Updated October 4, 2020
by Ronaldo Tumbokon
Educational toys engage your child for a longer time, as they feed his or her brain hungry for neural stimulation. More importantly, the impact of educational gifts lasts a lifetime. These gifts give him a head start in reading, math and science. They develop his love for learning, the most important attitude to make your kid grow up smart. A great educational gift even triggers what will be your kid’s lifelong passion.
The following are suggestions for the latest and best fun educational toys and gifts available online – for babies to school age kids. Every child is different, so go through the the whole list to find which will benefit your kid‘s intelligence the best.
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Educational Toys For Babies (0 to 1 year old):
The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys
Toys that your baby can enjoy can be simple and inexpensive. Stacking cups are classic baby toys that will keep her engaged and entertained. Your baby will enjoy fitting them together, stacking them up, turning them over or hide them underneath each other. In the process she will experience a lot of developmental play – including developing hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills, motor control, and if you play with your baby, even developing her language.
Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy
In addition to soothing your baby’s sore gums and teeth, this toy will delight and stimulate your baby’s vision with its many colors. This toy is made of BPA free continuous plastic loops that also promotes clutching and two-handed play. There is also a center cube that is a pleasant rattle that teaches your baby about sound cause and effect.
Fisher-Price Rattle ‘n Rock Maracas
This colorful toy is meant to be shaken so your baby can be rewarded with rattle sounds. The grasping and ratting will workout your baby’s gross motor skills. In addition, the toy’s colorful design with a variety of colors, textures, and fun rattle sounds will stimulate your baby’s developing senses.
VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads
This “moosical” cuddly toy cow offers visual, sound and tactile stimulation to help fire up your baby’s brain neurons. It features a variety of fabric textures that stimulates your baby’s sense of touch. It plays 30+ songs, melodies, sounds and phrases. It also has a grasp bead ring with light-up buttons and a spinning square to stimulate your baby’s fine motor skills development.
Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball
The best toy for your baby is one where she gets the most age-appropriate sensory and mental stimulation, and develop her motor skills. This inexpensive toy has bright colors and bold patterns to provide visual stimulation, multiple color beads inside a clear plastic end that makes a rattle noise when shaken, and easy to grasp bumps that encourage your baby to hold and toss or roll the ball.
Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks and Rock Stack Bundle
Bright colored blocks are great toys for babies because it gives him experiences of colors, shapes and sizes. Babies love putting blocks in the bucket or just tossing them around. The shape sorter introduces them to early problem-solving skills in a fun way. The stacking toy teaches babies the concept of seriation, a mathematical concept that involves organizing or ordering things in a logical way. For best effect, play with your baby and show him the many creative ways to play with this classic toy.
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
Parents love this unique and colorful walker toy from VTech because it encourages their 9 month old or older babies to stand and walk. Plus this colorful toy with a lot of activity centers engages the crawlers in sensory stimulating play for long periods of time whether they are sitting or standing. Toys like these that make sounds and react to babies’ actions give babies sense of control and develop their sensory skills and coordination. And of course babies love pushing this walker all over the house.
VTech Turn and Learn Driver
For babies 6 months and older, this pretend steering wheel will delight an older baby or a young toddler who loves to ride cars and see his parents drive. The toy’s design and many interactive features will encourage imaginative play. Pretending to drive using the steering wheel makes the cute dog character move back and forth. Pressing buttons, shifting gears, honking the horn, and using the signal lever introduce her to different animals and vehicles, 60+ songs, melodies, sounds and phrases.
Educational Toys For Toddlers (1 to 3 years old):
Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog, Sensory, Fine Motor Toy, Ages 2+
A toddler favorite, this friendly hedgehog has attractive, colorful quills that kids can remove and replace in any order. The quills consist of chunky, easy to grasp pieces that fit in the back of the hedgehog. The toy helps your toddler develop fine motor skills, build color recognition, sorting and counting skills through fine motor skill games. Your child can also get creative designing her own colorful hedgehog, and use her imagination in using the hedgehog as her pet in make-believe play.
Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag, Classic
This simple toy consisting of big building blocks with primary bright colors, offers hours of fun for your toddler as she builds whatever her creativity inspires her. In addition to using her creativity, your toddler exercises her fine motor skills and engages in open-ended play. The best toys for your toddler are those that involves open-ended play since it leaves playing to the imagination.
Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set – 100 Blocks in 4 Colors and 9 Shapes
For your older toddler, this toy provides hours of fun as he constructs towers, towns, castles and more with a variety of shapes including rectangular prisms, triangles, cubes, cylinders, arches and more. Encourages creative play, practice his fine motor skills and basic engineering skills as he figures out the combination of what builds and what falls. This toy also involves open-ended play.
Deluxe Pounding Bench
The toy has 8 brightly colored, non-removable pegs. These pegs in the bench play peekaboo with your toddler when he hits them with the mallet, showing their friendly smiles. It’s fun for toddlers to practice fine motor skills, learn cause and effect and colors.
This toy is perfect for toddlers who love to open and close doors and covers. To play, your child undo a lock or latch, open a numbered door to discover a picture behind it. The latches board build fine motor skills while getting your child to learn about colors, numbers, animals and more.
VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube
This very engaging, feature-packed toy will encourage your toddler to explore by pressing buttons, twisting and spinning with its 5 sides of discovery and manipulative features, and help him develop his fine motor skills. It also 25 playful songs and melodies that gets triggered by your child’s manipulation of the toy. It also has 4 light-up buttons that introduce animal names, animal sounds and shapes.
VTech Musical Rhymes Book
Nursery rhymes provides an entertaining way for your child to have a head start in language development, reading and speech skills. This talking book contains 6 classic nursery rhymes with bright pages and a light-up star that flashes with sound. It also features 5 colorful piano buttons to introduce your child to musical sounds. Your child will enjoy listening to and playing nursery rhymes with you!
Discover My Busy Town Wooden Activity Cube
Toddlers love this Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award winner. It offers a variety of activities in the wooden cubes 5 sides. The multi-colored curvy wire rides, peek a boo doors, spin and match animals, turn and learn ABC word tiles, and racing rollers will provide various mental, visual and tactile stimulations. Playing with this feature-filled toy will provide fun and keep your child engaged for hours.
LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
Language development is one of the fundamental ways to develop your toddler’s brain, and the more words he hears early in life, the more likely you are building your child’s future language skills and her ability to learn. This toy introduces your toddler to 100 age-appropriate words while she enjoys playing. Touching the words on the pages plays the words, exciting sound effects and fun facts. Hear two learning songs by pressing the light-up star button. There is even a Spanish option if your toddler is bilingual.
This also comes in Scout and Violet version
VTech Spin & Learn Color Flashlight
Toddlers are fascinated with light, and this toy combine your toddler’s delight in playing with flashlight with learning. Your toddler can have fun changing the color of the light, and will also be entertained and learn from engaging songs and music that teach about animals, colors and numbers. A ladybug button activates sounds and interacts with your child.
VTech Smart Shots Sports Center
Introduce your toddler to sports, and at the same time make him learn about shapes, numbers and sounds. This sports center features a toddler basketball goal and a soccer net. The score can count up to 10, and plays motivating animations, sounds and phrases. This toy also teaches your toddler to numbers, shapes, sounds and 50 plus songs.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Game & Learn Controller, Multicolor
This pretend video game controller for your toddler enables your toddler to pretend that he is a gamer like you or his siblings. It is actually a fun hands-on teaching toy with 2 game modes. As your little “gamer” move the joystick or press the ABCD and the number buttons, exercising his fine motor skills, he’ll hear songs, sounds, and phrases, and see colored lights. The toy introduces him to numbers, shapes, and colors. Using the other sound option makes the toy produce a variety of video game sound effects – just like from a real gamer.
