EdExpo 2015: Top Ten Teacher-Chosen Products of the Year

Last week I was thrilled to participate in a unique opportunity. The Education Market Association invited me to join them and a team of fifty education bloggers in Atlanta for their 2015 EdExpo. Our job was to walk the exhibit hall, check out all of the fantastic educational games, toys, resources, and programs available, talk with the creators and distributors, and get to know what’s new and unique.

And then we were to choose our favorite ten products of 2015. Out of more than 1000 vendors and thousands of products – each better than the last.

 

EdExpo2015: Top Ten Teacher-Chosen Products of the Year

 

With a team of fifty education bloggers coming in with their individual top ten choices, you can imagine the work needed to compile those into a cohesive list… the Education Market Association staff had their work cut out for them.

I was thrilled to see that some of my favorites made the final list. And, while I’ll share some of my absolute favorites in the coming weeks, I’m sharing the collective top ten for you to check out as you enter homeschool convention season and start planning your next school year. {And, actually, there are 12 to share because there were two ties.}

 

EdExpo2015: Top Ten Teacher-Chosen Products of the Year

Kapla Blocks {KAPLA Toys}

These made my list, too, and I’m hoping to share more about these in the future. Kapla are simple wooden construction planks that are all the same size and shape, but with a little ingenuity, can yield stunning results. Open-ended creative play is just amazing.

Cool Circuits {Science Wiz}

Another of my top picks, Cool Circuits is a self-checking puzzle that uses circuitry to show when the correct solution is found. I share this and the new Cool Circuits Jr. on my Facebook page often because I think critical reasoning skills are crucial for kids, and there’s no better way to teach those skills than through puzzles and games.

Circuit Stickers {chibitronics}

This was one of the products I most wanted to see when I read about it in the program. Such an amazingly clever idea – using circuit {metal} stickers to create special effects in artwork. I just received the Circuit Stickers Starter Kit in the mail to try out with my kids, and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

EdExpo2015: Top Ten Teacher-Chosen Products of the Year

Pencil Grips {The Pencil Grip}

I have to admit that I missed this booth, but the Three Step Training Kit looks really good. A graduated system of pencil grips to help struggling kids figure out how to hold a pencil correctly is a great idea.

Busy Fingers {Fiddle Focus}

I missed this one, too, and am so bummed. This looks like the perfect thing to help my sensory seeker appropriately fidget when she needs to focus. It’s a simple group of textured fabrics with depth so kids can rub it, and sink their fingers in. I love it.

Math Bands {Learn in Style}

Clever… a bracelet kids will want to wear, that allows them to practice skip counting and learn their multiplication facts as they go about their day. This is perfect for homeschoolers who, like me, are on the go all the time.

 

EdExpo2015: Top Ten Teacher-Chosen Products of the Year

The F.U.N Empty Number Line System {Learning Advantage}

The acronym F.U.N. stands for Fluency and Understanding Numbers and the number line is a unique way to visually represent student thinking as they develop their number sense. I didn’t see this one in action, but it looks wonderful on the web site. Make sure you take a peek.

Goldie Blox {Goldie Blox}

Molly received a few Goldie Blox sets for Christmas this past year – The Spinning Machine, The Dunk Tank, and The Parade Float – and loves them. She wants the new Goldie Blox and The Builder’s Survival Kit next. Their new set for the classroom is stunning. I’d love to get my hands on it, and use it to teach a girls’ engineering class at our homeschool co-op.

Boinks Fidgets {Endless Possibilities}

I first came across Boinks Fidgets at a homeschool convention last year, brought a variety of them home, and all of my kids {especially my sensory seeker and my ADHD ones} reach for them on the days when they need to concentrate. I like the feel of the sealed Boinks Fidgets with the marble inside.

EdExpo2015: Top Ten Teacher-Chosen Products of the Year

Say It! {Felix}

Say It! is a game designed to be played by small groups of kids {perfect for a homeschool family} to help develop vocabulary, teamwork, critical thinking, fluency, and theme building. I had the chance to play it with the designers, and had a blast. Definitely check this one out!

The Reading Game {The Reading Game}

I’m really looking forward to digging into this game {and so is my reading specialist husband}. By the creators of Wordly Wise, a highly successful K-12 vocabulary building curriculum, The Reading Game teaches reading in an incremental and fun way. By the time your kiddo has mastered each level of the game, he’ll have learned the first 180 Dolch sight words. Really great. I love this product.

Touchtronic Numbers and Letters {Junior Learning}

After hearing so many of the other teacher-bloggers rave about these touchtronics letters and numbers, I’m bummed I missed this booth {but with over 1000, and a limited time, it was bound to happen}. This innovative product uses app-based learning with the hands-on fun of using manipulatives to interact with the screen in real time. I’m looking forward to learning more about this cool product.

EdExpo2015: Top Ten Teacher-Chosen Products of the Year

 

There you have it – 50 education bloggers, 1000+ exhibitors showing the best in educational products, and our collective favorites. I’m hoping to bring you some more details about some of my new favorites, and the items I am most looking forward to incorporating in our home, school, and sharing with our local homeschool friends.

In the meantime, check out the links to products, descriptions, developers’ websites, and if you’d like to find them at a local store to check out in-person, the Education Market Association has a great store locator resource to help you find local and independent retailers to buy from.

Which of these interests you the most? Which are you itching to learn more about? I’d love to know your thoughts.

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