Whether you are on the hunt for an education Christmas or birthday present for your toddler, or you are simply interested in educational toys that your toddler will love, we’ve collected a number of different toddler learning resources in this article. Young children will learn many new skill sets and abilities through play and providing your little ones with the right toys that are appropriate for their age is important. The educational toys discussed in this tutorial will make great gifts for a toddler aged 2 to 5 years to help broaden their reading, writing, imaginative or coordination skills.
- 1 What are Educational Toys?
- 2 The Best Educational Toys for Your Toddler to Achieve Different Aspects of Learning
What are Educational Toys?
You may be wondering what separates educational toys from other games and nick-nacks found within the children’s department at large chain stores. Educational toys are specifically designed with your child’s development in mind. This is not to say that one educational toy will help your child develop immensely, they more so focus on one aspect of development. For example, there are specific education toys that will help your toddler with:
- Motor Development
- Social Intelligence
- Language Skills
- Reading and Writing Skills
Purchasing a range of toys that target different aspects of learning will help your toddler reach their milestones and allow them to delve in problem-solving, in turn reducing frustration. While we mention a number of different toys in this article, many household items can also be turned into educational resources as well. For example, dying pasta different colors and having a number of color-coded containers will help your child identify a range of colors and they will also be able to sort and count the dried pasta pieces.
Should I Purchase Educational Toys for my Toddler?
If your toddler has a toy room, chances are a handful of the toys they own are educational without you or him even noticing. If your little one has a birthday coming up, it is nearing Christmas or you have an additional budget this week, its a good time to start looking for an educational toy opposed to another fluff-duster that will sit on the shelf. Consider the age of your toddler and their interests before heading out or browsing educational toys online. For example, many young boys love building while girls tend to have interests in princess or fairy-themed toys.
Many times mothers confuse a toddler as being ‘terrible’ when in fact this is brought on by boredom. Educational and interactive toys often help to combat this boredom. Problem-solving style educational toddler toys have been proven to combat frustration that many children in this age bracket release through tantrums or outbursts.
Parents, where possible should provide their children with the basic educational toys to help increase/improve the child’s:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Short term memory
- Touch, sight, and hearing
- Identification skills
- Imaginative play
- Social and emotional skills
Toddler Skills Achieved through Educational Play
Children learn through play and learning new skills will allow them to achieve their expected age-specific milestones. For example, by two years of age, your toddler should be able to voice 50 words. These words may not be fluent, although the mother should be able to understand what the child is asking for. It is through music and reading that your toddler will pick up on new words, and even some phrases. On the other hand, your toddler will also need to begin to develop their writing skills during their early years. By no means will your two or three-year-old be an artist although giving them drawing tools such as crayons will help them develop control of holding writing supplies. Educational toys will help your toddler achieve a range of skill sets mentioned in the list above.
The Best Educational Toys for Your Toddler to Achieve Different Aspects of Learning
3 Educational Toys to Help Your Toddler Read
The following three toys will help your toddler expand their vocabulary through reading. Your toddler’s language skills should progressively increase from ages 1 to 4. At age 1 your toddler will be able to say a handful of words, by 2 he/she should be verbalizing 50 words regularly, your toddler at 3 should be speaking in short sentences and by 4 the sentences should be more complex and clear. Reading to your child regularly and playing games that involve language skills are great ways to encourage your child to use a range of new words. Sight cards and hardcover books, while not mentioned below are also great gifts to help a toddler increase their vocabulary.
- Introduces new sounds and words to your toddler
- Increases a young child’s imagination
- Modern way of reading
- The soft background music can help toddlers wind down and relax at the end of the day
Moonlite Stories allow you to use your smartphone to bring classic stories to life such as Disney favorites, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Peter Rabbit Collection. Your toddler will love listening to you read as they watch the projector images above when lying down in bed.
Complete packages prices start at $25.00 USD and then additional stories can be purchased separately.
Melissa and Doug’s See and Spell Learning Toy
- This simple yet effective puzzle-style toy will have your toddler learning new words
- Crafted from wood, this toy is set to last from your first to your last-child
- This toy will help your toddler develop their reading, spelling and fine motor skills
While it looks like just another puzzle, the difference between this wooden puzzle set and those found at every toy store is the fact that your child will be benefiting by learning a number of new words. Your child may already know the words by hearing them regularly, although this activity allows them to learn how to spell basic words such as fish, bird, and pig. All the words are three and four letters which makes this set ideal for toddlers.
