Toy Theater

Math, ELA games galore overwhelms; best with clear teacher direction

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

K–3

Subjects & Skills

Arts, English Language Arts, Math

Price: Free
Platforms: Web

Pros: This huge collection is bound to have a game or activity to complement a significant majority of elementary school math, ELA, or arts curriculum.

Cons: There's little to guide kids or teachers, games can go on endlessly, and not all games are explained well.

Bottom Line: There are some gems here for making learning fun, but teachers need to guide students towards specific games.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

Toy Theater is massive collection of interactive games that touch on a variety of elementary school learning topics. The most well-covered areas are in math and ELA, but there's also a music section and an arts section. It's easy to get lost here, for both teachers and students. Teachers should spend some time browsing what's available and choosing games that match what they're covering in class. Then, they can direct students to specific games for practice. Alternatively, teachers could let students browse on their own, which could be particularly useful if there's unexpected down time. However, be aware that some games are a bit complex and offer only a brief text explanation. Teachers may find some of the teacher tools helpful, such as pre-made math quizzes. But, there's no room for customization, so to teachers will have to make sure they line up well enough to be worthwhile. There's also no way to create user accounts or track performance over time, so teachers need to generate a report immediately before being passing on to the next student or moving on to another game.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

Overall presentation is busy and risks overwhelming kids. Individual games vary; some are clear-cut and fun while others can be confusing or boring.

Pedagogy

Large collection of games covers lots of material. Depending on the game, learning can be through trial and error, skill drills, problem solving, or creative free play.

Support

Little to help guide teachers or kids through a large menu of games, and no way to track where they've been. Instructions are all text-based. Some assessment tools like pre-made quizzes.  

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