Best learning toys for toddlers

Educational Toys

The best learning toys for toddlers are educational in various ways, yet are also fun and engaging. After all, if a toy isn’t appealing to a child, no learning experience can occur.

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Which learning toy for toddlers is best?

Playtime for toddlers is more than just for fun — it’s also a time for learning. While just about any type of toy can offer some degree of learning, not all are the same. Toys that are designed especially to provide educational benefits for toddlers take playtime to the next level. 

The best learning toys for toddlers are designed to be engaging for kids in the age range of 1 to 4 years, and have components that teach kids a variety of skills. There are many options available on the market that can make finding the best learning toys challenging, but you’ll find key information and top toy suggestions in our guide below.

Benefits of learning toys for toddlers

As kids enter their toddler years, they become more aware of objects in their surroundings and how they fit together. They begin to put words into full sentences and spend more time engaging with siblings and other young friends. Additionally, they start to follow simple instructions and gain coordination as they develop physically. When you incorporate quality learning toys into the toddler years, they benefit young children in several important ways.

  • Improve hand-and-eye coordination and motor skills
  • Teach problem-solving strategies
  • Hone social skills
  • Encourage sharing with other children
  • Teach basics, such as counting and matching like items
  • Encourage creativity 
  • Teach the fundamentals of numbers, shapes and colors
  • Promote memorization 

Types of learning toys for toddlers

Toys that promote learning in toddlers fall into several categories. These are some of the most popular options to consider.

Sensory learning toys for toddlers

As the name implies, these toys promote learning by stimulating youngsters’ senses by appealing to sight, sound, touch or all three. As a result, they help with the development of motor skills, social interaction, language and more beginning in the early toddler years. 

Building learning toys for toddlers

Toys that stack or connect fall into the building category. They help toddlers solve problems and learn basic math skills like counting. You’ll find toys such as traditional blocks that are best for young kids, as well as more complex options for older toddlers. 

Activity learning toys for toddlers

Activity toys require kids to perform tasks, such as a play table with multiple functions. These toys introduce toddlers to the concept of cause and effect, and are great for promoting sharing when playtime includes multiple children. 

Electronic learning toys for toddlers

There are many electronic toys that are geared towards toddlers, and may help them learn about numbers, letters and problem solving. However, while electronic toys can be educational, many experts recommend limiting their use as they aren’t as effective at promoting social interaction that’s vital at this age. 

What’re the best learning toys for toddlers to buy?

According to the Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics, the best toys for toddlers match kids’ developmental needs and promote the development of new skills. Here is a look at our favorite toys that fit these criteria. 

Best sensory learning toys for toddlers

Edushape Sensory Puzzle Blocks

Edushape Sensory Puzzle Blocks

These toddler-friendly blocks are bright, colorful and easy to grip. The soft EVA foam material makes them safe for young kids. 

Sold by Buy Buy Baby, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon

Pillow Pets Disney Mona Pua

Pillow Pets Disney Mona Pua

Not only does this adorable toy’s soft exterior encourage touch, but the colorful built-in light stimulates visual learning. It shuts off automatically, so it doesn’t interfere with sleep when a youngster takes the toy to bed. 

Sold by Buy Buy Baby and Amazon

Infantino Balls, Blocks and Cups Activity Set

Infantino Balls, Blocks and Cups Activity Set

A generous set of soft, squishy pieces that youngsters love to grasp and explore in numerous ways. Introducing the pieces at playtime promotes the development of fine motor skills and hand-and-eye coordination. 

Sold by Bed Bath and Beyond, Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

Best building learning toys for toddlers

Battat Bristle Blocks

Battat Bristle Blocks

The bristles on these colorful blocks serve two purposes — to be tactile to youngsters and fit together easily for creative play. The affordable set includes 112 pieces. 

Sold by Amazon

MAGBLOCK Magnetic Blocks

MAGBLOCK Magnetic Blocks

MAGBLOCKS stand out for their pieces that stick together with magnets and the geometric shapes that stimulate imaginative building. They are a good choice for older toddlers who love to create. 

Sold by Amazon

Fisher-Price Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

Fisher-Price Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

We like how the shape of Mega Bloks make them easy to stack for hours of play. The sets are top-sellers in building toys and are made by a trusted brand in children’s items. 

Sold by Macy’s, Amazon and Buy Buy Baby 

Best activity learning toys for toddlers

Melissa and Doug First Play Jungle Activity Table

Melissa and Doug First Play Jungle Activity Table

This activity table will keep toddlers busy for hours, thanks to the fun, colorful components that will attract them to play, plus the eight exciting activities that will inspire them to share and explore. 

Sold by Amazon and Macy’s

Alex Toys My Busy Town Activity Cube

Alex Toys My Busy Town Activity Cube

With numerous moving pieces, this award-winning activity cube will capture a child’s imagination while promoting problem solving, cause-and-effect recognition and motor-skill development. 

Sold by Amazon

Little Tikes Activity Garden

Little Tikes Activity Garden

Toddlers can manipulate the pieces of the Little Tikes Activity Garden into numerous configurations, encouraging them to imagine and solve problems. Fun accessories and many moving parts add to the excitement. 

Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond and Buy Buy Baby

Best electronic learning toys for toddlers

LeapFrog Mr. Pencil’s Scribble and Write

LeapFrog Mr. Pencil’s Scribble and Write 

An electronic learning toy by a top brand that focuses on the letters of the alphabet and teaching kids to write. It’s ideal for older toddlers and won’t lose its appeal or usefulness as kids age and head off to kindergarten. 

Sold by Amazon 

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Word Book

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Word Book

This popular toy teaches kids to identify objects as it plays sound effects, lights up and says words when little hands touch the words on the screen. It includes 100 words and speaks in English and Spanish. 

Sold by Kohl’s and Amazon

VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

In addition to a cool basketball theme kids love, this toy teaches hand-and-eye coordination and cause and effect as little ones score. It lights up and plays numerous educational sounds and phrases. 

Sold by Amazon

 

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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