This puzzle set can be purchased for approximately $16.00 USD which includes 50 colorful letters and 8 two-sided word boards.
- An interactive book that different stories can be purchased for which allows it to grow with your toddler
- Young children can use the stylus to activate sounds and words within the digital book
- The LeapStart helps toddlers with reading and comprehension, problem-solving and spelling
The LeapFrog company have a number of great educational resources and toys suitable for toddlers. One of their more popular toys is the LeapStart which is an interactive plastic book that allows children to read, interact and listen to a number of stories. There are over 25 different books that can be purchased for the LeapStart allowing this toy to grow with your child.
The LeapStart generally retails for $40.00 USD with each story pack sold separately for approximately $10.00 USD.
3 Educational Toys to Help your Toddler Write
Learning to write and draw should commence during toddlerhood. While your child will be able to indulge in drawing, crafts, and arts if they attend a preschool it is important to extend this type of activity at home. There are a number of toys such as the good old magnetic sketch pads that encourage scribble (writing) for toddlers along with a handful of other good toddler writing resources we’ve mentioned below. By two and a half, your toddler should be able to confidently hold a crayon or pencil.
Play22 Magnetic Drawing Board
- Available in an alphabet or numeric version
- This puzzle-style toddler toy helps increase writing and hand-eye coordination skills
- Perfect educational toy to take traveling, to the grandparents for the day or during times when the child may need to sit quietly
Rather than giving your child a pen and a piece of paper to practice their letters or numbers, these Play22 boards come with a stylus pen and magnet board. As the child traces the letters or numbers with the stylus, tiny magnets are released into the dots. The magnetics can then be picked up again with the stylus by tracing back over the letters or numbers. Toddlers will love trying to trace these magnetic puzzles.
The uppercase letters magnetic letters board retails for $17.00 USD while the numbers board can be purchased for an additional $20.00 USD.
Table Top Art Easel by Melissa and Doug
- Compact to be taken along for a day trip
- Crafted from sturdy wood to withstand rough toddlers
- Magnetic whiteboard on one side and blackboard on the other with a mini paper holder at the top
- Magnetic letters and numbers are included as well as a paper roll
Every toddler can benefit from a magnetic easel and this one, in particular, is perfect for those who have limited storage space. The Melissa and Doug Table Top Art Easel will help your child learn to write and improve their pen control. The paper roll can be pulled down if your child wants to scribble on paper, whereas the included chalk can be used on the blackboard and the dry erase marker can be used on the whiteboard. 36 magnets (letters and numbers) are included to help the child learn the alphabet as well as become familiar with their numbers.
The tabletop art easel retails for approximately $35.00 USD.
Scribble and Write
- Teaches children how to write by tracing over letters and numbers displayed on the screen
- Stylus pen is attached so it cannot be lost
- Feedback is virtually supplied to the toddler so they know whether they have traced the desired letter/number correctly
Created by the LeapFrog company is the Scribble and Write toddler toy suitable for those aged 3 to 5 years. This toy teaches children to write by displaying a letter or number on the screen that the child must attempt to trace with the stylus. The Scribble and Write is small enough to be taken out for the day and is a great interactive, quiet activity that your toddler than undertake. Your toddler will feel achieved when they receive good virtual feedback. There are multiple levels of difficulty that parents can set as the child advances with their writing skills.
The Scribble and Write tablet retails for around $22.00 USD.
3 Educational Toys to Help your Toddler Explore Imaginative Play
Imaginative play is where a child will reenact an experience or character. It allows children to extend their social skills and decision making. Imaginative play can involve a child’s kitchen setting right through to a dress-up corner. There are a number of toys you may like to include in your toddler’s imaginative play area and we’ve mentioned a handful of our favorites below.
