Best Educational Toys for Toddlers and Kids – Our Top 10 Picks

People who say that buying presents for children is easy probably never went toy shopping.

If you really want to make an impression and positive impact on a child, you will get more than just a toy. Toys and games are actually fun learning tools for kids because they help them get to know the real world that lies beyond nurseries and playgrounds.

Games and toys are the best way to help children learn while having fun, and to help you find the perfect one, we give you reviews of the best educational toys on the market.

Best Educational Toys for Toddlers

Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks

Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks

Blocks are generally considered one of the greatest gifts for children as they encourage creativity and inspire them to build things on their own. While they play with blocks, they are learning about shapes, basic math, and sorting.

Pretty much all parents are aware of the fact that the material of the toys is as important as its design and purpose, and wood is one of the best materials on the market. Unlike some of the cheap, plastic toys, wooden toys are durable and of high-quality, which means that this is one of the best build sets for kids and it will be played with for many years.

The edges of each block are rounded which means that your toddler will be safe while playing with them, and stacking blocks to create different shapes will help develop their fine motor skills. Even though the blocks aren’t colorful they are far from boring, and these building blocks are among the best learning toys for toddlers.

Pros:
  • High-quality material
  • Round edges
  • Easy storage

Cons:
  • Only come in one color

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe

This is a wonderfully versatile educational toy for 2 year old and up, as it can easily be transformed from a simple learning desk into an art station or a chalkboard. There are also interactive activity cards meant to spark interest in art, science, or language in the child.

If your child is artistic and really likes to paint, you can easily turn the desk into an easel and a chalkboard. Not only can this be done in a blink of an eye, but you will also find that there’s plenty of storage space for crayons and chalks.

Still, the board is very sensitive to touch and it might take some time for the child to understand that they’re not supposed to lean on it. It reacts to the slightest touch and leaning on the desk can make all kinds of sounds and cause a bit of chaos.

Pros:
  • Engaging
  • Interactive
  • Great additional features

Cons:
  • You need to buy math, science, art, or language packs separately

Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra Walker

Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra Walker

Learning to walk is one of the most important skills a child can master, but it takes years for them to do so. Parents might not be too enthusiastic about walking around with their back bent all the time, which is why walkers are great choice for kids who are just learning to walk.

Even if your child isn’t walking just yet, all kinds of additions in forms of buttons and a book pages will help develop the child’s fine motor skills and it will also introduce the famous songs about ABCs and 123s. Bright colors and all the buttons are great to keep the child entertained while sitting down too.

The best thing is: as the child slowly starts walking, it can use the walker for support. The toy doubles as a walker and it improves the child’s coordination and balance. The wheels don’t provide enough friction so it’s best if the toy is used over a carpet.

Pros:
  • Multi-functional
  • Great for standing babies who are learning to walk

Cons:
  • Needs batteries

Best Educational Toys for 2 Year Olds

VTech Call and Chat Learning Phone

VTech Call and Chat Learning Phone

Kids seem to be fascinated with mobile phones; they see adults using smartphones and they want to do the same. On the other hand, this also means that toddlers will unintentionally call or text someone, open several apps, or even erase photos from gallery.

This charming interactive toy for toddlers will keep them occupied while at the same time teaching them to use a smartphone to play-call someone. By using chat button, they will be able to use real voice activation and there will be a friendly Chatty Parrot to help them navigate through different apps on the toy phone.

There are different apps that can be used to teach the child about time, numbers, letters, as well as counting. This is a convenient and fun interactive toy which the child will love and that will teach them basic concepts of using a smartphone.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Colorful
  • Interactive

Cons:
  • Might spend the batteries quickly
  • Only available in English

3 Bees & Me Bath Toys for Boys and Girls

3 Bees & Me Bath Toys for Boys and Girls

Boats are generally considered to be among the most popular bath toys for toddlers because they are associated with water, and the absence of sharp edges makes them perfect for kids who like throwing their toys around while bathing.

Magnets are incredibly useful as they allow all the boats to be connected and dragged along. This is great for teaching your child numbers and basic counting and it allows them to connect the boats in any order they want.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that there might be holes that allow water to get in, but those aren’t big enough to drain the same water later on, which can cause mold to grow inside the toys. Make sure you test the toys to see if there are any such holes before you actually bring them to the tub with the child.

