The 20 Best Educational Toys for Toddlers

By sara / December 8, 2016

Educational toys for toddlers, whether for Christmas or other reasons, must serve their purpose. Each toy selected helps children engage with it in a manner that involves use and development of fine or general motor skills, as well as opportunities to learn melodies, rhythms, letters, numbers, and words.

We base our selections on several factors. First and foremost, we’re looking for educational utility. We also consider factors such as price, popularity, consumer reviews, and practicality. Our goal is to eliminate the frustration around shopping for educational Christmas toys; there’s no point in referring anything that’s overpriced, overrated, or impractical.

Call and Chat Learning Phone is like giving a child his or her own cell phone. Designed to emulate a smartphone, Call and Chat includes ten engaging and realistic phone apps, including clock, photos, games, and music. Children will feel like mom and dad as they play and talk on their own phone, which allows them to store up to 5 numbers they can pretend to call, and up to 5 ringtones for use.

Call and Chat is one of the best educational Christmas toys for toddlers because it teaches numbers, letters, and time concepts through interactive fun apps and games – and is has a bonus voice activation feature, which allows children to talk to a friendly animated bird when activated.

Touch & Teach Word Book includes over 100 words, 90 creative sounds, and 15 melodies on 12 exceptionally interactive pages with incredible details. Every single page reacts to a child’s touch with sounds, words, and music, keeping them engaged from beginning to end. Children have incredible fun with characters Cody the Smart Cub and Cora the Smart Cub while learning to build and expand their vocabulary skills while associating words with sounds and pictures, as pictures come to life with the touch of a finger. Touch & Teach Word Book is one of the best toys for toddlers, because it provides four different play modes, including What’s That Word?, Music Time, Find It Quiz Game, and Letter Fun.

VTech Baby Babble and Rattle Microphone operates like a real microphone, amplifying your baby’s voice and encouraging their creative expression as they sing and learn. Babble and Rattle play 12 melodies in classic or rock ‘n roll style to introduce children to instruments. When baby shakes the rattle, it plays fun sounds and phrases. Microphone’s cute puppy button is an endearing friend that encourages them to sing along to the sons. Product features a red ring that can be turned to introduce children to 12 different animals, providing a perfect opportunity for children to build fine motor skills and learn over 60 songs, melodies, and phrases.

Touch and Learn Activity desk is an interactive desktop with four double-sided cards created to introduce children to animals, music, letters, numbers, people, and more. This activity desk provides over 30 learning activities, 20 fun and popular melodies, a rich count of over 160 vocabulary words, and an interactive LED screen with demos to show children how to write letters and numbers step by step. When children are ready to express their creativity, table turns into an art stand, allowing children to draw using the easel or chalkboard. (Chalk and eraser are not included, but can be purchased and easily stored in the unit).

VTEch’s Baby Learning Laptop is perfectly designed for growing babies and toddlers in our information age. This adorable laptop comes in blue or pink and features 9 chunky keyboard keys and movable mouse for a realistic experience. What makes this toy such a gem is its early learning center. The early learning center has 3 modes of play to teach shapes, objects, feelings, and music. Children will love touch and learn interactivity of the product, which includes over 90 songs, music, sounds, and fun phrases for children to sing along to and enjoy.

Mag Builders is currently one of the top toy selections everywhere this holiday season. Mag Builders is an excellent opportunity for children to develop several math skills. Stimulate children’s creativity while they learn and strengthen their grasp of building, geometry, mathematics, and sense of color. Magnetic sets are robust with pieces. Children can build trains, trucks, rocket launchers, and more. Purchase includes 104 solid magnetic pieces, as well as 50 squares, 8 larger-sized squares, 18 equilateral triangles, 12 right triangles, and 4 – yes, 4 – magnetic cars, giving hours and hours of unlimited creative opportunity. Best of all, this set is designed for preschool play and comes with a storage container, making projects easy to construct and easy to clean up.

Pretend & Play Doctor encourages the development of your child’s fine motor skills during play while they learn practical life skills such as empathy and caring for others. Designed with frustration-free packaging, Pretend & Play is a 19-piece set, including stethoscope and pager with lifelike sounds, plus bandages, forceps, thermometer, and battery-operated cell phone. We live that gives children opportunities to ease their anxieties about upcoming doctor visits through role play while increasing their fine motor skills and social development. Pretend & Play Doctor is a great toy that grows with children, who enjoy it well past their toddler years.

Melissa & Doug’s Catch & Count Fishing Game is a top choice for several reasons. The resourceful packaging fits all of the game pieces inside of a mesh bag that also serves as the pond used during play, making clean up simple. Although made strictly for dry land, there’s still plenty of fun to be had. This game is creatively designed to encourage the development of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Consisting of ten wooden fish with magnetic pieces, two fishing reels with child-friendly hooks, and a worm spinner, this game provides interactive learning opportunities for children to explore color, shapes, counting, numbers, and the concept of big and small.

Teach your little one the power of finance. Pretend & Play Cash Register includes realistic coins and dollar bills, plus solar-powered calculator. We like this because this is a fun product that provides imaginative opportunities for children to develop beginning math and sales skills. Designed with large, easy to press buttons, and the cutest “cha-ching” sound made when the drawer’s opened, children are able to interact with “real money” that’s life-sized and easy to handle with little hands. The product is sturdy in build and includes play dollar bills, plastic coins, play credit card, and an activity guide to provide play scenarios and information on use.

