Because small children are too little to attend school, kiddos learn through play. It’s extremely important to choose useful, age-appropriate toys for your children to encourage intellectual stimulation and physical growth. Below is a list of top educational toys for toddler that will either promote intellectuality in your kiddo or encourage emotional/physical development.
Sophie the Giraffe
I don’t know what’s so special about this particular squeeze toy, but my little kiddo LOVES it. In fact, it’s perfect for teething babies (age 5 months and up) to gnaw on as the entire toy is made of 100% natural rubber and food paint (Phthalates and BPA free).
Sophie’s long neck and legs are also perfect for a child small hands and allows them to experiment with grip (squeezing the toy to make the squeak). The squeaking sound also helps to stimulate their hearings. Additionally, the contrasting color spots on the body are visually stimulating for the baby.
- Recommended Age: 5 months and up
- Educational Benefits: Motor skills
Sophie the Giraffe is like crack for babies! My little one giggles and laughs when this glorified chew toy squeaks and it gives him relief as well as entertainment. Even our pediatrician recommended this product!
Alex Jr. My Busy Town Wooden Developmental Toy
This bright colorful large-sized cube has an activity on each side, which is sure to keep your kiddo entertained and busy for a while. Since the toy is essentially multiple toys in one (which is a plus), it will teach your child about independent play and encourage development in different areas such as alphabets recognition, counting and coordination. Once you introduce each activity to your child, you can let your toddler explore on his/her own while you watch. It is also a great introduction to shapes and colors.
- Recommended Age: 7 months to 3 years old
- Educational Benefits: Alphabets, coordination, counting, shapes and colors
This play station is a huge hit! There are endless ways to play with this activity cube and it is a great fun and learning tool for toddlers.
You can buy a starter bag containing about 80 Mega Bloks. These are big enough for your one-year-old to safely chew on, but they’re for more than just chewing! These brightly-colored blocks encourage hands-on exploration, as well as creativity and imagination in building. Plus, they’re fun for parents to play along!
- Recommended Age: 12 to 36 months
- Educational Benefits: Creativity, imagination, motor skills, shapes and colors
Megabloks are made to help stimulate the creative mind of a child, and they work! Helps to improve a child spatial, thinking and motor skills as well as a useful tool to teach about colors. A minus: need more than just 80 blocks!
Little People Fun Sounds Farm
Really, I suggest any Little People set. My toddler has learned a lot about animals and animal sounds just through us playing with this toy together. It teaches kids imagination and fine motor skills, as well as encourage curiosity and discovery.
- Recommended Age: 12 months to 4 years old
- Educational Benefits: Imagination, motor skills, curiosity, sounds
The barn has many features to entertain a toddler and the animal sounds are clear and recognizable. This toy is perfect for imaginative play as a child grows older. Even the older siblings found it fun.
Melissa & Doug Plush Rainbow Stacker
I love classic toys. This plush rainbow toy has rings that stack onto a rod, starting with the largest ring on bottom, and ending with the red ball on top. The rings make sounds and each one of them is different too (squeaks, rattles, jingle bells, paper sound). This is also great for children to learn about sequencing and promote your little one’s hands and eye co-ordination in stacking the rings on the rod which is also color coded. Would also make a wonderful fine motor toy for special needs kids.
Note: This plush stacker is safer and recommended over the other more popular original wooden version as there is a danger of the paint being clipped off the wood pieces if your baby or toddler start exploring’ it in his/her mouth.
- Recommended Age: 18 months+
- Educational Benefits: Shape, color, size differentiation and motor skills
B. Parum Pum Pum Drum
This is not only a drum; this musical set contains several percussion instruments including egg shakers, a maraca, a tambourine and more. My one-year-old has loved to learn the basics of making music as well as cause and effect.
- Recommended Age: 18 to 24 months
- Educational Benefits: Music and motor skills
Music is such an important part of a child’s learning development and these instruments are just what a child needs to explore about music and sounds. A child plays, learns and think at the same time when the shaking/banging on different things in different ways makes different noises. For parents and children who are musical, this is a great great great toy!
Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike
This Trike promote motor skills in kiddos as well as encourage adventure and discovery. The push handle is super useful if your toddler hasn’t yet figured out how to use the push pedals. It can be converted in 4 ways (as your child grows) starting from a stroller to a steering trike, into a learning-to-ride-trike, and finally a regular trike.
- Recommended Age: 9 months to 5 years old
- Educational Benefits: Motor skills
This Trike is awesome for taking him out on spins around the block. I get to exercise and he gets to get out of the house to see and experience things outdoors. It is also a great learning tool, for developing gross motor skills and learning how to pedal a tricycle.
B. Dr. Doctor Pretend & Play Kit
This set of doctor kit is a great way to prep your young toddler for their doctor visits. They learn through role playing or imaginative play and these pretend medical replicas can help them to become more comfortable when they are at the doctor’s office. Definitely a fun and educational way to ease children’s anxieties about doctor visits. This toy is also very safe for younger toddlers, unlike the other doctor kits which are only suitable for children age 3 years or older.
- Recommended Age: 18 months to 5 years old
- Educational Benefits: Motor skills, creative thinking
A great imagination builder for those little hands and minds. My child has learn to use each equipment through mimic plays and has also learn about body parts.
Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set
I do not know how to explain it but the game of basketball is a BIG HIT with kids. I like the Little Tikes for its oversize rim that allows for easy scoring. This can easily help boost self-confidence in young children and a feeling of accomplishment every time they make a basket. Plus the basketball hoop has an adjustable height to provide the right challenge as your child grows.
