As parents, we all know that toddlers are active and curious, trying to discover the surrounding environment will all their senses. To satisfy their curiosity, they grab things they shouldn’t touch, taste everything and even stop and listen to adult conversations trying to understand the world around them. For this reason, educational toys are a must. Let’s see how to choose them or jump to the best educational toys for toddlers clicking the links in the table below if you don’t feel like reading.
The educational toys are designed specifically to help the little ones during their explorations while keeping their first experiences safe.
Apart from the entertainment and stimulation, educational games are also important from a pedagogical point of view, as they are able to stimulate the development of the child in accordance with his age, often increasing children’s imagination and creativity.
Let’s see why educational toys are important, then read our best educational toys for toddler reviews to choose the right toy for your little one.
Why Does Your Toddler Need To Play?
Since the first stages of the development, the game can be defined as a playful and educational activity that teaches the little one about social behavior and community expectations. Nevertheless, babies will always understand the game as a fun activity that brings them happiness.
For this reason, the first thing game should teach your baby is the right of liberty. The child must be free to play when he chooses to and the parents should not impose a play time to their children.
When the baby is old enough, respectively from 2 years onwards to the play it can be attributed a social function, becoming in this way a useful tool in learning how to interact with other children. The first social experience your toddler will have is playing with other children, and this type of play should be encouraged and cultivated. Playing with the others can help your toddler develop good communicative and social skills, the value of collaboration and cooperation, solidarity, and empathy, in addition to giving him the first sense of belonging to a group.
Therefore for your toddler, educational games that come with strict rules, characteristic and conditions are the primary instrument to use to teach your child how to individuate, manage and control his emotions, including the curiosity of trying a new toy, the emotion of winning or overcoming a difficulty, achieving a goal, the frustration of failure and more.
Understood in this way, the play becomes a true character sharpener, while your little one will eventually understand the importance of following the rules and of showing respect. Finally, playing can improve and consolidate the emotional bond between you and your child.
Why Invest In Educational Toys?
The first thing to understand when searching for an educational toy for your toddler is that not all toys are educational. Some may argue that all toys and games can teach something; nevertheless, a toy can be defined as truly educational only if it explicitly helps your baby learn something new.
Educational toys are not a simple entertainment tool. In fact, these toys allow toddlers to learn something or clarify a new concept, helping them strengthen their knowledge in different ways than the traditional learning methods.
With the help of an educational toy, the concept of learning receives a new dimension, while the toddlers are often engaged in activities and experiences they perceive as fun and well-being, keeping their interest in what is being taught.
There are many types of educational toys, created to invite a toddler to discover and experiment, create something original or simply assimilate and deepen the past experiences.
How To Choose The Educational Toys
If by now it is clear why educational toys are so important, you might be wondering how to choose the best educational toys for toddlers.
The first thing to decide is whether you want to invest in traditional educational toys or in electronic learning toys. Both types are created to help toddlers learn new things and usually have different purposes, so in many cases, it is recommended to invest in both traditional and electronic toys.
Apart from that, all educational toys should have the following characteristics:
- Have multiple uses: educational toys must be able to entertain the toddler while teaching him about various concepts at the same time. For instance, an educational toy should be able to help your toddler learn colors, numbers, letters, and shapes. Educational cubes and toy blocks can also help your little one improve coordination and gain muscle development, and they can grow with your child as there are multiple ways to play with such toys.
- Be manipulative: there are various reasons why you should invest in manipulative toys. Toddlers need to build and improve their cognitive and perceptual skills, therefore they need to manipulate the toys with ease. In addition to this, manipulative toys are more entertaining for small children.
- Be age appropriate: labels in the toys are more important than you might think. Inappropriate toys can be either harmful or uninteresting for your toddler, not to mention that an educational toy that is not suitable for the age of your baby will probably not teach him anything.
Benefits Of Educational Toys
- Increase motor skills: the vast majority of the educational toys require the child to do something, such as matching shapes or colors, dropping balls into a basket or hole, play piano keys and more. All these activities increase the fine and gross motor skills of your baby, helping him develop.
- Expand language skills: some of the best educational toys are equipped with recorders that play different songs, count up to ten, say animal names, teach colors, and more. All this will stimulate your child to expand his language skills and numeration abilities.
