Research shows that the toddler years are especially important for a child’s development. Toddlers learn motor skills that they’ll depend on for the rest of their lives. They start to interpret visual stimuli and form conclusions about their environments; picking up on sounds and speech, and their babbling gradually forms into words. Educational toddler toys that help kids develop these skills, while also being safe (and durable!) offer value beyond a little bit of quiet time for Jimmy’s parents!
Particularly in the early years, you will see a lot of ‘functional play’. This is when your child plays with their toys quite repetitively, using it the same way again and again. Your child is learning how the world works, and building on their understanding of object permanence.
Learning can be fun!
Research has shown that learning (not only by children!) is more easily achieved with the activity doing the teaching is enjoyable – hence educational toddler toys becoming more popular. Things that help your child learn, but don’t feel like traditional education where things are spelt out for your child, see your child make more discoveries for themselves. Things they learn during play and times of enjoyment are more likely to be retained, and your child is also more likely to initiate that learning themselves.
Educational toddler toys are also a great opportunity to play with your child, communicating with them on their level and showing an interest in the things that they are doing. Being part of the learning process will help make your child feel more open to educational outcomes, as well as provides a great opportunity for joy and laughter between you both.
It can be tricky to work out which toys provide the best learning opportunities, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the top educational toddler toys that are both safe, and worth your hard earned cash.
Top Educational Toddler Toys – Our Picks
- VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker: It all starts with walking! While our baby’s first steps are an exciting moment, they can be tough; balance isn’t a toddler’s strong suit. This colorful, sturdy walker helps toddlers stay upright as they navigate the world for the first time, but that’s not all. The walker also includes a removable play panel with piano keys, colorful spinning rollers, and shape sorters, plus a pretend telephone and over 70 sound effects and songs, helping your child develop fine motor skills, creativity, and communication.
LeapFrog Musical Rainbow Tea Set: Auditory stimulation is a key element of toddler’s development, as they learn to process speech and connect sounds with actions. This tea set lets kids enjoy a grown-up party with all the accompanying sound effects: they can hear the “tea” gurgling and see it in the teapot (there’s no actual fluid to be spilled, of course), and listen to 7 tea-time songs. The set also includes 6 cake pieces that your child can practice serving and sharing, building motor and social skills.
- Step2 Whisper Ride II: Cars are fascinating to all ages! Even adults turn into kids when behind the wheel of a particularly sweet vehicle. That’s why the Step2 Whisper Ride is so exciting for toddlers: they get to be in mom’s seat for once, in a stroller with the look of a speedy roadster, while you safely operate the car from behind. The Whisper Ride is named for its quiet wheels and includes three cup holders and storage under the hood. Hit the road!
VTech Call and Chat Learning Phone: The thinking behind this toy is similar to the Whisper Ride: just as our toddlers see us driving and want a piece of the action, they see us endlessly fiddling with our phones and want in on the action. This “smartphone” looks just like an adult’s and includes 10 spot-on apps including music, photos, and games. Plus, your kids can add 5 “contacts” to their phone book, helping them develop socially and understand communication.
LEGO DUPLO Creative Play: My First Box of Fun: It’s just as important for toddlers to develop fine motor skills, controlling small muscles to accomplish tasks and manipulate objects, as it is for them to develop gross motor skills like jumping and climbing. This play set is great for putting those little hands to work, with a broad selection of classic DUPLO bricks for kids to put together and take apart, along with 2 child figurines, assorted animals, and a brick-shaped storage box. And the millions of possible combinations help your child build creativity and ingenuity.
Toddlers don’t just learn to walk, they learn how to interact with the world around them. Because this period is so formative, the toys children play with as toddlers are particularly important; a blanket alone won’t cut it. As parents, we want to give our kids toys that will help them build the skills they’ll need as they grow older, but we’ve also got to keep in mind that toddlers love throwing things, breaking things, and (especially) putting things in their mouths. The toys above encourage healthy development, while also being toddler-proof. Check them out today!