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Quick Click: 10 Hot Back-to-School Toys and Books

August 1 , 2007
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Back to school also means back to the store. While you're shopping for school supplies and clothes, you might also decide to pick up a few just-for-fun buys. These fresh new products combine the best of both worlds — fun and learning.

  1. Ultimate Interactive Atlas of the World goes beyond dry geography facts to include fascinating details about mapmaking, weather phenomena, and animals. The sophisticated pages, with various time zone shadow sliders, pull tabs, and flaps, offer lots of intriguing ways for kids to learn about world culture, terrain, people, and history. ($18, ages 9+)

  2. Ready Set Research is a user-friendly guide that answers the many questions that kids have when writing research papers. This innovative tool combines knowledge, humor, and logic to pave the road for research success. ($9, ages 4+)

  3. Clickstart My First Computer allows your youngster to get his first taste of the World Wide Web. With a wireless keyboard, console, and a mouse that suits right or left-handed kids, ClickStart allows your child to play and learn online independently — and safely. ($60, ages 3+)

  4. Off to Kindergarten, by Tony Johnston, tells the story of a boy who plans to tote his bear, a chair, a pillow, and even milk and cookies to school on the first day. He soon learns that his teacher has everything he needs! ($10, ages 4+)

  5. Big Money Magnetic Coins and Bills help teach the value of money, plus simple math skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and making change. This kit also includes an eight-page lesson and activity guide. ($30, ages 5+)

  6. Bob Books now has a fifth volume dedicated to long vowels. Like the other phonics readers in the series, this one offers captivating illustrations and page-turning stories. ($17, Ages 4+)

  7. Basic Vocabulary Photo Cards help early learners and special-needs students develop vocabulary and language skills — a great start to a new school year. ($25 for a set of 156 cards, ages 3–8)

  8. Aquatic Life Scene is a guaranteed source of joy for junior marine biologists. In Playmobil's multi-venue ocean zoo, children can play and learn about sea environments and creatures. ($190, ages 4+)

  9. Design Your Own Puzzle featuring family photos! Legendary toy store FAO Schwarz uses your pictures to create a one-of-a-kind puzzle. Each puzzle piece is uniquely fitted into the shape of children, toys, and animals. (Liberty Puzzles, $150; ages 12+)

  10. Oversized Keepsake Storybooks include classics such as The Little Engine that Could and The Ugly Duckling. The unparalleled quality and vibrant illustrations of these larger-than-life books will keep them in your family for years to come. (Penguin, $85; ages 3+)

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