Educational Toys For Toddlers

What are the 'best' educational toys for toddlers? Is there such a thing?

Let's first agree what exactly we mean by the 'best' toy! I think the answer is actually very simple. But first...

Wood peg board
Wood peg board

Ask yourself this... why would anyone want to buy a toddler toy for the mere sake of only its play and fun value? Why not rather opt for one does much more than that. For exactly the same money your child will have fun AND... if you chose wisely, have a toy to develop and advance your child's skills.

The thing is, toddlers are at the age where they learn by exploring and doing. So why don't we rather chose very specific toys to let them learn the very important skills we know they need while they're actually having fun?

I'd say this is definitely a much, much better option... and value for money!

So... let's search around trying to find a few 'best' educational toys for toddlers.

Recommended educational toys for toddlers #1

Toddlers are at a stage where they take interest in simple construction toys. And, as you know, this gives the skills to do more complex construction tasks and develops hand and finger skills... a very important preparation for writing at school.

Construction toys can literally be any toddler toy that can be safely taken apart and put together again... or parts taken out and put back again.

So, let's combine our toddler's natural interest and what skills s/he needs to develop and also in preparation for school.

Some of the tot toys that'll help here are...

wooden and construction building blocks

First builders blocks
First blocks

Magnetic building blocks
Magnetic blocks

Duplo blocks are exactly double the size of a Lego block. They can therefore be mixed and used as one set.
Duplo blocks

strings of beads...

preferably big, colorful beads that small hands can easily handle

Toddler beads
Toddler beads

Stringing ABC's
Stringing ABC's

Jumbo lacing beads
Jumbo lacing beads


interlocking blocks

Mass blocks
Mass blocks

Click blocks
Click blocks

Snap cubes
Snap cubes


peg boards with big pegs, and even...

Stacking peg board
Stacking peg board

Toddler peg board
Toddler peg board

Stacking pegs
Stacking pegs


crayons or...

Egg-shaped crayons
Egg-shaped crayons

Jumbo crayons
Jumbo crayons

Washable crayons with toddler grip
Washable crayons


geometrical building toys

Geometric shape stacker
Geometric shape stacker

Geometric pegboard
Geometric pegboard

Geometric blocks
Geometric blocks

Interestingly enough, all these suggested tots toys fulfil one of our key considerations:

The plaything can still be fully used, enjoyed and giving learning value even if one or more pieces are lost. Also, these are all examples of tot toys that can grow with your child - that's by adding more blocks or parts as you need, or, having a different kind of attraction when your child gets older. Most kids play with these toys for many, many years.

Recommended educational toys for toddlers #2

Another key skill our toddler needs in the near future is that of learning to read. Think about it... chances of any child doing well at school without very good reading skills are very slim.

Kids simply need good readings skills to excel at school

The Cone Sorter, while using the same concept as a stacking ring, draws toddlers' attention and hold it for much longer"So, are there any educational toddler toys that'll teach these necessary skills?"... I hear you ask.

One critical skill needed for learning to read is the ability to distinguish different shapes and forms, proportions, symmetry, and reversals. Ultimately these skills help to easily recognize letters and shapes and thereby make reading easier.

Some specifics: therapists regularly see young ones who cannot distinguish between letters like d and b, or, p and b, or u and n... to name a few. Such children often mix up letter orders or even put words in strange orders. Obviously these limitations drastically restrict our child's reading skills and are almost always the result from under- or undeveloped shape recognition, form and spatial skills.

If there is one universal toy for tots to playfully teach forms and shapes, it is a puzzle... and the many variations thereof.

My First Puzzle is a great way to start teaching forms and shapes
First puzzle

Colors & shapes puzzle combines 2 vital form learning areas in one fun toy
Colors & shapes puzzle

This Animal Puzzle is great to look at and even bigger fun to build. Ideal for toddlers
Animal puzzle

The Puzzle Stacker is a durable alternative for teaching toddlers the skills of recognizing shapes and forms
Puzzle stacker

Exposure to letters and numbers improves learning. The individual 12" foam squares of this floor puzzle are colorful, washable and provide a cushioned surface.
Floor puzzle

The Block Puzzle is bright, fun, encourages creativity and teaches form and shape recognition... all essential skills for learning to read
Block puzzle

A common rule of thumb for selecting the right number of puzzle pieces for your child is this:
3 yrs = about 2 pieces
4 yrs = about 3 pieces
5 yrs = up to 20 pieces
6 yrs = be guided by your child

Our advice is to be aware and guided by your toddler's skill level when choosing the number of pieces. And while you're looking at puzzles, also have a look at and maybe consider...

fit-in puzzles, and...