Educational Toys For Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old):
A colorful, attractive alphabet poster displayed in your home is a great way to introduce your child to the alphabet and numbers. It sets him off on letter and number recognition, which is the first step to building his reading and math skill. This electronic poster is even better, as it has an interactive feature that would make your child spend more time learning with it – pressing a button on a letter tells your child what letter it is, and what begins with that letter. It even plays kids songs (including the Alphabet song, of course) and has a quiz mode! A great addition to your child’s room – decorative, fun and educational.
ThinkFun Zingo Bingo Award Winning Game for Pre-Readers and Early Readers Age 4 and Up
This preschooler version of Bingo is a board game that can be played by the whole family, or up to 7 players. The simple game makes kids compete on who would be the first one to fill the Zingo cards based on the tiles drawn from the dispenser. Each tile has a simple image labelled with the word describing the image. The game teaches kids letter-word association as they match common words with the pictures while playing the game. It is the winner of an Oppenheim Gold Award, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Astra Best Toys for Kids Award, and more.
BEST LEARNING INNO PAD Smart Fun Lessons – Educational Tablet Toy
An alternative to screens, this multi-award winning toy is an interactive touch pad that teaches your preschooler child 16 interactive lessons about the alphabet, numbers, time, colors, fruits, shapes, animals, weathers, emotions, professions, music, transportation, and more. The fun activities and colorful, attractive artwork in the learning cards will captivate your child for hours. It even challenges your child with basic and advance quizzes to reinforce learning. A winner of Family Choice, Mom’s Choice Gold Metal & Tillywig Parents’ Favorite Products Award and others.
Ideal My First Magic Set
Kids are fascinated by magic, and this set teaches them how to do magic while learning about illusions, as well as developing confidence, social skills and self-discipline. Magic teaches kids to think from another person’s perspective and how they are feeling. This magic set teaches kids 25 easy to learn tricks, quality props with instructions and online videos.
LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box 10696 Building Toys for Creative Play; Kids Creative Kit (484 Pieces)
Building blocks are creative toys that exercise his creativity, train his imagination and teach him how to work towards a goal – and Lego is a classic brand that has been delighting child builders for ages. In addition to basic building bricks in 35 different colors, this kit includes windows, toy eyes, tires, wheel rims, and more. Your child can mix and match a total of 484 pieces to build all kinds of creatins limited only by his imaginations! Your child will spend countless hours having fun honing his creativity.
Star Right Flash Cards Set of 4 – Numbers, Alphabets, First Words, Colors & Shapes – Value Pack Flash Cards with Rings for Pre K – K
Flashcards are classic tools for rote learning, but these Star Education Flash Cards Set makes learning fun. The 4 sets of cards cover the learning basics – Colors & Shapes, First Words, Alphabets, and Numbers. The colorful realistic illustrations and large fonts make for an attractive teaching, reviewing and practicing tool for sight words and numbers. Each set of cards come with a metal ring, and can be used to play games suggested in the product, or you can come up with your own games for your toddler. One of the basic learning toys in a box.
Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set Toy, 4 Classic Pieces, Ages 3+
This toy introduces your toddler to tools used in exploration and science learning. The set includes a piece of Gator Grabber Tweezers, Handy Scoopers, Twisty Droppers, and Squeezy Tweezers. These toy tools are designed with bright colors and whimsical shapes to make them attractive to children. They build fine-motor skills and strengthen the hand muscles for writing. More importantly, your child can be creative in using these tools for exploration and other fun activities.
VTech PJ Masks Super Catboy Learning Watch, Blue
This learning watch, combined with his imagination, turns him into Catboy, Gekko or Owlette, and enables him to play four exciting games that explore numbers, counting, addition and shapes – while trying to defeat Romeo, Luna Girl and the Ninjalinos. The watch also includes 9 different PJ Mask clock faces, and a fully-functioning alarm, timer, stopwatch and cuckoo clock. Your child can practive telling time with 9 different PJ Masks faces.