This toy encourage healthy physical and emotional development as well as help kids develop hand-eye coordination, balancing and motor skills. It also teaches the value in staying active (like a two-year-old needs to be reminded of that!)
- Recommended Age: 2 years and up
- Educational Benefits: Motor skills, focus, confidence, balancing, coordination
Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set is an excellent choice for an active little kid. Helps with building up athleticism as well as coordination and balance. The son’s father is enjoying it as well and all the bigger kids are having a blast with it too!
Melissa & Doug Monster Plush Bowling Set
I have the bowling set by Melissa & Doug but any other brand will do. Besides keeping your kiddo busy inside when it’s too cold or rainy outside, this toy teaches kids the basics of counting, numbers and hand-eye coordination. Plus, you can teach them that they don’t need to win to have fun. This bowling set (with the texture and colors) is also a great functional toy for special needs kids to interact and play with.
- Recommended Age: 21/2 years and up
- Educational Benefits: Motor skills, social skills, numbers
They may be silly looking but they really grab our child’s attention. I felt this monster set also open up another world of play other than the rolling and throwing. In fact, we gave these cute little monsters names and that has really engage our child’s right brain development in areas such as names, face and character recognition.
Melissa & Doug Joey Magnetic Dress-Up Set
My two-year-old actually likes to play with this toy too, but the age listed on the product is 3 years old. If you are getting this for your child under 3 years of age like me, parental supervision is recommended as there are small parts which may pose a choking hazard for them.
Joey is a small wooden person with a magnet built inside. Joey’s clothing is also magnetic. You can put different shirts, pants, shoes on Joey, dressing and re-dressing him. Kids learn about imagination and sorting as the pieces are like a puzzle where they have to match the outfits to make the character (fire fighter, police officer, pirate, super hero or knight) come together. It is also a good educational toy to teach your toddler about the different characters (where he works, what he does each day) and some vocabulary words (like sweater, uniform, helmet, shoe, pants).
If you have a girl, go for the Melissa & Doug Abby & Emma Deluxe Magnetic Dress-Up Set.
- Recommended Age: 3 to 6 years old
- Educational Benefits: Creative development, imagination, sorting
Another wonderful product by Melissa and Doug to stimulate a child’s imagination and provide hours of entertainment. This toy can be use as an educational tool to teach the little ones about the characters he create or be use as role models.
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel
I love toys that allow kids to be totally creative and what’s better for that than a blank slate and markers or chalk? I chose this brand because it has two sides and the adjustable height is key. Plus it has everything I wanted, including the art accessories all in one convenient location. For the preschool-aged child, this encourages creativity and teaches fine motor skills as well as colors experimentation. My child loves it, I love it.
- Recommended Age: 3 years and up
- Educational Benefits: Creativity, motor skills, colors
An excellent educational toy for any child who loves to to be creative and imaginative. This easel has also help to improve his drawing and writing skills. Overall, a very satisfied mom and dad.
Design & Drill Activity Center by Educational Insights
This toy comes with a white grid with holes, plastic bolts of varying primary colors, a screwdriver, a combination wrench and a drill with several change-out bits. Also included are 20 cards, which show colored designs that kids can replicate on the grid. Although this toy seems complicated, it’s as complicated as you want it to be (which is why it’s good for kids ages 3 to 6).
This teaches colors, sorting, matching, counting and helps build coordination, imagination, creative thinking as well as fine motor skills. Boys and girls both enjoyed playing with it plus it is entertaining for parents as well.
- Recommended Age: 3 years and up
- Educational Benefits: Builds coordination, imagination, creativity, fine motor skills
An all around great educational toy that has lots of possibilities for creative play. Can also function as a learning tool to expose the little ones to the real household tools from an early age.
Gears! Gears! Gears! Beginner’s Building Set
I just bought this for my nephew for his birthday last week. He loves it! It is essentially several green (what I call) “floor boards,” and a multitude of gears of varying primary colors. Since this toy is all about building and engineering your own things, it encourages creativity and, of course, fine motor skills. It also teaches the child to understand the basic of mechanics and reinforces cause and effect, as one gear will cause another gear to move in a certain direction. This toy can really enhance a child’s problem solving skills. My husband is an engineer, and he loves playing with this toy (added bonus!)
- Recommended Age: 3 years and up
- Educational Benefits: Problem solving skills, fine motor skills, creativity, imagination
Terrific learning toy for unstructured play and early experimentation with physics. Perfect for the child who likes to build things with movement.
Fold & Go Trampoline
Toddlers absolutely need to stay active! As parents, we really have to be creative with how we keep our children moving in a positive way! A trampoline is the ideal solution for kids who require some physical fun to move and learn! It helps to stimulate early muscle development, builds confidence, improve coordination and sensory processing as well as gives kids a chance to practice motor skills with the security of holding on to the railing. Bonus: the trampoline folds up nicely, to make more space for running and playing when you’re done!
- Recommended Age: 3 years and up
- Educational Benefits: Motor skills, confidence, coordination, sensory processing
This trampoline by The Original Toy Company is easy to assemble and very sturdy. Great for my 3 year old who loves jumping to music and gets a good workout, too!
Note: The recommendations are by no means an exhaustive list of educational toys for toddlers. Nevertheless, it is a great place to start if you are looking for something new to inspire your creative kiddo, or when purchasing for holiday or birthday gifts.
Want more challenging toys for your young pre-schoolers? Check out Amazon STEM for toys that will encourage your kids to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills while having fun!