Shape sorting cube
Shape sorting cube

Shape-o-ball
Shape-o-ball

Shape sorter
Shape sorter


form and shape puzzles

The Form Sorting Board is another wonderful way to learn colors and shapes... and matching them to the fit-in puzzle
Form sorting board

The knob makes it easy to fit in the different puzzle shapes. Geat for teaching shapes
Shapes knob puzzle

The Farm knob puzzle is beautiful, the pieces fit perfectly, and it is easy for toddlers to figure out. The large knobs make the pieces easy to grasp, and the fact that the picture is painted on the piece and on the board makes it easy to match the puzzle pieces
Farm knob puzzle

These puzzles are a great variation for very young ones where we also encourage finger and hand development.

A few more recommended tot toys are:

Recommended educational toys for toddlers #3

King Mickey is the fan-favorite role-playing game that combined the characters of Disney with the worlds and style of Final Fantasy.Another important area of development for toddlers is emotionally. Skills in this area equips our toddler to suitably and adequately cope and respond to emotional changes, pressures and influences on his day-to-day activities.

Here you've got a wide selection. Fantasy toys will go a long way to achieve your goal. Think about...

dolls & teddies

Stella is soft & good quality. Your little girl will love her!
Baby Stella doll

Toddlers can get the  Family Doll Set to stand up and sit down easily. Having so many characters helps them come up with great little stories for them to act out.
Family doll set

The Jumbo Teddy Bear is very soft and cuddley. Though very durible, many toddlers take it to bed, lie on it for a pillow whilst watching television, and wrestles with it playing.
Jumbo teddy bear

 

farm animals and figure forms

Wild safari playset
Wild safari playset

The Jumbo Farm Animals includes great variety and is the perfect size for toddler hands
Jumbo farm animals

Doll figures
Doll figures

 

doll houses

Little people doll house
Little people

Little dollhouse
Little dollhouse

Disney palace
Disney palace

 

trucks, cars and boats, and...

Tuffies trucks for toddlers
Tuffies trucks

First tugboat
First tugboat

Fire station set
Fire station set

 

dress up dolls and clothing

Learn to dress doll
Learn to dress doll

Magnetic dress-up
Magnetic dress-up

Minnie bowtique
Minnie boutique

 

Of course, there is another category of skills our toddler needs to develop.

Recommended educational toys for toddlers #4

Still another area of development every toddler needs is physical skills. Ultimately these are the building blocks for excelling in sports.

Here we must encourage and improve 2 specific skills - the ability to move about well... also called gross motor skill, and... eye hand coordination. Some of the key goals are to get our child stronger, move better, quicker and more accurately, and, become more confident with how their bodies perform.

Here are a few recommendations...

push and pull toys...

also see our other article on this topic

Walker wagon
Walker wagon

Corn popper push toy for toddlers to encourage and develop walking skills
Corn popper

The 'ultimate' all-terrain push-pull wagon
Push-pull wagon

 

tricycles and ride-ons...

also see our other article on this topic

4-in-1 Trike
4-in-1 Trike

Tough tricycle
Tough tricycle

Tricycles are some of the best fun ways to stimulate overall physical development in toddlers
Tricycle

 

scooters

Toddler starter scooter
Starter scooter

Radio Flyer girl scooter... also in red for boys
Scooter

Kick scooter
Kick scooter


wagons & wheel barrows

Walker wagon
Walker wagon

A kid's wheelbarrow is another toy for stimulating toddler mobility
Kid's wheelbarrow

The 'ultimate' all-terrain push-pull wagon
Push-pull wagon

 

toy tools

Toddler toy tools
Toy tools

First toolbox
First toolbox

Play toolset
Play tools

 

play houses & tunnels to crawl through

Toddler play house
Play house

Play hut
Play hut

Play house & tunnel
Play house & tunnel


climbing toys...

also see our other article on this topic

Soft play forms
Soft play forms

Toddler wonderland climber
Climber

Monkey bars climbing toy
Monkey bars

 

Recommended educational toys for toddlers #5

A group of tot toys we particularly like is what we've termed "real life" things. Here we're looking at things like:

toy phones & things

Toddler phone
Toddler phone

Play cash register
Play cash register

Play tablet
Play tablet


musical instruments

Toddler band in a box
Band-in-a-box

Toddler drum set
Drum set

Record and learn KidiStudio
KidiStudio


toy dishes, pots & pans... and even

Cooking play set
Cooking play set

Play kitchen set
Kitchen set

Play breakfast basket
Breakfast basket


broken household appliances

Somehow broken 'real' things have a play magic of their own. Children (and adults too) often like to take things apart, figure out how they work and, maybe, put them back together again.

Another group of the evergreen toddler educational toys is wooden ones... have a look.

Finally... finding the "best" educational toys for toddlers is sometimes difficult. But it is definitely possible to find the right toy to give hours of fun AND a great learning experience.

Note: So where and how do you neatly store all the toys your child accumulates... here are a few suggestions.

For more on finding the best toy for tots... click here

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