Guess what?! We just got back from the 2018 Toy Fair in New York City, and we have found some amazing classroom toys. Whether you use learning centers, early finisher spaces, indoor recess, or demonstration lessons, we found the right toys for the job. Here are 19 of the best 2018 toys for the classroom.
Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!
1. Tall Stackers (Ages 2+)
The perfect introduction to more advanced building toys, like K’Nex and LEGO. A rubber pegboard serves as the foundation as little hands use the stacker pegs to build toward the ceiling. The perfect tool for teaching color sorting and matching, adding and subtracting, and fine motor skills.
2. Wonder Crew Dolls (Ages 3+)
Yes, finally a toy maker has realized that boys like playing with dolls (and girls like playing with dolls that are boys)! These cool little dudes come dressed as superheroes and are ready for hours of imaginative role play. The best part is that its a diverse collection, ensuring that your students can see a bit of themselves in their new favorite buddy.
3. Mathematics Lab (Ages 3+)
A lively, hands-on card game filled with basic math equations. Students will need to combine their math skills with some quick hand-eye coordination as answers to the equations are launched at them on little discs. Solve the equation. GRAB the answer. Exciting math review game.
4. Automoblox (Ages 3+)
We thought these were so charming and old school. Let’s face it, everyone loves to play with cars. Automoblox offers a solution where we can tap into that love of cars without losing a chance to learn. Taking it a step past simple Matchbox cars, these cars let kids build and swap parts, challenging students’ creativity and ingenuity.
5. Super Duper Swing (Ages 3+)
This would rock any school’s playground and keep kids safer as well! At less than $100, maybe you can use the arrival of springtime to lobby an administrator to find money in the budget for this amazing playground swing. Fun for teachers too!
6. Live Butterfly Growing Kit (Ages 4+)
I loved using these in my first grade classroom. It’s nothing short of miraculous. The kit comes with five caterpillars that will change into real Painted Lady butterflies right before your students’ amazed eyes. Nothing welcomes spring in quite the same way. Their ladybug kit is also fascinating!
7. Zingo (Ages 4+)
Perfect for pre-readers and early readers, this bingo-style game is made up of tiles with simple words accompanied by pictures that they must match to a Bingo board. Fast-paced and exciting. A favorite of our kids.
8. Robot Turtles (Ages 4+)
Inspired by the Logo programming language, this board game teaches kids the fundamentals of computer programming as they program with playing cards. The most heavily backed board game in the history of Kickstarter when it first came out, this game is sure to engage students in some creative problem solving.
9. Yoga Spinner (Ages 5+)
Perfect for a PE class but also the ideal addition to any classroom looking for a quick way to get kids up and moving. The Yoga Spinner is sure to be a hit. Focusing on teamwork and achieving a common goal, this game will improve kids’ flexibility and balance while getting their blood flowing.
10. Augie the Robot (Ages 5+)
Certainly the most expensive item on our list at more than $250, this would be a great addition to any classroom with the funds to purchase it––think PTO. Students learn how to code by controlling Augie’s movement, sounds, and LCD screen. Through five different modes of play, the robot grows right along with your students, challenging them to continue to grow their emerging skill set as future coders.
11. WAFF Play Mat (Ages 6+)
An ingenious waffle board made out of rubbery plastic allows kids to spell out words, practice math equations, and create their own designs and games. Square tiles with numbers and letters attach to a waffle board and are easily removed and replaced. Really engaging way to practice some fundamentals.
12. Laser Chess (Ages 8+)
Combining the strategy of chess with the fun of real lasers, this two-player game will have students using all the reasoning skills you have taught them in a quest to vanquish their opponents.
13. Make ‘n’ Break (Ages 8+)
A great logic and spatial relations game for 2–4 players. Perfect for an indoor recess or activity center, this game will couple the critical reasoning skills of building blocks to match the pictures on the playing cards with the fun of failed builds crashing down.
14. Rush Hour (Ages 8+)
This one is a classic. Spatial puzzle consisting of a grid with cars placed according to pictures on each playing card. Students must slide cars up and down, left and right, in order to free the car caught in the traffic jam and get it out. From beginner to expert, this provides lots of room for increasing challenges as students get better.
15. K’Nex Education (Ages 9+)
A series of educationally focused building projects made by the classic building toy maker K’Nex. Each one comes with a comprehensive teacher guide and student guide for student-led experiential learning. Challenging and fun and perfect for STEM enrichment.
16. Mathable (Ages 9+)
Think Scrabble for math. This game has students creating equations––addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division––and scoring points. Set up works just like Scrabble, with wooden tiles, wooden rails for storing tiles, and a common playing board. Great for practicing basic computations.
17. 5 Second Rule (Ages 10+)
A word association game where students are given a topic and have only five seconds to name three things associated with it. High on the excitement spectrum with a tight time frame and lots of tripping over your words. Great for practicing word association and quick thinking.
18. Word A Round (Ages 10+)
Who knew that having the letters of a word written in a circle could make it so hard to read? Each disc-shaped “card” has three rings of letters. One of those rings spells a word. If you’re the first to figure out what the word is, you win!
19. Dictitious (Ages 17+) (maybe for a staff meeting!)
What if “perverse” was spelled “purrverse”? What would that word mean? In this hilarious game, students make up definitions for fictitious words and vote to see which is best. This is great game for kids nearing the end of high school, as long as you remind them to keep it clean!
Have you discovered any awesome 2018 toys? We’d love to hear about them! Come and share in our WeAreTeachers Chat Facebook group.