All it takes is one simple press of BeatBo’s tummy or feet to activate this little dance machine. Designed with fun songs, learning content, and dance moves, BeatBo can move with the best of them. Beats Dance and Move provides three modes of entertainment: Dance ‘n Move, Learning & Games, and Customized Sing-Along. Best of all, children and parents can customize the experience by recording a phrase and letting BeatBo remix it into a personal song for fun and pleasure. Because BeatBo is designed to grow with children, he can provide hours of edutainment for years to come.

Busy Learner’s Activity cube gives children an opportunity to explore the shapes and sounds of animals, as well as color. Designed with five, fully-explorable sides, children can expand the power of their imagination with music, light-up buttons, and more. Sliding and spinning blocks encourage the development of fine motor skills, and the cube’s interactive design triggers fun sounds upon movement. Busy Learner’s Activity cube also has 25 adorable sing-along songs and melodies for your child’s enjoyment.

Designed to accompany your child as they go from crawling to walking, the Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker gives baby the power of adaptive technology in conjunction with endless hours of learning fun. Walker features an activity panel and a gaggle of barnyard friends to cheer them on and assist them as they learn shapes, colors, animals, and music in addition to walking. Product features vibrant spinning gears, piano keys, colorful rollers, shape sorters, and buttons that light up to stimulate their mind and develop motor skills.

VTech’s Little Apps Tablet features Cody The Smart Cub, who provides stimulating fun in a neat little toy. Little Apps is designed with a color-changing screen, piano keyboard, and letter buttons for hours of imaginative play. This cute little electronic tablet gives children the experience of playing with a tablet just like mom or dad as they engage eight activities, each with their own progressive learning levels. We love that Little Apps gives your child the ability to learn how to count, perform basic math, learn letters and words, and more. There’s even a built-in keyboard and music to help develop creative musical skills and tune creation. Our favorite feature, however, is the parent-friendly option that allows for volume control.

Adorable and chock-full of activity, Fisher-Price Laugh, and Learn Stages Chair is the perfect option for the little tyke that loves to be enthralled for hours on end. We love it because it’s inexpensive, yet saturated with great features. Laugh and Learn Chair features over 50 – yes, 50 – songs, tunes, phrases, and melodies for children to enjoy. The chair’s Smart Stages Technology allows you to enter the child’s age to program it to automatically provide content best suited for their stage of development. Physical activities such as turning book pages, pressing the remote control’s buttons, and lifting the seat cushion encourage gross motor skill development and coordination.

LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket is the perfect toy for little foodies. This 14-piece educational toy assists in a child’s development of motor skills with activities that include sorting matching, stacking, emptying, and filling the basket. As children play, their experience opens them up to exploring shapes, colors, manners, and more. The picnic basket has a cute, sweet little voice that’s distinctive and charismatic, allowing children to sing and dance along easily to its songs and melodies. Parents love that the product is reasonably priced, and can hold a real sandwich for a child to enjoy a “real picnic” in the backyard.

Drop and Go Dump Truck possesses three vibrant and colorful buttons for toddlers. When pressed, the construction toy’s buttons play melodies and phrases in addition to teaching tools and colors. Motor skills are developed by lifting hinged bucket, which will unload rocks for children to pick up and reload. Once rocks are refilled, children experience the delight of pulling or pushing the truck to see play rocks tumbling and rumbling around with vehicle movement. Drop and Go Dump Truck intrigues children,; some parents have revealed the toy has held their child captive for up to an hour at a time.

One of the top selections due to its frustration-free packaging and creative design, children get to develop and sharpen creative imagination and fine motor skills with the Enchanted Princess Palace. VTech’s design features 5 MagicPoint locations to bring characters to life with adorable phrases, lights, and interaction. Outfitted with an abundant variety of features to enhance children’s role-play and fine motor skills, this product features Princess Darla, plus her bed, harp and mirror, and the ability to let two characters chat, sing, and play with each other. Luxurious toy design is inspiring, delightful, and enchanting as it teaches children words, colors, letters, and more with vibrant songs and cheerful melodies. Best of all, this is one of the best toys for children because it’s age range extends from 18 months to 5 years of age.

Though considered a little pricey, the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set is an excellent way to introduce the alphabet in an addictive, fun-filled manner while strengthening fine motor and coordination skills. Fridge Phonics features 26 magnetic letters that talk and sing, allowing a child to stay occupied and engaged while spending time with a parent or guardian in the kitchen. The fun starts when children press a letter into the bus window and press it. Violet, the cute and friendly dog, will pronounce the letter’s name, its sound. When pressed twice, Violet will say a word that begins with the letter and use it in a sentence. Press the music note to dance and sing along to the jovial sounds of three learning songs, including “Wheels on the Bus” and the “Alphabet Song.”

LeapFrog’s My Own Leaptop gives children the opportunity to feel like Mom and Dad with their very own laptop computer device. Although this isn’t a real laptop, this creative device provides an array of interactive options that simulate actual computer activities. Choose from any of four learning modes, including ABCs, Messages, Games, and Music. What’s so awesome about this toy is that children get to perform cute and cool activities such as send and receive pretend emails, sing along to 16 built-in songs, and learn letters and animal names. My Own Leaptop includes entertaining animations to bring the learning experience to life, and help reinforce alphabet and early development of child vocabulary. Best of all, it’s available in green or pink.

VTech is at the top of the list because this brand has proven its ability to keep its pulse on the edge of what toddlers need in terms of education that’s fun, interactive, and entertaining. VTech Musical Rhymes Book helps children develop fine motor skills with sliding and twisting play pieces. Five bright and playful piano buttons introduce children to colors and instruments. Outfitted with over 40 songs and 2 modes of learning (music and learning), VTech Musical Rhymes book features 6 classic nursery rhymes and provides a visually striking design to stimulate and entertain children for hours on end.