TwisterzWhen we’re running out the door on one of our million weekly errands, it’s way too easy to just grab the iPad or a handheld electronic game to occupy the kids. But in my ongoing quest to “unplug” a little more often, I’ve discovered a neat line of hand-held edu-toys that will keep preschool-age kids entertained without a single beep, bell or whistle.

Twisterz is a handheld tube with moveable rings in the center that young kids can spin around  to practice letter sounds, spelling or beginning story telling, depending on the version you choose. I love that each tube is a self-contained toy without parts that will spill all over the floor of the car, even if it’s being passed back and forth between kids.

And the price is really great—especially when you factor in all the batteries you won’t have to buy.

The largest set, Alphabet Twisterz, is my top pick for beginner learners since it helps kids learn how letter sounds are used in words. Kids will line up the “T” on one side of the Twisterz, and then find all the pictures that start with the letter in that row. As they get comfortable, you may ask them to find pictures that end with a particular sound, or even just pictures that have a certain letter sound inside them.

Since not all letters can fit on one ring, there are additional rings with letters and pictures on them that can be replaced by unscrewing one end of the Twisterz tube.

Older kids, like my crew, will like the Story Starter Twisterz. And I found Twisterz Word Builder to be the hardest one for young children to use on their own since it requires the ability to spell and sound out words–unless you are my son and just want to spell words that make absolutely no sense and are impossible to pronounce. Then it’s a win. –Christina

Twisterz handheld educational toys can be purchased from Twisterz Toys or from our affiliate Amazon.