Toy trend is less screen time, more hands-on activities

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Toys that teach with high-tech are increasingly popular, but not every plaything with a screen or an app is educational.

NEW YORK —

Toys that teach aren’t a new thing, but a growing number are calling for kids to build with blocks, circuits or everyday items before reaching for a tablet screen.

Play is how kids learn about the world around them, whether it’s a toddler throwing a ball or teens playing video games. It’s about seeing how things work and what happens when they do something. Over the years, toys have become more high-tech to keep screen-obsessed children engaged with such play.

But there’s growing worry among parents and educators that toys are moving too far in that direction. Educational toys that have a math and science bent — marketed under the umbrella of STEM — are now trying to get back to the basics: less…

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