School’s out: Products to educate and entertain young kids at home

Keeping kids entertained and engaged while staying indoors is no small task. These products may help.

Yoto Play - A screen-free audio platform for kids

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When young children spend a lot of their time at home, parents face a difficult task. How can they keep them entertained while still supporting their education?

Fortunately these days, it’s far easier to get hold of the types of learn-by-play products a child will commonly encounter in a school setting, meaning they can continue to develop their motor and cognitive skills even when they’re outside of the classroom. For parents, the fact these toys are often created to mirror or complement the school curriculum is a huge bonus.

“There are thousands of [these apps and products] out there,” says Kai-Leé Berke, an early childhood educator and senior advisor to Promise Venture Studio, which supports entrepreneurs working in the early childhood development space. “The learning technology that exists and is generally sold into school systems is now coming home, and [parents] are becoming more discerning consumers of these experiences for their kids.”

The ‘edtech’ market, as it’s known, is expected to bring in $93.76bn this year as an increasing number of companies launch new products and services just for kids. Berke advises that parents look for products that blend physical and digital experiences so that kids can get as robust an understanding of a topic as possible, while also remembering that the toy should also provide some harmony for the adults. “If I have a preschooler and I need to get on a Zoom call, if I know that playing [with a certain game] is going to keep him occupied for an hour, that’s the reality of my life as a parent,” she says. Here are 9 brands we’ve spotted combining kid’s education and entertainment in interesting ways.