Hands-On Learning Tools
Take Top Prizes
Two things: Kids learn best by doing, and what’s most effective for classroom teaching sells well in our industry. That’s why it’s no surprise that dealers selected three hands-on learning tools to receive Eddy Awards at Ed Expo 2014 in Dallas.
The Common Core Critters Kindergarten Bundle from Learning Resources took the top prize. Second was The Very Hungry Caterpillar feltboard set from Little Folk Visuals. The third prize was awarded to TENZI, stacks of dice that can be used to play multiple math games.
The Eddy Awards from Educational Dealer magazine recognize the industry’s best new products. Buyers “voted” for their favorites at the New Product Showcase this year by electronically scanning the products they liked. As the scans came in throughout the show, a leader board displayed the results in real time.
“It was especially exciting for exhibitors,” noted Darlene Roberts from Educational Dealer. “As the top 10 products on the board continued to change and move around, it created a buzz on the show floor. I think the process was very helpful to buyers making decisions on what new things to bring into their stores.”
First Prize – Common Core Critters Kindergarten Bundle
This bug-themed set of learning fun from Learning Resources is designed to help kindergartners achieve the Common Core Standards. “Teachers teach with themes, so I think retailers at Ed Expo appreciated the thematic nature of the set,” explains Dawn Renehan from Learning Resources. “Bugs are cute and always popular; they’re also on a lot of décor, so it keeps the theme going throughout a classroom.
“Catalogers appreciated that it’s six items, but only one SKU,” she added. “I don’t think, as a bundle, it’s necessarily something stores would carry. Instead, they’d stock each individual item.”
Here’s what’s in the bundle.
100 Ant Picnic Math Activity Set
The double-sided 100 board looks like a picnic blanket. One side is numbered; the other is blank for writing on and wiping off. It comes with 100 ant counters in blue and in yellow, and an activity guide.
Buggy Beads Counting Frame
On the aBUGcus that looks like a leaf, kids slide the ladybugs along to count, add, subtract and more. It comes with an activity guide.
Shapes Don’t Bug Me Geometry Activity Set
Kids use the translucent pieces and double-sided activity cards to create 2-D pictures.
Buggy Balance Measurement Activity Set
A tree-themed scale, and the caterpillar and leaf manipulatives, help kids understand heavier/lighter and taller/shorter.
In the Garden Critter Counters
A package of 24 counters includes dragonflies, snails, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders and bees in four different colors.
10 on the Spot! Ten-Frame Game
This bingo-style game is not about matching, it’s about making 10.
Second Place – Eric Carle Precut Felt Set
Striking pictures from the classic children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar are featured in this precut felt set of 14 pieces. Using the set, children interact with the story of their favorite caterpillar as it grows into a beautiful butterfly. It also helps teach the days of the week, counting, good nutrition and more.
The felt sets from Little Folk Visuals have been a staple in homes and in school and church classrooms for 30 years. They originated in the mission fields of Asia where Marie Lukens, grandmother of company president Michael Firman, handmade them to illustrate the Bible stories she told to children. Dixie Firman, Michael’s mother, founded the company in the 1980s.
Third Place – TENZI, from Carma Games
Let’s start with the name. According to Vat 19 (“Purveyors of Curiously Awesome Products”), “tenzi,” is a portmanteau of the words “ten” and “frenzy.” Another source said it follows “onesie, twosie, threesie… tenzi.” Either way, it’s an apt name for this stacks-of-dice product that offers fast open-ended play based on counting the dots.
Here’s how Scholar’s Choice in Canada describes it: “Everyone gets 10 dice. Someone says, ‘Go.’ Then everyone rolls and rolls as fast as they can until someone gets all their dice on the same number.”
Each set includes 10 dice of four different colors, and a rules sheet to play eight different games. They help develop eye-hand coordination and enhance numeracy for ages 8 and up.
by Tina Manzer
Photos of winners by Ellen Dallager