I thought it’d be nice to just give a rundown of the fun educational toddler toys that our toddler loves playing with because we’re always on the lookout for educational toddler toys ourselves:
I cannot stress enough how much we love this toy. This wooden rainbow is my absolute favorite toddler toy. We have played this toy every single day since we bought it when he was a year old. He wasn’t doing much with it then, but he loved just looking at the bright colors and mesmerizing symmetrical shapes.
It looks like a simple enough toy, but you can do so much with it. This is a great post by another mom, featuring 8 ways you can play with the rainbow. To take it even further, you can pair it with the Grimm’s semi-circles.
On The Go Water Wow!
This little Water Wow! has saved us numerous times when we are out and about. It’s great to use at restaurants, and equally suitable for long plane journeys. It’s a great way to practice writing, drawing and fine motor skills. The best part — it makes absolutely no mess!
You can get these in a variety of different pads – animals, alphabets, dinosaurs, and more.
Pretend Play Food
The aforementioned toy muffins we must clarify when our son declares he wants to make muffins. Pretend play is so important for toddlers. It’s such fun when they develop their imagination and can carry on play situations.
These cupcakes are great educational toys because they not only serve as pretend cupcakes, they also are great for learning colors and shapes.
You can take the cupcakes apart, but they have to be matched to the correct cupcake case shapes. The tray also has the shape patterns, so you need to match them again to get it back into the tray correctly.
Nest and stack cubes are on almost every toddler toy list for good reason. Nest and stack cubes are so much fun for little hands! This set is great because not only can you work on motor skills for stacking, you can also use it to learn shapes, colors, and numbers.
If you flip the stacking cubes around, you can use it to sort smaller toys.
Take-Apart Car with Drill
I love this toy fondly because it’s the first toy that kept our toddler occupied by himself long enough that his mom and I were able to sit down and have breakfast and coffee together. We got this toy as a gift when he turned 1, and he has happily played with it nearly every single day since then.
It took him several months to learn how to take the car apart completely by himself. By age 2.5, he is working on putting it back together by himself.
There are a lot of different drill toys for kids, but we like this one because it cleans up easily if you build it back into a car. He was also able to use this from a very young age. The shape of the drill makes it a lot easier to use for little toddler hands than drills that are straight screwdriver shaped.
But, one day, day we were reading a book and I asked my one year old if he knew which was the letter M. He promptly scurried to his laptop and hit the M button. Surprisingly, he knew all his letters!
No doubt, this is the one toy that taught my toddler his alphabets.
After he learned all his alphabets from the LeapTop, he graduated to this Mr. Pencil. This is a great toy for learning how to write alphabets, numbers and draw shapes.
Some reviews say that the pencil is not sensitive. We haven’t found that to be a major problem. Our toddler has learned that he needs to hold the pencil correctly so it always stays in contact with the surface of the pad.
However, if the pencil loses contact with the screen, you have to start writing the letter over again, which can be frustrating for toddlers. But the program is also forgiving enough that you can kind of go back-and-forth with the pencil (sort of like coloring) while following the line, which makes it easier for a toddler to do on their own.
While the pencil is fatter than a normal pencil for writing, I’ve found that it’s taught my toddler the correct strokes for writing letters. It teaches upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and even shapes.
Here’s just a short list of skills you learn with wooden train tracks:
- fine motor control
- figuring out how different pieces connect
- ability to plan track layouts
- creativity with the different trains, people, stations, boats, and buses
- how to tidy up
The price is steep, but it’s worth every single penny. We got this as a joint first birthday and Christmas present last year. We (the parents) squabbled about how we shouldn’t spoil our kid with such an expensive toy. It’s amazing how many hours our toddler has played with it, and how much fun we (mom and dad) have competing who can build cooler tracks. The quality of the Brio sets are top notch, so much so that I wouldn’t leaving it out like a model.
Melissa and Doug Make a Meal Sticker Pad
Of all the sticker pads out there, we love this one. The stickers are nice and big, making it very easy for toddler hands. Besides the fine motor skills required for stickers, you can also use this to teach about healthy eating.
Most of the place settings have a plate, a side plate and a cup. There’s only three zones to place the stickers, so it’s not overly complicated for toddlers, but gives enough options they aren’t sticking them on our furniture.
Foam ABC and Popsicle Sticks
Maybe this falls more in the toddler crafts than toddler toys, but we love crafts that can pass as education toys in our house!
Our toddler absolutely loves sticking letters onto popsicle sticks. This toy / game has evolved as he’s gotten better control of his fine motor control.
When he started months ago, he used to only like to punch out the letters. You have to remove the little bits (such as the hole in a letter O).
Then he progressed to peeling off the back of the sticker, after I started it for him. Now he can peel the sticker off by himself.
Just recently, he has learned how to stick the stickers onto the popsicles straight.
It’s a great educational toy because we learn letters, colors, and fine motor skills all in one. We have started spelling with the popsicle sticks too, now that we have lots of these alphabet “lollipops” made!
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
It’s hard to find a sound book that’s better than this one.
This is such a simple book that’s noisy and fun! The repetitive structure makes it easy for toddlers to learn to “read’ it on their own. The animal sounds are also fun to imitate.
We introduced this book to our little one before he was a year old, but now at 2.5 years old, we still read it almost daily.
Matching Card Game
A friend gave us a lovely matching game set for our toddler when he turned two. It didn’t take him long to fall in love with it.
I’m surprised how their little toddler minds work, but a matching card game is a great educational toy that can be used for so many purposes.
At 2.5, he doesn’t quite get the concept of playing it the traditional way by flipping over all the cards and taking turns to find pairs. But we use it to learn about the concept of pairs and taking turns.
Currently, we play this by turning all the cards over, and racing to find all the pairs together. We also practice counting with the cards.
When our little one started to pull on things to help stand up, we looked at so many different activity cubes. Many of the four sided activity cubes didn’t seem stable enough for him to hold while standing.
This Ever Earth Activity Cube caught our attention because it has 6 sides, which makes it hard to tip over. But the best part is that there’s so many activities on this cube.
When we first got it, he loved just spinning the gears around. Now at 2.5, he’s moving the balls around on top. He hasn’t mastered all the tracks yet (they are windy!) so there’s still room to grow.
We also have started using the beads as imagery when we practice counting.
Ok, this one is also not a traditional toy, but it is so much fun that I had to include it on the list. The Little Helper is an indispensable toddler item that is so educational because it brings your toddler up to the counter height level.
When we were looking for kitchen helpers, we chose this one because it is closed all the way around. He started using this as soon as he could stand, and I didn’t have to worry about him falling over (like some of the other ones with open backs).
We also love it because he can sit in it, like a little hide-and-seek spot. It’s a great spot to chill with me in the kitchen and stay safely out of the way. We’ve done so much practical learning on this little educational toy. To name a few:
- washing dishes
- chopping fruits and veggies
- stirring oatmeal on low heat
- rolling out pizza dough and cookie dough
- cutting out cookies
Kinder Kitchen Knife Set
Maybe we started teaching knife skills on the younger side, but these knives are great for little hands.
We make it a game to cut simple fruits and veggies, so I’m including this as an educational toy. Think of this as an educational toy that you can play with your toddler.
Some things that a toddler can cut with adult supervision:
- leafy tops off strawberries
- banana slices
- melon slices into cubes (after an adult cuts off the peel)
- softer cheese (such as mozzarella)
Happy playing everyone!!