic toys: more entertainment than education

Electronic toys can be entertaining for your little ones, but they might not be as educational as you thought.

In a study by Northern Arizona University, researchers found that books, blocks and puzzles do a better job of teaching babies and young children how to communicate with their parents and develop verbal skills.

It’s not that electronic toys are bad for children, the researchers said. But they suggested that parents value those toys for entertainment and not for education.

 If you still want to surprise a little one with an electronic toy this holiday season, here are three that the writers at Parenting.com recommend:

  1. Alphaberry. This nifty toy tells children the names of letters as they push them on a large keypad. It also plays educational songs for the children to dance to. The manufacturer recommends Alphaberry, which costs about $22, for children at least 18 months old.
  2. VTech InnoTab. This toy features interactive reading and learning videos as well as games. Most of the videos and games involve fun and engaging learning exercises. The $79 device is appropriate for kids 4 to 9 years old.

  1. LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet.  This small tablet for children offers more than 100 books, apps, games and learning activities involving math, English and science. Designed for 4- to 9-year-olds, the toy costs approximately $99.