Pros:
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Blunt edges

Cons:
  • Hey retain water which can lead to mold

Kids Musical Instruments, Percussion Toy Rhythm Band Set

Kids Musical Instruments, Percussion Toy Rhythm Band Set

While some parents may hesitate to buy their children musical instruments, getting them at least one will help boost their interest in different sounds and music. Not only will they be able to express their creativity, but the use of the instruments will greatly improve their hand and eye coordination.

These colorful instruments are great toys, but they are also useful in developing child’s sense of rhythm as well as their musical skills. They will also have better memory and their attention span will be vastly improved because they will be paying more attention to the sounds around them.

The best thing is that there are several instruments in this set which means that the child can share them with their friends or their family. They can play together choose the instrument that’s most to their liking.

Pros:
  • Comes with its own carrying bag
  • Several instruments included in a pack

Cons:
  • Color may vary
  • Has small pieces that can be swallowed by babies

Best Educational Toys for 3 Year Olds

Crayola Inspiration Art Case: 140 Pieces

Crayola Inspiration Art Case 140 Pieces

Kids like to draw, and they will likely use whatever they find to draw on whatever surfaces they can reach. This is one of the reasons why getting your art-inclined child their own art case sounds like a good idea.

This is a great choice if you want to encourage your kids to embrace their own creativity and express themselves freely. As children grow older they may start to doubt their talent, it’s important to encourage them from an early age. One way is to provide them with the right creative tools, like a Crayola Inspiration Case.

This case is sturdy, portable, and fun. We’re sure both children and parents will love it! It will keep all the markers, crayons, and sheets of paper in place so parent won’t have to pick up pieces from the floor of their car or their home.

Pros:
  • Non-toxic
  • Comes in a well-organized kit

Cons:
  • Sharpener not included

ETI Toys | STEM Learning | Original 101 Piece Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks

Original 101 Piece Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks

It’s sad when you notice that a child spends much more time in front of a TV and computer than actually doing something constructive and useful. As we already mentioned, blocks are among the best educational toys for kids of all ages, but these construction engineering blocks are particularly interesting and inviting because of their design and color.

Not only will children be able to channel their creativity by building vehicles and buildings that they imagined or perhaps saw, but they will be developing their fine and gross motor skills at the same time.

Unlike other building toys for toddlers, these building blocks come with a convenient eBook with 12 different toy designs that will help both kids and parents build different things with ease. Because this is a 101-piece set, kids can share their toys with friends and siblings and feel the joy of teamwork.

Pros:
  • Washable
  • Sturdy
  • Come in a convenient storage tub

Cons:
  • Choking hazard – many small parts

Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set, 24 Piece

Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set, 24 Piece

Squigz are charming toys with a strange name and even stranger design that will win you over in an instant. They are incredibly versatile and can be applied to pretty much any flat surface in the home. Not only do they stick to other surfaces, but they also flex and can be used to build incredibly things.

Because of their interesting and innovative design, children are naturally drawn to Squigz toys and they are thrilled because pieces are incredibly easy to use.

These are wonderful learning tools for kids because they engage their aesthetic as well as scientific side. Children will love playing with strange shapes but they will still strive to build something useful they can use later on.

Pros:
  • Interesting design
  • Flexible
  • Connect easily

Cons:
  • When combined together
  • They might be too heavy to stick to a surface

Best Educational Toys for 4 Year Olds

Outdoor Set for Kids

Outdoor Set for Kids

It seems almost a rule that the best educational toys for 4 year olds involve pieces which are designed to be used outdoors. When kids grow out of the ‘toddler’ stage, they develop a desire to explore the world beyond their home which had been everything they needed up to then, and this is where outdoor toys step in.

This is a great outdoor activity set for curious kids who dream about going on adventures and who beg you to take them camping. These toys might look like toys but those are actually working instruments.

