Learning Toys to Prevent the Summer Slide (Because They’ll Go Back to School Eventually)

Learning Toys to Prevent the Summer Slide (Because They’ll Go Back to School Eventually)

They may be getting more ice cream brain freezes now, but these learning toys will keep their minds sharp this summer

Sure, summer means longer days, damp bathing suits, popsicles for breakfast, and of course, a break from homework. We definitely think those are reasons to celebrate, but with all the play and relaxation, there’s a chance you’ll run into the summer slide. This (relatively new) concept has experts keeping us on our toes (like we needed another thing), warning that the 3-ish months of summer vacation can lead to a learning regression that can make heading back to school a challenge. Yikes, right? Don’t panic. While younger kiddos are more susceptible to the summer slide, there are some easy ways to prevent it. Enter educational learning toys.

If you cringed reading that, it’s okay. “Educational toys” makes us think about boring toys-that-are-actually-schoolwork. The ones that get used once—if that—and feel way more like a chore than play. And we all know the best way for kids to learn is through play. So we’ve done some digging and found some really cool toys that will not only beat the boring blues, they also keep their minds firing on all cylinders. These are serious summer heroes. Whether you’re hoping to focus on math, reading, writing, or a general combination, they’ll have fun and maybe even let you get through a full Zoom meeting without interruption while they sharpen their skills.



Storypod is the only audio player for 0-6-year-olds focused on early child development. Instead of being just another audio toy, it’s an audio learning system your child can use from birth to elementary school. You’ll find something to soothe the daily bedtime routine, engage listening, and learning across every product mapped to specific ages and stages. From yarn figures for the littlest ones, books to spark early reading interest and literacy skills to interactive stickers that allow you to create custom and eternal audio memories and stories. 

Whether you choose to snag the Storypod alone or as a subscription where you'll save $20, this'll be one that stays with your kiddo for a while. Storypod ($99.00)—Buy Here!  Storypod Subscription Bundle—Buy Here!

*Save 15% with code TINYBEANS15 through 6/30!



Kiddos learn best when they’re engaged in hands-on learning, and Osmo teaches with games connecting digital-physical interactions. Each game is designed to bounce the image of the game pieces or drawing the player arranges right onto their device screen. They’re able to see how their movements impact their game, blending the digital game world with their moves in front of them. And don’t worry—the Osmo Reflector is covered so it only captures images in a bounded area. Your child’s privacy is always protected. 

Math, reading, and even coding are all at their fingertips, and your Osmo Starter Kit is based on your little one's age and skill level. Oh, and Osmo is compatible with iPads or Fire Tablets. Osmo (Starting at $69.00)—Buy Here!

Kiwi Crate from KiwiCo


KiwiCo creates educational toys for kids 0-16, so they know a thing or two about stimulating their imagination. You can purchase their kits one at a time, or you can take the subscription route and get the fun delivered monthly. Kiwi Crate ($23.95+)—Buy Here!

Botley Coding Robot Activity Set

Learning Resources/Amazon

Botley is ready to code right out of the box! Have 5 AAA batteries and a Phillips screwdriver nearby and this coding robot will have your kiddo coding in minutes with code games, creativity, and fun. Botley comes with a remote programmer, detachable robot arms, 40 coding cards, 6 double-sided tiles, 27 obstacle building pieces and a starter guide with coding challenges. Botley Coding Robot ($54.06)—Buy Here!

Animal Island Sit & Play Plus Preschool Learning System


This system is designed specifically to keep toddlers engaged and stimulated with an ad-free, subscription-free content. Focus on cognitive development, early literacy, numeracy education, social skills, and emotional growth easily with this toddler tablet. Animal Island Sit & Play Plus Preschool Learning System ($229.00)—Buy Here!

Matching Letter Set


Designed for kids ages 3-5, this Matching Letter Set includes 30 cards with 60 different words, 10 letter cubes, and a tray to help your little learn letter recognition, object recognition, spelling, and word formation. See ya, flash cards. Available in 3 colors. Matching Letter Set ($15.99)—Buy Here!

Talking Sight Words


Okay, maybe we lied. We'll keep the flashcards, as long as they're as entertaining as these. They teach kids how to pronounce the words on each card, plus helps them identify sight words, spelling, and developing speech skills. Talking Sight Words ($27.89)—Buy Here!

I Can Write


With 6 double-sided activity mats, 2 Skilly Billy dry erase pens, 1 duster cloth, and 1 achievement certificate, this learn-through-repetition set will keep them practicing their writing all summer. I Can Write ($24.97)—Buy Here! 

Pix Brix Pixel Art Puzzle Bricks

Pixelate Everything/Amazon

Create your very own Vincent Van Gogh masterpiece! This 2D pixel puzzle comes with 2,408 pieces, a color-coded template and a Pix Brix tool for easy building. Pix Brix Pixel Art Puzzle Bricks ($34.57)—Buy Here!

The Fidget Game

The Fidget Game

Created by a kindergarten teacher devoted to exploring fun ways to teach reading to young kids, The Fidget Game aims to teach curriculum-appropriate Dolch Words or sight words from Pre-K to 3rd Grade kids. This game can help your kids recognize, read, pronounce, spell, and master these high-frequency words from the Dolch List. Not only will they stay reading, they might even be heading into the school year ahead. The Fidget Game ($29.99)—Buy Here!

Frog Balancing Math Game


The frog balance scale set comes with 30 double-sided cards, 19 small frog figurines, digits 1-10, 2 weighing plates, and 1 frog scale. It helps teach kids the correlation between seeing numbers and recognizing them in writing. It also comes in a pig version, if that's more your speed. Frog Balancing Math Game ($17.00)—Buy Here!

MathLink Cubes

Learning Resources/Amazon

They won't realize they're practicing math, engineering, and creative skills while they design anything their imagination can dream up. MathLink Cubes ($19.59)—Buy Here!

The Ultimate Fort Builder


The Ultimate Fort Builder includes 45 poles and 25 connectors—perfect for creating any fort you can imagine—plus a step-by-step guide that shows you how to build everything from a kid’s castle to a super-cool igloo. The Ultimate Fort Builder ($59.99)—Buy Here!

Pix Brix Paint Can

Pix Brix

This paint can set comes with 1,500 assorted colors, available in light, medium and dark palettes. This mixed set is a perfect starter kit for all pixel and construction toy fans to build anything you can imagine. Pix Brix Paint Can ($29.98)—Buy Here!

All the products listed are independently & personally selected by our shopping editors.

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