Wooden Play Food
- This play food comes with four different crates that will allow your toddler to recognize different food groups
- The play food is crafted from wood making it sturdy and easy to pick up for young toddlers
- This toy will introduce your toddler to new foods that they may have not seen before
Another great educational toy by the Melissa and Doug company is this set of wooden play foods. The foods included are from the five different food groups and are made from wood making this set sturdy for little yet mischievous hands. This set gives your toddler the ability to delve into a number of different imaginative role-play experiences such as a chef and a shop keeper. Children may also use this food in other experiences such as tea parties.
This 21 piece wooden play food set retails for around $20.00 USD.
- Four felt boards included that allow for different stories to be created
- Includes a storage bag so that all felt pieces can be kept together
- The boards are lightweight so that toddlers can carry them with them
A simple yet effective toy to allow your toddler to complete role-play experiences. This set comes with four different boards which allows the toddler to create four different types of stories or tales with the felt people/animals. This toy is great for quiet playtime and many toddlers will not need assistance to use it. Many different board packages can be purchased, with the likelihood that one set will appeal to your toddler’s current interests.
A set of four storyboards: Sealife, Dinosaurs, Outerspace and Farmyard retails for $37.00 USD.
Baby Alive Happy and Hungry Baby
- The Baby Alive dolls come with a number of different accessories and can eat real food
- Imaginative play experiences can be created with this doll as your toddler will need to tend to her needs including nappy changes
- The Baby Alive doll can be purchased in a number of different skin tones which promotes diversity to your toddler
Whether you have a little boy or a little girl, introducing plastic babies into their toy room will allow them to set up imaginative play experiences. Whether they role-play as the mom or the dad, a baby alive doll will allow them to create this educational play experience. This particular baby alive doll can be fed, has a ‘real’ need for nappy changes and responds with 50 words/phrases. Your toddler will love the way that the baby alive doll feels, looks and acts like a real baby.
The Baby Alive Happy and Hungry Baby retails for approximately $50.00 USD.
3 Educational Toys to Help your Toddler with Problem Solving
Problem-solving skills are crucial for survival and these skills need to be taught from a young age. Toddlers that are encouraged to problem solve are often less frustrated and feel more confident on a daily basis. Simple problem-solving toys such as puzzles and lace threadings encourage children to work out how they can achieve real-life objectives such as doing up their own shoes. In this section, we take an in-depth look at three problem-solving toys ideal for your toddler.
Wooden Latches Board
- Crafted from sturdy wood with metal latches, this toy has been built to last a lifetime
- Your toddler will build fine and gross motor skills as they problem-solve this latch style puzzle
- Your toddler will be able to develop their number skills as each door relates to a number of different things hiding behind it
While this latches board is best suited to younger toddlers aged 2 and 3, it can definitely help them develop their problem-solving ability. Your toddler will need to identify how to undo a number of different latches to reveal what is behind each door. Little hands will be eager to get a hold of this puzzle and try and crack the six different latches. This is the perfect gift for a toddler whether they are a boy or a girl.
This Melissa and Doug latches board retails for $25.00 USD. A variety of different latch boards can be purchased to appeal to different toddlers.
- 100 tiles are included that differ in shape and color
- These Magna-Tiles will allow your toddler to conduct imaginative play and increase their tactile skills
- These tiles allow your little one to bring an imaginative thought to life
Magnetic tiles, whether they are Magna Tiles or not, are great toys for toddlers to help with their problem-solving abilities. Your toddler will need to think out a way they are going to create a masterpiece with differing shaped magnetic tiles. You can purchase different sets to create masterpieces or generic sets that allow your little one to come up with their own creations. Your toddler will be excited to show you their masterpieces made from magnetic tiles.
The 100 piece Magna-Tiles starter set retails for $120.00 USD.
Wooden Marble Run
- A wooden marble run creates endless problem-solving possibilities for your toddler
- Made from sturdy wood, the pieces will last a lifetime
- The blocks are color-coded to a purpose that they are meant to play in the marble run
- Multiple marbles are included in the case that some are lost
While I do not recommend games or toys that include marbles to be used by children under 3 if your child will not attempt to swallow the marbles, a wooden marble run is a great toy that will allow your child to problem-solve. This toy comes with a number of wooden blocks and wooden tracks that your child can put together to create a ramp for a marble to travel down. These blocks and tracks will provide your child with hours of fun.
This particular marble run retails for $30.00 USD.