Top Ten Must-Haves from EdExpo 2015!

On February 22nd I got the chance to attend the EdExpo 2015 in Atlanta, GA, hosted by EdMarket. This is a fabulous venue where companies display their educational products. EdMarket invited about 50 teacher-bloggers, including myself, to vote on our Top Ten Must-Have Products from the thousands that were on display. The bloggers ran the gamut from Pre-K to 5th grade, plus homeschool moms, so the items on the Top Ten had to have wide appeal.

Although not all of the Top Ten products are geared to Early Childhood, they were all innovative and interesting! In future posts I'll be talking more about products that are Must Haves specifically for pre-k to 1st grade classrooms, plus hosting some fabulous giveaways, so be sure to check back for those! In the meantime, check out the products that made the comprehensive Top Ten:

Absolutely, hands down, TouchTronix Letters from Junior Learning was one of the BEST products I have seen for integrating technology in the early childhood classroom! Both the letters and numbers retail for about $30, while the apps are free to download. This app had images for just about every cvc word I could think up, and for those nonsense words, it simply reads the word and leaves the picture blank so that students know it is not an actual word. I LOVED this for substituting phonemes, just touch a letter to the screen to instantly replace the current letter with whicherver one you choose! I'll be blogging more about this in the future and hopefully hosting a giveaway - this is one of my personal Top Ten faves!

The Reading Game was another of my Early Childhood faves! It teaches 180 sight words, most from the Pre-K, K and 1st grade Dolch lists. I've already got a giveaway for this one in the works, so check back to enter soon! Have extra Scholastic Bonus Points? Grab The Reading Game in the Bonus Catalog!

The first thing I did when I got home from the airport was pull out the Say It! Game sample and play it with my family! Totally fun and engaging, we've played it several times since! Right now they only have 4th grade and up, but the creators are working on an Early Childhood version. I am chomping at the bit to be able to play this game with my students - it's great for teaching vocabulary, story telling and sentence structure! If you have any teacher friends in the 4th - 9th grade, tell them about this game - they'll love you for it!

I don't have ADHD, but I couldn't put these Boinks Fidgets down! I found myself wandering the exhibit floor, mindlessly playing with one - they're irresistible! They are a wonderful, QUIET way to help those kids who need something to do with their busy hands! I was talking with another blogger about how they would also help those quitting smoking or those on a diet - give you something to do with your fingers rather than reach for more popcorn!

Have you seen the Goldiblox commercials?! Too funny! But, they have a valid point - it's not enough to simply make pink blocks, we have to entice girls to build (think Pre-STEM people!) with characters and materials that inspire them! Goldiblox now has an Education Kit for classroom use - just look at all these cool parts - don't they make you want to invent something?!

Tying for 5th place was the F.U.N Empty Number Line System. This is a dry erase empty number line The cards range from fractions to different ways to represent whole numbers (numeral, number word, ten frame, pictures). Start at any number you'd like to teach one more, one less etc!

These Math Bands are an upper grade item to help with skip counting and multiplication. Pass this on to whichever teacher in your building is focusing on multiplication fact fluency!

 Love these! And not just because they're an Oklahoma company ;) Busy Fingers from Fiddle Focus are perfect for those kiddos who need some sensory stimulation. They velcro discreetly to the underside of desks or tables, anywhere where a child needs to focus and might need something to fiddle with. The interior of the product is a durable rubber which provides a "push" sensation in addition to the multiple fabric textures. I love that these are so discreet, no one needs to know when a child is using it, and since it velcros on, it won't become a projectile or be fumbled and dropped!

Have kids that really need something to help them with their 3 point grasp? This Pencil Grip might be just the thing!

Chibitronics Circuit Sticker Books were a big hit with some of the upper grade bloggers. It gives students hands on experience with  LEDs, switches and sensors. I'm betting the older kids would love this!

I have to confess that I play with KAPLA Blocks every time we go to the Science Museum in Oklahoma City. In one of the rooms there is a table with buckets of KAPLA Blocks for kids to create with! Each block is exactly the same shape, size and weight, making it a perfect building tool. As you can see from the picture, you can get some pretty impressive architecture out of these blocks, and yet last year when I took my Firsties to the Science Museum, they were just as enthralled with the blocks and spent quite a bit of time working with them! Again, one of my personal faves that you'll hopefully hear more about soon!

Tying for 10th place was Cool Circuits by Science Whiz. This puzzle promotes abstract thinking and spatial reasoning. If you complete the circuit by following the puzzle card (harder than it sounds!) you are rewarded by the board lighting up! The Cool Circuits Junior needs to find a place in my classroom, if only so that I can play with it! I have a feeling this would be one of those activities where the kids would be saying "Its my turn now Mrs. Knopf - you've been playing with it forever!" Again, I'll hopefully have some more info and a giveaway soon!

Can't wait to get your hands on one (or more!) of these fabulous products? Support your local educational product retailer! Click here and select Shop Local at the top right to search for a store in your area!

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