- Develop creativity: many educational toys, such as the puzzles or block games, are designed to develop the creativity of the little ones. Especially the block games can be used to create various shapes and the blocks can be used for different purposes countless times. This will not only develop the creativity of your child but the games will actually grow with him, helping him improve the skills and performances.
- Encourage cooperation: many educational toys can be used by more than one child at the same time, a great thing in the families with multiple children, especially when children have close ages. Apart from cooperation, educational toys will also allow your child to socialize and learn that sharing is important.
- Build confidence: the greatest advantage of the educational toys is that they are able to build the confidence of your toddler. By exploring and understanding the surrounding environment, your baby will build his confidence, especially when all the mysteries of the educational toy are discovered.
Now, let’s see which are the best educational toys for toddlers you can choose for your child.
Best Educational Toys For Toddlers
1. Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Match and Build Soft Blocks Set
Melissa & Doug is a popular manufacturer of educational toys for babies and children, all their products being designed to encourage the curiosity of small children, to fuel their imagination and to inspire them to explore.
Among all their toys, a set that stands out is the Kids Match and Build soft blocks set suitable for babies and toddlers between 9 months and three years.Check Price on Amazon
This set is made of 10 squared blocks and 4 triangle blocks that will allow your toddler to build different constructions, match images or discover new elements under the flaps present on some of the blocks.
The blocks are made of a washable soft material and covered in fabric, are lightweight and easy to manipulate. The bright colors attract and engage children to play with the blocks, while the creative design teaches toddlers numbers, quantities, predictions and more.
Things We Liked
- Multiple uses: the blocks can be used to build houses and buildings, and apart from this they can develop toddler’s matching skills, learn numerals and quantities, discover mini stories and even arrange the blocks in a puzzle that creates a full picture.
- Soft materials: the blocks are completely safe to use by the children because they are soft and lightweight.
- Washable: it doesn’t matter if your toddler played with the blocks outside and they got dirty. The soft blocks are washable and easy to maintain clean.
- Engaging: because of the multiple and versatile uses, this toy will certainly engage your toddler for a long period of time.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The numbered blocks also have countable pictures that are designed to teach toddlers association, but the pictures don’t correspond to the number on each block.
2. Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker Wooden Educational Toy
Wooden stackers are classic educational toys for toddlers, but Melissa & Doug succeeded in bringing the fun to the next level by creating a triple wooden stacker ideal for toddlers of 2 years and above.
The stacker is made of wood and contains 25 smooth pieces of three different shapes, two-part rectangles, rings, and octagons. The various parts stack on three dowels mounted on a solid base with rocking edges. All the pieces of the toy are painted in bright colors that draw the attention of babies.Check Price on Amazon
This toy is built to improve the fine motor skills of the toddlers and also to develop their sorting skills. Your baby will learn about dimensions, shapes, and colors in a fun way.
Things We Liked
- Durable construction: made of wood, this toy is extremely durable and it can be used by multiple generations of children.
- Classic design: wooden stackers will never go out of style and regardless of how the world evolves, children will always love to play with this type of toys.
- Develops sorting skills: apart from using three different shapes, the rectangles are made of two matching parts that will teach your baby how to select and sort the right dimensions and shapes.
- Versatile stacking: there are endless ways to play with this toy, and your toddler will be able to stack items from small to large or vice versa and even sort the pieces by color.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The toy is not always smoothened as it should be, and in some cases the holes on the stacking elements are not the same size, making it hard to fit on the dowels.
3. Lirs Toys Set of 30 Magnetic Building Blocks
If your little one is 3 years old or older, then a challenging and fun educational toy is this set of 30 magnetic building blocks that will certainly enhance his creativity while developing the fine motor skills and color recognition and association.
The magnetic tiles are made of strong BPA-free plastic and the set contains 30 pieces of two different shapes. In detail, the tiles are divided into 18 squares and 12 triangles that can be used to build different objects, such as a star, a house, a magic ball and more.Check Price on Amazon
This educational toy is ideal to develop the creativity of your toddler, as the blocks can be arranged in countless ways, while the magnetic attachment allows children to develop their fine motor skills. Apart from this, the toy is durable and safe to play with.
