Preschool's out for Summer, but, it's an optimal time to continue the play-based learning the tykes experience in the classroom. Take a look at some of our favorite toys that stimulate young minds.
The newly released Tag Jr.  ($35) will aid tots in developing their prereading skills. A younger version of the Tag , Tag Jr. uses a larger stylus to "read" words and pictures from age-appropriate books (e.g., Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? and How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?), helping kids see the relationship between words and stories.
Wooden See and Spell
Melissa & Doug's Wooden See and Spell  ($20) looks like it came right from the classroom. The simple three- and four-letter words help tots recognize letters and begin to learn how to spell.
Magnetic Alphabet Fishing Set
Learning Resource's Magnetic Alphabet Fishing Set  ($40) helps tots continue their letter recognition both in the bath and on dry land. Make a game of the fishing exercise to create words or sort by colors.
Pattern Play Block Puzzle
The Pattern Play Block Puzzle  ($25) can be used for sorting, pattern, and symmetry lessons. Using the pieces both on and off the tray will increase the number of ways the set can be used.
Smart Snacks Sorting Shapes Cupcakes
Learning Resource's Smart Snacks Sorting Shapes Cupcakes  ($19) help preschoolers work on their sorting and shape recognition skills and fine motor development.
Naturally Playful Sand and Water Table
Step 2's Naturally Playful Sand and Water Table  ($80) brings a favorite classroom activity straight into the backyard. Change up the items found in the table with bubbles, sponges, shells, boats, and more to increase the fun.
V. Smile TV Learning System
VTech's V. Smile TV Learning System  ($55) is an educational introduction to video games. The included games help kiddos with letter recognition through sight and sound.
Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set
Melissa & Doug's Slice and Bake Cookie Set  ($12) can be used to work on counting skills as well as processes. From slicing the cookie dough to baking the cookies and then placing toppings on them, lil ones learn about the steps used to create a treat.
Gearation  ($40) is a great toy for teaching children about cause and effect. As they place the gears onto the board, they can see exactly how they will make the other gears move.
Jump 'n' Jam Jungle Talking Floor Mat
Learning Resources' Jump 'n' Jam Jungle Talking Floor Mat  ($28) helps tots fine-tune their listening skills while directing them to move to different animal sounds and shapes.