There are:

  • binoculars to watch birds in distance,
  • magnifying glass to explore tiny rocks,
  • flashlight for evening adventures in the backyard,
  • compass that can be worn on a keychain or backpack. and
  • extra backpack to put those “toys” in carry them whenever they want.
Pros:
  • Binoculars and compass come with protective cases
  • Flashlight doesn’t need batteries

Cons:
  • Backpack strings can get tangled easily

My First Daily Magnetic Calendar | Weather Station for Kids

My First Daily Magnetic Calendar Weather Station for Kids

We all want children to be more independent and to feel confident, and a great way to help them gain both independence and confidence is to teach them about the real world. This simple calendar serves multiple purposes as it can be used to teach a children about seasons and weather and help them learn to read dates.

The best thing about these magnetic calendars is that they’re excellent learning tools because they help children get a sense of control. There is also a ‘mood’ category which they can use to express how they feel that day even if they don’t want to talk about it.

The calendar is a great conversation starter because it helps you ask the child about the weather, encourage them to guess what the weather’s going to be like the following day, and to chat about changing seasons.

Pros:
  • Teaches multiple things
  • Thick magnetic back
  • Great colors

Cons:
  • The pieces might be too small for younger children

TINKERTOY 30 Model Super Building Set

TINKERTOY 30 Model Super Building Set

What makes this set really interesting is that it contains 200 pieces and they’re all differently colored and size. If you ever feel like you’re stuck and you don’t have fresh ideas, you can use the brochure with pictures to find inspiration and take it from there.

The best thing is that all of the pieces have been made of sturdy, durable material that’s rather easy to clean, so when your kids are done, you can simply put all of the pieces in a bucket of hot, soapy water and leave them for a while without fear they will be ruined when you get them out.

On the other hand, there are some really small parts, and it’s best not to leave your child playing with the set unsupervised, as they might accidentally swallow some pieces.

Pros:
  • Flexible
  • Soft
  • Fashionable

Cons:
  • Children might find it hard to pull the pieces apart

Best Educational Toys for 5 Year Olds

LEGO Juniors Mia's Farm Suitcase

LEGO Juniors Mia's Farm Suitcase

You are probably familiar with the fact that children love animals, and they are absolutely in love with idea of going to the zoo or visiting a farm. And while it may be difficult for parents to have a menagerie of their own, a simple LEGO farm might do the trick.

With a hundred different pieces including Mia, a mini-farmer, foal and lamb figures, feeding bottles, and different farming and gardening tools, kids will be able to build their own farm from scratch and take care of all the animals by pretend-feeding them and grooming them. Children will learn to care for and nurture animals with this fun kit.

The only thing is – this is advertised as a toy for girls with Mia being the main character and there are only pictures of girls on the box. There is no reason why a boy couldn’t play with this set, as both boys and girls love animals.

Pros:
  • Comes in a sturdy suitcase
  • A hundred different pieces

Cons:
  • Choking hazard – small pieces, Locking clips might not hold

Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone: Wireless Handheld Machine For Kids

Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone Wireless Handheld Machine For Kids

Karaoke parties aren’t just for adults – kids love to sing and dance, and as adults you should encourage them to express themselves through music, movement, and art. Bluetooth karaoke microphone is one of the best electronic toys for kids and adults who love singing. You can easily connect it to an iPod or iPad, charge it, and use it to sing along your favorite songs or just for playing music. It’s portable and rechargeable, and you can even keep it in your car to turn those boring long rides into singing competition.

Another good thing about this piece is that it doesn’t look like a toy.  It’s minimalist design makes it look like a piece of semi-professional equipment. It’s not just for karaoke, you can use it to record something you want to save, or even make fun podcasts.

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Wireless
  • Older kids and adults can use it too

Cons:
  • The speaker sometimes echoes

IQ Challenge Set by GamieUSA - 7 Pcs Kids Educational Toys for 5 Year Olds

IQ Challenge Set by GamieUSA

Puzzles are great, and here you get different ones for one price:

  • metal puzzles,
  • wooden puzzles,
  • puzzle balls and cubes and
  • instruction guide to help children as well as adults understand how each piece should be handled.

If the child gets stuck, encourage them to try a different approach and use the guide to slowly get to the solution. After they have mastered some of the puzzles, you can also encourage them to solve them faster or even make a small competition.