This also comes in the Paw Patrol variation…
See & Spell Learning Toy
Your preschooler will have a jumpstart for school if she already recongnizes and knows the sounds of letters in preparation for reading. Melissa and Doug’s See & Spell Learning Toy helps your child master letter sounds and develop a sight-reading vocabulary in a fun way. There are lots of letters and words to work with, so your child can spend hours playing while learning. The letters can also be used as patterns to create other learning games.
VTech Write and Learn Creative Center
Although typing in gadgets to communicate is now ubiquitous, actual handwriting is still a skill that is important to learners. In fact, some studies suggest that when kids write notes, the processing that occurs improve learning and retention. This Write and Learn Creative Center toy encourages your pre-schooler to learn and practice uppercase and lowercase letter-writing in a fun way. Your child can also practice drawing skills by following instructions on how to draw different lines, shapes and objects. This may jumpstart your child’s interest in creative drawing and arts.
VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe (Frustration Free Packaging)
The Vtech Touch and Learn Activity Desk enables your preschooler to pretend to have a work desk, although this one is made for fun and learning. This is a colorful, interactive desk that displays 5 activity pages on the surface of the desk teaching numbers and counting, music, alphabet and letter sounds, the human body and fruits and color. It features a light-up letter and number display, a music player with 20 fun melodies, and a toy phone that introduces numbers. The desk can also transform into a chalkboard and an art station. A versatile educational toy for your preschooler.
LeapFrog LeapStart 3D Interactive Learning System, Green
This electronic learning system becomes an interactive toy when loaded with a LeapStart book. The interactivity makes all kinds of learning fun. There is an on-screen 3D-like animation which your child responds to and interact with by using a stylus to tap on images on the book. Tapping on the images trigger questions, challenges, songs, jokes and more, and your child becomes engaged in learning activities such as reading, counting, and problem solving while playing. The activities are highly replayable, and the stylus also helps train your child proper writing grip. (Note that a computer with internet is required to download books onto the LeapStart system). There are more than 25 activity books available that can be loaded in the system, and each book has its own attractions, and one of the most popular one is….
LeapFrog LeapStart 3D Around Town with PAW Patrol Book, Great Gift for Kids, Toddlers, Toy for Boys and Girls, Ages 3, 4, 5, 6
This book based on children’s favorite Paw Patrol series teaches your child about the pups and places in Adventure Bay. Featuring Ryder and the Paw Patrol, It teaches position words, maps, and professions through logic and problem-solving games.
VTech Drill & Learn Toolbox
This Drill and Learn Toolbox enables your child to pretend that she is a handyman, and provides hours of imaginative role play. It includes an electronic fix-it tray, working toy drill, hammer, wrench, nails and screws. The working drill spins the gears and drill screws into the electronic tray holes. Light-up buttons in the interactive toolbox produce fun songs about tools, how they are used, and the sound they make. Another cool interactive feature are the two double-sided cards that fit over the holes and teaches your child colors and numbers as she hammers or put in screws. This toy could stimulate your little one’s interest in being a fixer around the house.
Educational Toys For School-Age Kids (5 to 12 years old):
ThinkFun Circuit Maze Electric Current Brain Game and STEM Toy for Boys and Girls Age 8 and Up – Toy of the Year Finalist, Teaches Players about Circuitry through Fun Gameplay
A brain and puzzle game that uses real electrical circuits. The goal is to light up designated LED lights indicated in each of the 60 increasingly difficult challenge cards by forming circuits using pieces or components on a board, and let electricity flow where it’s needed. In the process, your child learns basic electricity concepts such as how circuits – series, parallel and combinations thereof – really work. It exercises her logical thinking and planning skills, and perhaps could even stimulate her interest in electricity or physics.
Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit
This building toy can stimulate the minds of the budding engineer who likes to work with electronics. With 30 color-coded, real circuit components that snap together, the package enables your child to build more than 100 projects including working models of a photo sensor, a flashing light, an adjustable volume siren and more. And once he has mastered using the components, he can create his own customized circuits and electronic devices! The package comes with an easy to understand illustration manual and requires no tools. Your child will understand what goes on behind everyday electronic gadgets and will feel accomplished and proud when he builds simple gadgets of his own.
