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 Subject: Educational Toys Category: Sports and Recreation > Toys Asked by: xnumeral-ga List Price: \$10.00 Posted: 20 May 2006 17:22 PDT Expires: 19 Jun 2006 17:22 PDT Question ID: 730822
 ```I'm in the process of designing a calculator toy. What are the features that a good educational toy for children 5 to 10 should have? Thnak you```
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 ```The absolutely most important thing is that it has to be a toy - it has to be interesting to play with. If you are trying to teach them math, you have to hide the math in a game. For example, it might be an adventure game and they have to solve math-based puzzles to get past certain stages. The age range you mentioned covers a broad range of knowledge, from none to a fair bit potentially. As such, the game shuold scale the difficulty of the puzzles/questions to the level of the player. There could be different difficulty settings, but they shuold go along with different games or there will be no incentive to play again at the harder level.```
 ```What about a set of wooden or plastic rods, square in dimension, of different unit lengths, marked and numbered. The youngest kids would start just using them as blocks, but quickly discover that a 2 unit and a 3 unit rod are together the same length as a 5 unit rod, and so on, might discover that the 3, 4 and 5 unit rods form a right triangle. Maybe you could add later rods with an additional 1/2 unit, also maybe with the 1/2 unit the length of a full unit but cut diagonally so that the end overlapped the end of a similar rod with such a 1/2 unit. This would introduce the concept of mass: why the sloped 1/2 unit, although as long as a full unit, only counts as a 1/2 unit. (Hmmm, another project, should I become a grandfather. The other one is a set of blocks to construct an arch. :) Maybe the toy can lead to playing with Napier's Bones and learning much more about calculating. http://www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~greg/calculators/napier/about.html```
 ```I never thought put myself as that young. So I don't know what visual and tangible toys the kids would crave to play with. But I could suggest a few things. 1. Do you know the first mechanical calculator was built by Pascal? He utilized the differences in rotational speed of gears. In the little display windows, numbers appear for each digit. That type of mechanical model may give kids the sense of increments in each digits. That is, in our world, left most digist increases the slowest. 2. Prepare a board on which many geometrical figure is drawn and pieces of basic figures like triangles and rectangles. By trials and errors, allow kids to fit the pieces on the boards. Unlike jigsaw puzzle figures can overlap to increase the recognition of shapes; there could be a square inside rectangle; there could be triangles in parallelogram; there could be set of triangles in hexagon... 3. To prepare for summation of many digits, they need to learn how to put 1 (10) to next higher digit. How about using set of tubes (9 tubes if the sum is two 3-digit numbers, because the answer will also have at least three digits) and prepare discs representing 1 for each. As they adding the numbers of disc in tubes, they may find tubes cannot contain discs any more. Then they can exchange the one full of tube with different color of a disc (which is going to represent the next higher digit number) (...I'm exhausted of answering Google Answers now lol)```
 ```You may want to take a look at TI's "Little Professor" and LeapFrog's "Turbo Twist" games for some ideas that seem to have been successful in the past. Shorter games will hold a younger child's attention better. There should also be some (relatively) immediate reward system. The younger the child, the less that should be required to receive a reward. You may want to consider sounds and flashing or dancing images as a bonus for correct answers. You could have more complex rewards for several correct answers in a row.```