As you get several different toys in one set, you can suggest to them to figure out different toys and give them a more difficult one when they master the easy ones. It will spark their curiosity and challenge them to look for alternative solutions. These are great for keeping young minds active and occupied rather than having them watch TV or Youtube videos all day long.

Pros:
  • Instruction guide included
  • You get several toys for a reasonable price

Cons:
  • The edges can be rough
  • They can be hard to put back together

How to Choose the Best Learning Toys for Kids

To be honest, there isn’t a cheat sheet you could consult in order to figure out what are the best learning toys for your child. Some children love puzzles, others are more into drawing, some like to sing, and the others like spending time outside.

Start slowly and offer your children different toys to understand what they like, but also to encourage them to try different things. It’s best if you combine traditional educational toys such as building blocks with electronic toys, but don’t ignore music and arts as these are equally important for your child’s development.

Types of Toys:

Scientific

It feels like the world is changing more rapidly than we we could ever imagine  and it’s difficult to keep up with all the innovations. Technology and science are a huge part of our everyday life and it’s only natural that we want the kids to feel comfortable around technology.

This is where different scientific toys step in: these toys certainly spark their sense of curiosity while still being fun and engaging enough for children to seek them out on their own.

Science based toys are here to encourage your children’s imagination and creativity by inspiring them to innovate, come up with creative solutions to common problems, but also to encourage them to explore the hidden world of buttons and wires. There are toys which might be classified as classic, such as building blocks, but today you can also find some of the more high-tech toys too.

Not only will the kids learn quickly, but the knowledge that they gain while using these toys will also be effective. The best thing is that they will remain curious about the world while still thinking critically and being inquisitive.

Artistic

Children enjoy playing with colors: watercolors, crayons, markers, chalks, and pens; they like doodling, drawing and painting, and it’s not until much later that they start feeling more self conscious and start doubting their work. On the other hand, if you encourage them to express themselves through art while they’re young, they’ll be much more comfortable doing it later on in life.

This means that perhaps your choice of toys will help them channel their inner artist: painter, sculptor, singer, or dancer. Don’t be afraid to buy children music instruments and encourage them to master at least one. When they know how to play an instrument, children are more likely to be better at reading and writing too. Allow them to sing along their favorite cartoons on toy microphones, let them play music a bit louder, and organize karaoke nights with the rest of the family.

Still, it’s not just music that will help your children’s brain develop – art is important as well. Be supportive of their efforts to draw and paint, praise their work, and buy them art supplies. What starts as love for Crayola crayons in childhood may soon grow to be discovered as talent.

Physical Activity toys

We all know how important it is for children to spend time outside, but sometimes we just can’t let them go out: they might be sick, it might be raining, or you simply don’t have the time. This is where physical activity toys step in and save the day.

Indoor activity toys such as small trampolines, walkers, balancing toys and basketball hoops are great way to keep your kids active while staying indoors. Toddlers and preschoolers can be particularly active and bursting with energy, and these toys will help them blow off some steam.

These active toys are also beneficial because, much like outdoor toys, they work on large groups of muscles and help improve your kids’ balance, strength, and stamina, while keeping them active and happy in the process. Also, if you invite the kids to help you set up their favorite toy, it will also engage their gross motor skills and improve their eye and hand coordination.

Outdoor Toys

A great number of parents as well as teachers and doctors grow concerned with the amount of time children spend indoors, sitting down, and watching television. A good idea to motivate them to go outside is to buy them interesting outdoor toys which will not only keep them entertained, but also help them grow, develop, and learn.

For both toddlers and kindergarten kids who are preparing for school, outdoor play is especially important because it makes them move around and stay active. What is more important, playing outside helps children’s gross motor skills and muscles in their arms, legs, and trunk get stronger. Still, they may not find the outdoors inviting on its own, but when they bring their favorite outdoor toys, the scene changes. They can use magnifying glass to explore the ground beneath their feet or binoculars to notice birds, cats, and dogs or just play detectives. Even simple outdoor toys such as swings, slides, and sandboxes can be a great source of fun.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzles can be simple or complex, and they are one of the most useful learning tools for young children as well as for toddlers.