Light-up Terrarium Kit for Kids with LED Light on Lid
This will warm the heart of the future botanist or nature lover. This kit enables your child to build a miniature garden inside a container that simulates a natural environment. She plants the seeds, water the soil, decorate the environment, and watch the plants as they grow every day. The terrarium even glows at night with the LED light on the lid, creating a beautiful sight. While being engaged and having fun, your child discovers how a plant grows and what it takes to take care of plants. This toy was evaluated by STEM.org to meet the highest standards of STEM learning.
A less expensive option, but without the attractive LED light and other decorative features, except for glow-in-the-dark stickers:
littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
Has your child fantasized about being a character in Star Wars – maybe the genius who invents all those droids? This multi-award-winning toy can make this closer to reality. The littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit provides your child with Droid parts and electronic blocks that he can put together to build a Droid. Then via an Apple or Android device with Bluetooth, he would be able to program the Droid via the free app to give the Droid new personalities and skills to complete missions. This toy could inspire your child’s interest in STEM, coding and robotics.
ZOOB BuilderZ S.T.E.M. Challenge
This is a building toy with many differently shaped pieces, but what makes it different is that the pieces include gears, axles and joints that rotate, spin, and extend so that the kids’ creation can actually move and have moving parts. Kids can design, invent and build their own toys like vehicles, monsters, or monsters that turn into vehicles. This toy also enables kids to design and create objects to solve challenges such as hitting targets and making balls bounce. It teaches and make kids apply science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M.) principles.
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game
Gravity Maze is a puzzle game where your child builds a maze tower so that the marble falls from the start position to the target. It offers 60 challenges that progresses from beginner to expert. The game helps train your child’s spatial reasoning, problem solving and planning skills, which are important in fostering engineering thinking and design. This toy won the Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award 2014, among other awards, and was featured in the Purdue University Engineering gift guide.
Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit
Kids love to mix it up, and they are curious what happens when they combine substances. This toy introduces your kid to the science of chemistry. It teaches her the basics of chemicals like the difference between acids and bases, nature of chemical reactions, as well as how to use science tools like the test tube and the pipette. Some of the fun experiments she can play while learning is how to create a color-changing volcano and how to grow colorful crystals.
AmScope 120X-1200X 52-pcs Kids Beginner Microscope STEM Kit with Metal Body Microscope, Plastic Slides, LED Light and Carrying Box
The future doctor or biologist may discover his passion with this toy. Although it is as a toy for beginners, this kit is packed with advanced features for exploring and learning about the microscopic world. This microscope provides magnification from 120x to 1200x. Its viewing head has LED light and mirror illumination with built-in color wheel. The kit also comes with items that will start your child exploring like a shrimp hatchery and brine shrimp eggs, as well as lab tools like specimen slicer, petri dish, and tweezers that will help him prepare specimens for examination.
Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, 7″ Display, 16 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case – a variety of technology-driven intelligent games and books
Amazon offers a really fast, feature-rich high-tech tablet that is fun for kids. What’s more, this Kids Edition tablet includes a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited that gives your child unlimited access to thousands of educational books, audiobooks, videos, apps, games, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more. You can also limit your child’s use of the tablet through personalized screen time limits and educational goals. It even has a kid-proof case to withstand rough handling and ensure that it will last for a long time. And even if it gets broken, Amazon will replace the device from its 2-year worry-free guarantee.