Things We Liked
- Colorful plastic: each tile is made of BPA-free plastic and combines two strong colors, one on each side. The colors are randomly combined to create colorful tiles that attract the small children.
- Safe to use: the toy is non-toxic and the rainbow color pieces are manufactured using an ultrasonic technology that prevents the two parts from breaking apart.
- Easy to assemble: the toy can be easily assembled in multiple ways, allowing children to use their creativity to build different structures and objects.
- Motivates imagination: because the blocks can be combined and used to create countless shapes and objects, your child will be motivated to use his imagination and create new things every day.
Things We Didn’t Like
- Although developed for children above 3 years, the blocks still represent a choking hazard and they are not recommended if your toddler still tends to put toys in his mouth.
4. Rolimate Geometric Sorter Educational Toy
For toddler above two years old, another educational toy to consider is the Rolimate geometric sorter. This wooden toy is versatile and fun to use, being built to develop the fine motor skills of your baby, to improve his shape recognition and association and to teach him colors.
This versatile toy is made of various elements that can be transformed to create new shapes. The flower shaped base is made with slots of various shaped on which are fitted blocks of different shapes. On each block, there can be fitted three stackers painted in different colors and shades, while on the center of the flower the last stacker forms the head of a smiling caterpillar.Check Price on Amazon
Thanks to the versatility of the elements, toddlers can use the toy to play stack the pieces on the various blocks or to change the flower to a caterpillar.
The toy is perfect for your toddler to improve his fine motor skills and coordination and also to learn about shapes and colors.
Things We Liked
- Chunky pieces: the pieces of this puzzle toy are perfect for the little hands of your baby, thanks to the chunky construction.
- Non-toxic paints: the painted blocks are coated with non-toxic and lead-free paint, being safe to use by small children.
- Encourages eye-hand coordination: the stackers only fit on the blocks that correspond to their shape, therefore your toddler will have to learn how to coordinate them.
- Shades acquisition: teaching colors is easy, but explaining shades to a toddler is a whole different story. Thanks to the stockers colored in different shades of the same color, it will be easy to explain this concept to your child.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The toy is smaller than one might think, so account for that before deciding if this is a suitable toy for your toddler or not.
5. TOYK Geometric Blocks Cube Educational Toy
Apart from the traditional educational toys, the electronic learning toys are also ideal to help your toddler develop his skills and knowledge. One of the most popular toys on the market is the TOYK geometric blocks cube that presents five distinct surfaces your toddler can use to play with.
The cube is designed for babies between 1 and 3 years old and it is designed to develop the baby’s cognitive ability, eye-hand coordination and also the fine motor skills.Check Price on Amazon
Apart from having five different sides, each one designed for a different purpose, the electronic cube has motion sensors that activate fun sounds as soon as the baby starts playing. This encourages crawling for the younger toddlers and keep the older toddlers entertained and interested in the toy.
Moreover, your toddler will also be able to learn beats and rhythms by playing the piano keys, recognize shapes and animals and count up to 10.
Things We Liked
- Animals and shapes: the toy comes with 6 animals and five differently shaped blocks that can be dropped into the house through matching holes, improving the shape recognition and coordination skills.
- Hand touching game: after all the elements are introduced in the house, the toddler can introduce his hand and try to recognize the elements based on the shape he feels.
- Puzzle game: the house’s door opens and gives access to the blocks inside, but in order to open the door the toddler has to find the key and perform other activities that will help him improve his cognitive skills.
- Sounds: the cube is provided with piano keys that will allow the baby play any songs he wants. Furthermore, the cube plays fun sounds whenever it detects motion.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The toy is really loud and the sounds turn on easily as soon as it detects motion. Make sure you turn the sound off before your toddler’s nap or during the nighttime.
Conclusion & Final Pick
In our opinion, the best educational toy for toddlers is the Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Match and Build Soft Blocks Set.
While we certainly like wooden or electronic toys, we feel that this set is the most educational and safest for toddlers.
The big blocks are made of soft material and covered in fabric, are washable and include multiple games. It might be true that countable images and numbers don’t coordinate between the blocks, but maybe the idea was to show the baby both the number and the countable image at the same time, by using two different blocks.
Apart from this small flaw, we are sure that your toddler will fall in love with this toy that will stimulate his creativity and imagination for a long time.