16 Top Educational Toys for toddlers: Ultimate Buying Guide

Emma Davies
Stay at Home Mom

Every child develops at a different pace as they are all individuals. However, there are certain milestones that children are expected to reach at each stage of their life and there are educational toys for toddlers that make this experience fun and rewarding.

For toddlers these milestones are things such as being able to use a fork/spoon, can jump with two feet together, half of what they say is understandable, toilet trained and identify cat/dog for example.

Not every child can do these things by the time they are 2 years old, many achieve these earlier or for some it is later in their journey.

In order to help them on this sometimes difficult journey we as the primary carers in their life can provide them with opportunities for open ended play, key experiences and our presence.

Many of the best learning toys for toddlers now encourage adult participation ensuring that children have our attention, even if for those precious 30 minutes out of a day.

So when we are looking for educational toys for toddlers, there are a few things that we need to look out for:

  • Cost:
    Toys can vary in price hugely, depending on where they are being purchased from and the brand of the toy. If you are going to make a significant financial investment in a toy, ensure that it will continue to grow with the child and not be thrown on a shelf when the child becomes too old to play with it in a few weeks time.
  • Durability:
    Toys that stand the perils of being played with by little people all day are the best investment. Toys that are well made out of durable materials such as plastic (as a parent I am trying to limit the amount of plastic toys that we purchase in order to be more environmentally friendly), wooden toys are fantastic and the feel of a natural material for children is exciting.
  • Longevity:
    in my opinion the best toys you can buy are the ones that children continue to play with, well after the suggested age range has come and gone.
  • Intended use:
    Is the toy intended to be used in the child's own home or is intended to be able to be a mobile entertainment tool. You would then need to consider the toys size, ease of transportation, space the toy takes up when set up and any mess that can be contained.

Multi use toys: These are the toys that come with multiple different activities, such as musical instruments, shape sorter, number recognition all on one toy. These are usually the best value for money and have the longest life span.

Top 16 educational toys for your toddlers

Melissa and Doug Latches board

Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board

Toddlers love to play with things that they shouldn’t, like cupboards, locks and chains. A great toddler brain toy.

This latch board provides them with all of the excitement of those elements without any danger.

This board will help toddlers build their dexterity and fine motor skills as they snap, click, hook and slide those latches.

To add to the fun there is a little surprise behind each door or window that they open. These toys are designed to capture and engage little minds, while they learn colours, numbers and animals.

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Melissa and Doug Deluxe Pounding Wooden Bench

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench Wooden Toy With Mallet - STEAM Toddler Toy

This classic toy gets a bright makeover for the 21st century. As the child pounds the bench with the wooden mallet the colourful pegs play peekaboo as they rise and fall showing their friendly smiling faces.

This toy gives toddlers ample opportunity to develop their fine motor skills and colour recognition, while providing valuable screen free playtime.

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TOP BRIGHT Activity Cube

TOP BRIGHT Toys for 1 Year Old Boy and Girl Birthday Gifts, Activity Cube Wooden Educational Toys for One Year Old Bead Maze Shape Sorter

This multi functional activity cube will keep children of all ages entertained for many hours.

It comes with a reversible top with a small bead maze , 3 piece shape sorter block with figures, numbers, a clock with moving hands, spinning gears and sliding inserts. With its variety of brightly coloured wood shapes, this can help to develop and improve children's hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, fine motor skills, colour recognition, shape recognition and improve your child's memory.

These wooden toys are made from high quality wood, with non toxic paint as are all the shapes and other wooden pieces.

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Mag-genius building tiles.

Best toy of the year award winning construction toys. This is a good example of construction toys for toddlers. This toy encourages creative and imaginative play and also enhances the development of  STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) subjects. This is also a good example of problem solving toys for toddlers.

This set comes complete with 104 pieces which includes 1 car bases with wheels.

There are 15 different shapes including cones, which means your child’s imagination has no limits when it comes to this building toys for kids. It also comes with its own storage bin, so all those pieces can be kept safe for another day of fun and construction.

You simple add magnets on the inner edge, these are strong enough to build any structure and for it to survive the demands of the most enthusiastic toddler.

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Vtech Touch and Learn Activity Desk.

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk (Frustration Free Packaging), Green

One of the best educational toys for 2 year olds, as it supports preschool development.

This toy is packed with lots of different activities to keep your little ones busy and engaged. Introducing letters, numbers, phonics, animals, body parts, music, shapes, colours and seasons.

encourages children to pretend play, use their imagination and creativity

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Fun Little Toys 27pcs Doctors set

This realistic doctors set will encourage your little ones to use their imagination and creativity to treat their sick dolls and teddies.

It comes with 15pcs plus a multi function case. Also included is a stethoscope, reflex hammer, glasses, thermometer, syringe, DIY stickers and many more. For even more fun the stethoscope produces a real life heartbeat.

This role play set will help children build self esteem as they practice their bedside manner.

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Fisher Price Beats Dance and Move

Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo

This toy is one of the best learning toys for toddlers, as it sings, dances with move ‘n groove fun.

With over 40 songs to introduce letters, colours, counting and cause and effect to your little one.

The colourful lights, dancing motions along with textures and sounds encourage your child’s sight, hearing and sense of touch, along with their gross motor skills as they get down to that funky beat.