All-new Kindle Kids Edition – Includes access to thousands of books – Reading is, of course, one of the most important activity that makes your child succeed not only in school, but also in life. This device is built solely for reading – without games, ads, or videos as distractions. It motivates kids to read and learn vocabulary words with tools like Word Wise and Vocabulary Builder. It is thin, light, with battery that last weeks, and offers more than 250,000 children’s titles. With the included year of FreeTime Unlimited, kids can explore thousands of popular titles and series, including Harry Potter, The Boxcar Children, and more. The e-reader comes with a kid-friendly cover and a 2-year worry-free guarantee, which means that if your child breaks it, you can return it and Amazon will replace it for free, no questions asked.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit – Includes Rough Gemstones, 4 Polishing Grits, Jewelry Fastenings and Detailed Learning Guide
National Geographic, the magazine that popularizes geography, natural science and exploration, offers a children’s toy that could set off or further enhance your child’s interest in mineralogy, earth science, or even crafting with colorful rocks. The rock tumbler polishes any rock your child puts in it, and turns it into gemstones. It is a hobby kit that helps your child create beautiful homemade jewelry or an attractive rock collection. Easy to follow instructions and full-color information guide with cool facts about each of the gemstones are included. Your child might even yearn for additional knowledge and start researching about rocks.
Learning Resources Mathlink Cubes, Set of 100 Cubes
The Mathlink Cubes is a building toy your child will enjoy, but it is also a tool for teaching math, that’s why it’s very popular with homeschooling moms. It consists of blocks that your child can snap together, and in the process your child learns math skills. The toy illustrates the shapes of numbers, addition and subtraction of bricks, square numbers (2×2=4, 3×3=9), cube numbers, fractions, area, volume, and how numbers relate to each other. It also teaches one-to-one correspondence, counting to 100, skip counting, as well as geometric shapes, and more.
Insect Lore Butterfly Growing Kit – With Voucher to Redeem Caterpillars Later
A great toy to introduce your child to the fascinating world of nature. It consists of a pop up, reusable 11.5 inch tall mesh habitat that enables your child to witness one of nature’s most spectacular transformations up close – caterpillars transforming to chrysalides, then into butterflies! The kit also includes all the food caterpillars need. This toy, authenticated by STEM.org as an Educational Product, can ignite a love of nature and science exploration and discovery in your child. It could also foster a love of nature, which may lead to your child making a positive contribution to the environment in the future.
Shifu Orboot (App Based): Augmented Reality Interactive Globe For Kids (No Borders, No Names On Globe)
This smart globe enables your child to gain knowledge about a lot of things about the world – the countries, culture, animals, cuisine, monuments, and more. You download the app on your Android or iOS phone or device, and when opened, the app uses augmented reality to show your child hundreds of facts about the areas of the globe your child puts the device in front of. There are also puzzles and other activities. With this toy, your child becomes a virtual world traveler, and it even comes with a travel kit that includes a passport and lots of stickers.
K’Nex Toys – creativity, concentration and problem solving skills
For future engineers or builders, K’NEX have building toys that your child should have fun putting together to build anything he can imagine, honing his creativity and problem solving abilities in the process. These toys are even used in schools to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts. Dynamic K’NEX models offer hands-on learning opportunities that encourage scientific inquiry,investigation and experimentation. Models are fully-functioning replicas of real-world machines.
Magazine for Kids – The many benefits of reading
Magazines start off your kid on a life-long passion for reading. National Geographic Kids, for example, caters to your kid’s love for animals, and this will make her learn about geography, adventure, wildlife, science, and youngsters of special distinction from around the world. With magazines, your kid’s special interests will lead her to a love of reading that will open her up to more knowledge.
Other magazines that you can subscribe to at a great discount are Children’s Playmate (for beginning readers, it also contains puzzles, games, activities, simple recipes, comic strips and book reviews.) and Sports Illustrated Kids which covers sports the way kids like it – interviews with sports heroes, hilarious comics, awesome action photos and much, much more.
Your kid will eagerly await the next issue of her magazine! The anticipation will just fuel her hunger for knowledge.
Video games, when played in moderation, can give your child’s brains a great workout, and may improve his problem solving, hand-eye coordination and other thinking skills, according to studies. See this article for details and find list of 23 video games that can make kids smarter.
Need tips on how to choose educational toys? See how to choose toys to make kids smart