It’s best to start off slowly and get the children one of those knobbed puzzles with outlines of simple shapes, and slowly progress to more complex pieces such as real world objects or silhouettes which require more consideration and attention.  

Puzzles are great educational toys for children because they teach them several things at once: physical, cognitive, as well as emotional lessons. Fine motor skills are developed when the child takes the piece of the puzzle, slowly turns it in their hands, and carefully places it on the right place. They also improve children’s cognitive skills by making them see the puzzle as a problem and they are supposed to find the ‘solution’ by putting the right pieces together in the right order.

Another important thing are children’s emotions and how they learn to handle them. They are faced with a problem and if they aren’t patient, calm, and composed, they will not be able to solve the puzzle. All these skills help build a well rounded person as they focus on an activity that has an ending.

Dolls and Stuffed Toys

Babies love the texture, and they will often chew or suck their favorite toys, while toddlers will be able to learn empathy and expand their vocabulary. They will be able to memorize names of different toys, but they can also be used to test their own emotions by kissing and hugging, or perhaps throwing and biting them.

As they get older, children will use their imagination on these toys more. In their games even a teddy bear can become a robot, a pony can be a princess and giraffe might even be  an astronaut. They talk to their animals, read to them, keep them close, and find comfort in them after a long day. Stuffed toys and dolls are much like pets, but without the obligation which pets bring, and they are considered to be the best toddler toys.

Parents know how important these toys are to children, especially as they can become attached to them from early childhood and keep them close for many years. Not only will children have a close bond with a special toy and use their imagination while playing with it, they will also wish to make something for their favorite toys such as hoses or new clothes.

Important Things to Look out for

Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve with the toy, there are different things to keep in mind when looking for the best educational toys for your children.

First things first: the age of the child.

Toddlers and preschoolers simply won’t find the same things interesting, and while they might play well together, they require different stimuli. Also, older children are able to play with toys that have small parts while toddlers need adult supervision because they might accidentally swallow smaller pieces.

Second: you should carefully consider the materials used to make the toys in question. The most expensive and quality ones are usually made of wood, but even if the toy you want to buy is made of rubber and plastic, take a good look at the label on the box and see if it’s environmentally-friendly. Fabric should be flame resistant/retardant and any stuffed toys should be machine-washable. Also, any painted toys should have a lead-free paint cover too.

Last but not least: even if you seemingly make a mistake and the children  aren’t immediately thrilled and in love with their new toy, give them time. Sometimes they discover and rediscover toys you thought wouldn’t interest them anymore.

Benefits of Educational Toys

No matter what type of toy you choose to buy, know that all of them will have a positive impact on the children’s cognitive skills and brain development. While they’re out there playing and having fun, children are using their imagination and creativity, developing their fine and gross motor skills, and learning both about the world around them and themselves.

They will follow simple instructions and rules, develop ability to process information as well as to adapt to changes, but most importantly they will learn that there are more ways to solve a problem. What is more important, they will understand that problems and obstacles can be fun, and they will see them as challenges rather than obstructions in life, which is going to be very important later on in life. These toys are also great for children with autism but you should nevertheless consider looking into toys for autistic kids intended for their needs.

Their imagination will come in handy when they wish to build something, and they will be able to express their creativity by drawing, sculpting, singing or dancing. As we grow, we get self-conscious and we hesitate to do these things, but children are different, they’re uninhibited and free, and we should encourage them to stay that way for a long time.  

Another important thing to keep in mind is the effect of games on children’s psyche: when you provide a children with a well-guided play experience, you actually help them develop social skills early on in life. They will learn to interact with other children, they will communicate freely, learn to engage with others in their games and to share their toys, but most importantly, they will learn to face challenges.

They will most certainly find it difficult to cope with defeat and losing a game at first. However, they will, also learn that ups and downs go hand in hand, and it will help them gain mental strength.

Conclusion

It is safe to conclude that there are some really wonderful toys for children, designed to help them develop and grow while still providing them loads of fun. You should take your time when buying toys for a children because you want to give them something that will make positive impact on their development while still being fun and holding their attention for a long time.

The most important thing is to keep children’s age in mind, but don’t be afraid to get them something that’s a bit more complex, as they might grow to love them sooner than you think.