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I'm looking for ideas for an educational toy for a 4-year-old girl. What factors should I look for?

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The answer depends on what you want to achieve; what you mean by "educational". Alphabet? Geometry? Language? Physical education, like balance and motor control? Should it be in book form, or plastic stuff, or wood, or...? I've downvoted the question to motivate you to edit and improve it :-) then I'll turn the downvote into an upvote. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Oct 15 '11 at 17:03
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In what way is a four-year-old a baby? –  Daniel Roseman Oct 15 '11 at 17:22
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Rather than kicking the asker, we should try to improve the question. I have now edited it to reflect my understanding of the question being asked. Feel free to improve it! –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Oct 15 '11 at 19:31
    
Thanks Torben.. –  Sid Oct 15 '11 at 23:39

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'll try to answer, although the question might get rephrased:

You need to take several factors into account. Consider these aspects, and they might help you narrow down your quest into something that is specific enough that you can search for items on Amazon and read some reviews.

  • What is the goal you want to achieve with this toy? Do you want to train the alphabet, or numerical skills, or musical abilities, or body control, etc.?

  • What is the level of interaction you're looking for? Should it be wooden building-blocks, or should it be a laptop-style kid's computer or other electrical/digital device?

  • How should your daughter use the toy? Should she be able to figure it all out herself, or are you planning to act as a guide and playmate?

Perhaps a small easel or blackboard is the thing. I think it encourages artistic play. I've also seen lots of wannabe-laptops for kids which I personally wouldn't buy, but obviously many people do. You could even be very advanced and get the child a small real laptop (a netbook costs around €250 these days) with childrens' programs on it (I think Ubuntu is a Linux flavor that is very well suited for this).

I do encourage you to clarify your question - perhaps this is way off the mark.

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+1 for taking into consideration "should she be able to figure it out by herself". –  Sarato Oct 15 '11 at 20:00

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