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Education Insights Design and Drill Activity centre.

Educational Insights Design & Drill Activity Center

One of the best educational toys for 3 year olds, this set comes complete with 120 chunky plastic bolts, reversible drill, screwdriver, combination spanner, 2 drill bits and 10 double sided easy to follow design activity cards.

This activity set has endless possibilities for creative and imaginative play. Along with introducing and supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

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Spike the fine motor Hedgehog

Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog - Toddler Learning Toys, Fine Motor and Sensory Toys for Kids Ages 18+ Months, Montessori Toys

This early peg play toy helps children to build fine motor skills, early pattern recognition, matching and sorting.

As children give Spike back his quills they are learning through play early math skills, counting and colour recognition.

This is an example of a really simple yet effective problem solving toys for toddlers.

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Wooden Puzzle Set

Dreampark Wooden Puzzles for Toddlers Ages 1-3, Montessori Toys for 1 2 3 Years Old Girls Boys Baby Kids Puzzle Learning Educational Christmas Birthday Gifts Toys 6 Pack Animal Jigsaw Puzzle

This set is made up of 6 beautifully presented wooden jigsaw puzzles. Images of colourful animals have been well chosen to capture the imagination and enhance the creative mind of most toddlers.

These pieces are the perfect size for toddlers to easily manipulate. They are also small enough for on the go entertainment, which for parents is always a bonus of any toy.

While enjoying these puzzles children can develop their motor skills, colour recognition, animal names and hand-eye coordination. A true toddler brain toys.

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Melissa & Doug Felt Play Food Sandwich Set

Melissa & Doug Felt Food Sandwich Play Food Set (33 pcs) - Felt Sandwich Play Set For Kids Kitchen, Pretend Play Sandwich, Felt Sandwich Toy For Toddlers Kids Ages 2+,Orange

As educational toys for toddlers go, this is one that will give them the most opportunities for fun and imagination.

With 33 felt pieces, make your own sandwich any way you please. Choose your bread from white, wheat or even pitta,, choose your filing, meat, cheese, vegetables, condiments and more. With all these choices you can surely make a sandwich to please even the most picky of customers!

Your little one can be a chef in a 5* restaurant, a server or even the customer, the choice is all theirs.

While they play children will learn vocabulary, improve memory, sorting, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

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Anatex Deluxe Mini Play Cube

This Parents Choice Gold Winner, multi purpose toy provides opportunities for hours of engaging and intriguing fun. A perfect problem solving toy for 2 year olds.

With activities on 5 sides provide opportunities for visual tracking, maths skills, letter and number recognition, colour recognition and many more, making it a great educational toys for 2 year olds.. It also promotes basic learning skills such as hand eye coordination.

This toy will challenge any toddler with its Abacus, Roller Coaster track, Pathfinder, Gears and Learn the alphabet.

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Tegu 24 piece Magnetic Wooden Block Set

24 Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, Tints, 1-99 years old

Tegu is an amazing twist on the conventional building blocks for toddlers. With its magnetic system, building has never been so much fun or creative.

This set comes with 24 pieces that your child can stack, stick or build animals, cars or people. The possibilities are endless.

This educational toys for 2 year olds helps child development over time through play, building fine motor skills, pattern recognition, balance, sense of scale, imaginative play, problem solving and storytelling.

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Vykor Musical Wooden Instruments

Ehome Musical Instruments Toys for Toddlers 1-3, Baby Kids Musical Instruments, Wooden Percussion Instruments Preschool Educational Musical Toys Set for Boys and Girls Gifts with Storage Bag

22 piece all wooden percussion instruments. This set includes 4 shaker eggs, 2 Maracas, 2 Finger Castanets, Recorder, Tambourine, Bell Bracelets, Wooden Duck, Triangle with striker, Xylophone, Rainmaker, 4 different kinds of bells,  and a backpack so this set can be taken anywhere.

These are one of the best learning toys for 2 year old,, as it helps to develop coordination and motor skills, boosts creativity, listening skills, patience and concentration are also developed.

For many children this is their first experience of musical instruments and can lead to a lifelong love of playing music.

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Leapfrog Tad’s Fridge Phonics

LeapFrog Tad's Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

Leapfrog are a well known brand in the production of highly rated educational toys for 2 year olds and they have not failed with this one.

This interactive toy introduces letters and phonics to your child with the use of this interactive toy. Children can build their vocabulary and fine motor skills, while still developing their letter recognition.

With its magnetic base, this is a great toy to entertain your little ones while you are cooking or preparing food in the kitchen.

Personalisation is always something toddlers love to do, with 3 photo tiles that they can add their own photos too, making it unique to them.

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Jumbo Primary Stringing Bead Set

30 Jumbo Lacing Beads,Stringing Bead Set for Toddlers,Include 4 Strings, Carrying Nice SHAWE Bag - Montessori Toys for Fine Motor Skills Autism OT

This development toy for toddlers includes 30 jumbo plastic beads in various shapes, 3 strings in different colours. They are ergonomically correct for a toddler to easily manipulate and thread on the strings. Developing fine motor skills, helps promote counting skills and sequencing.

The various shapes enable learning to be extended with colour and shape recognition, vocabulary and early math skills.

The whole kit packs into a cute storage bag enabling it to be transported anywhere you go.

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