An electronic education!
Children of this age absolutely love technology, from surfing the Internet to looking after their tamagotchi. There are vast amounts of electronic toys on offer, some with little educational benefit at all. But if you are keen on your children enjoying themselves and aiding their learning, here are some of the best...
Our testers tried out three of these kits, Primary, Primary Plus (for 8-11 year olds) and Cars and Boats. All were absolutely terrific, and kept them entertained for ages.
What's particularly brilliant is how well these kits are designed, with wires and components mounted on sturdy plastic holders that clip together easily. Children can make electric circuits, and even sounds, as well as their own boats and cars (particularly popular).
Although these are not cheap, we would recommend them heartily. They are even designed to fit with the National Curriculum!
Yes, this is an expensive purchase, but it gives your child a whole world's worth of knowledge, and should be able to aid their learning for years.
It truly is wonderful - our testers loved it, especially the Smart Pen which can be used to touch countries and find out so much about them, from their national anthem to their flag. There are loads of fun features, from the flying distance between different places, to a special pull out UK map. There is also the possibility of making sure the globe stays up to date by registering it online and using updates. A state of the art, remarkable toy.
Math Whiz, Learning Resources, Age 6+, £24.99
This is a terrific little product, designed to help children learn their maths, but with lots of excellent extras (a timed facility, different ability levels) to ensure that boredom doesn't set it. It offers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and was enjoyed by all our testers - the 6 year old, 8 year old and their father!
Our seven year old tester really enjoyed playing with her own laptop computer, although her parents weren't quite as convinced that it was as brilliant as she thought (the display wasn't great, for example, and it is pricey). Still, it definitely has educational benefits, with games and quizzes, and a variety cartridges for different subjects including French and Geography.
3 and a half out of 5
This innovative product is made by LeapFrog toys, who have a great track record when it comes to fun, educational products for kids. It's a lovely idea, basically a pen that reads and plays innovative games with a child.
Our testers (5 and 7) did enjoy it, but seemed to feel a bit cheated that it didn't come with a more computer-like set up (they actually preferred LeapFrog's Leappad learning set). Still, it was good fun, offers more educational opportunities online and will soon have more books on offer too!
3 and a half out of 5.