Better than TV and electronic devices, hands-on educational toys can open a world of discovery for kids. From learning early phonics, reading, and writing skills to opening up a world of science and engineering, educational toys are built to expand young minds. Every child is different, learns differently, and has their own interests, talents, and curiosities. That’s why we’ve looked high and low for the best educational toys across a variety of subjects. Check out our list of favorites below.
Why buy educational toys?
Whether you’re buying a gift or supporting your child’s interest, an educational toy is a fantastic buy. Children can learn new things while having fun and bonding with siblings, friends, parents, or caregivers. These days, kids are bombarded with screens. Give them something else to focus on and have fun with that will engage their minds.
What should you consider in educational toys?
- Age Appropriateness: Before you purchase an educational toy as a gift, ask yourself if the toy is appropriate for your child. Smaller children may not be able to handle small parts or potentially harmful and overcomplicated elements of scientific toys. Older children will be bored if the toy is too simple for them.
- Subject Matter: What does your child love? Is he intrigued by science? Does she enjoy geography? Do they love art? Consider what your child enjoys before deciding on a toy, especially for older children.
- Mess Factor: While messy toys are fun, they often need to be monitored. If you’re looking for a toy for independent play, you may want to avoid a messy toy. However, if you’re looking for a fun experiment and don’t mind the mess, go for it!
Are there educational toys for children with sensory issues?
Absolutely. Educational toys with texture, soft materials like putty or clay, or stacking elements are great for children with sensory issues. Avoid toys that are exceptionally noisy or that have bright or flickering lights since they may not be a good choice for sensory disorders.
KMUYSL See & Spell Learning Educational Toys
Your child can learn sight words, spelling, and matching with this cute and colorful toy set.
Pros: Kids can learn a lot about letters with this toy set! The bright colors are very appealing to younger kids. The set comes with dozens of sight words to spell with the included colorful letters, so it’s ideal for beginner readers. Plus, it comes with a storage bag so that all the letters don’t get lost.
Cons: The thin cards may not stand up to kids for very long.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for an educational toy for early readers, check this one out. It promotes motor movement for preschool-aged children, and the early sight words can give your child a leg up before kindergarten.
VTech Write & Learn Creative Center
Great for travel and no-mess fun, this battery-operated writing pad helps your child learn to write and draw.
Pros: This writing pad is a great option for younger children because it’s durable. It can survive being stepped on, tossed, and all the other rambunctious things preschool-aged kids like to do with toys. The songs and sounds are appealing and can keep your child intrigued for hours. Plus, it helps with letter recognition, which is great for building pre-reading language skills.
Cons: The string for the stylus is short.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a high-quality magnetic writing pad, this is a great option. It’s perfect for preschool and kindergarten kids, keeping them entertained on road trips while learning. Plus, it has a long battery life.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Earth Science Kit
Your child's imagination will ignite with more than 10 scientific experiments to do in this box.
Pros: There are a variety of experiments in this kit to pique different interests. It’s a great choice for families with multiple kids, and it makes a great family activity. Plus, the magnetic putty and the sculpting sand are great activities for kids with sensory issues.
Cons: The instructions are not as clear as they could be.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a fun science toy for kids 5 and over, check out this kit. It’s well organized, keeping all the pieces secure. Plus, it will last you more than one use since there are multiple ways to play.
Imagimake Mapology USA
With five play modes and an interactive app, this geography game helps kids learn social science, problem-solving, and hand-eye coordination.
Pros: Unlike some other map toys, this one is very sturdy. It’s a great selection for kids who are hands-on learners. And it comes with cute state flags as well as other facts about the states that kids will love to learn.
Cons: The flag assembly is tedious and time-consuming.
Bottom Line: This is the toy to get if your kid loves geography or traveling. Kids who are learning states and their capitols will flourish with this fun, interactive toy. Plus, there are other parts of the world you can select.
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run
Your child will love building critical thinking skills with this challenging, colorful maze.
Pros: This game is challenging, which is great for older kids. It comes with clear directions for each challenge. And it’s engaging, perfect for siblings or friends to play together.
Cons: It doesn’t come with extra marbles.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a fun and challenging game for older children to enjoy, this may be a great option for you. The pieces are sturdy, and they have their own place in the box so they don’t get lost. Some of the games are even challenging for adults!
Educational toys don’t just entertain your kids. They help to develop your child’s brain development, according to scientists. Instructive toys can help a child learn to read, write, or memorize new subjects. And hands-on toys help with motor development and developing new skills.