Toy store owner shares after-school activity recommendations

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 11:44 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Now that the kids are back in school, you may be thinking of some afterschool activities for them that blend learning and fun. The owner of Learning Express Toys of College Station, Bridget Mais, joined BVTM Monday to share some recommendations.

For at-home reading, Jellycat books are interactive and come with a plush toy. Mais said these are great sensory toys that are also good for relieving stress.

“When you come from school, you’re just tired or drained, and then this is just really comforting,” Mais said.

She also recommends Tonies, which can add a twist to any storytime. It’s an auditory device that comes with a corresponding magnetic figure like The Little Mermaid. Once the figure is placed on the device, it sings and reads a story.

Some figures are also able to be customized with anyone’s voice like a parent’s or grandparent’s voice through an app. Mais said this can be a great gift, especially if it’s for someone who lives far away.

“This is a game changer,” Mais said.

Along with reading, Mais suggests games that allow kids to be physically active. Games like Ribb on Ninja and Duck Duck Dance are great physical games that help “get the wiggles out after school.” Mais said these are also great games for the entire family to play.

“The brain just can not handle all this tech stuff at them all the time, so it’s really a way just to change your focus, get moving, get everything physically and mentally on a different spectrum.”

Tactile games like Buildzi are also great for the whole family. Mais described it as Tetris meets Scrabble. It’s a game where players have to build figures upward according to the attached cards.

In addition to these, there are games that are geared towards STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Games like Lego Creator, Magna-Tiles, DIY Mini Nature House and Plus Plus Puzzle are constructive games that take time. ChemisTREATS are science-focused and are edible science experiments that combine candy and chemistry.

Mash-Up Art Pack’s are great for kids with a creative side. The pack includes metallic watercolors, glitter gel pens, glitter markers, a paintbrush, a 20-page art pad and a techniques guide.

Aside from the learning, Mais recommends things like the Scavenger Hunt Journal, the Mineral Science Kit and the Marble Run for just pure fun. The Air Fort is an in-door inflatable fort that only requires a fan to blow up. Mais said this is something anyone can enjoy and adds a twist to the forts many built with sheets as a kid.

Another fun activity is the Singalong Pro Microphone & Speaker. It’s a Bluetooth microphone where anyone can sing along to their favorite song or sing acapella.

For more information on Learning Express Toys of College Station, click here. You can also follow the store on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.