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Must-Have Kids Educational Toys Your Children Need ASAP

Posted by Lauren Petrullo on
Child playing

Who says learning can't be fun? Certainly not us! 

For parents, it can be hard to find the perfect toy that will engage and educate their kiddos at the same time. There are so many educational toy options out there, and we know that learning which ones are really worth your hard-earned cash and which will sit at the back of the closet for years and years is hard. 

Not to worry – we've got you covered! Below, we've listed some of the best and most essential kids educational toys that every child should have. From puzzles that help with shape recognition to building blocks that encourage creative thinking, these toys are perfect for encouraging your child's love of learning.

So read on, and get ready to add some new toys to your shopping list!

But first, why are educational toys so important? 

Most people think of toys as something to keep kids entertained. And while that’s definitely one important function of toys, they can also play a vital role in your child’s education. 

Educational toys help to develop essential skills like problem-solving, fine motor skills, and logic. They expose kids to new concepts and help them develop skills. And the more skills a child has, the better prepared they'll be for school and life in general.

Additionally, they help kids develop their creativity and imagination. These types of toys encourage kids to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. And that's a valuable skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.

But perhaps the most important reason to invest in educational toys is that they simply make learning fun! And when learning is fun, it's more likely to stick! 

How many toys should a child have?

As any parent knows, too many toys can quickly lead to a house that feels like it's being taken over by plastic dinosaurs and Barbie dolls. But on the other hand, a child who has too few toys can become bored and restless.

So what's the perfect number? The answer may vary depending on the child, but a good rule of thumb is to limit the number of toys to what can fit in a toy box. This way, children will be able to see all of their options at once and will be less likely to become overwhelmed or frustrated. 

Additionally, by only having a few toys available at a time, children will be more likely to play with each one for an extended period of time, which can lead to deeper levels of engagement and learning.

4 Tips to choosing the best educational toys for your child

Before talking about the best learning toys for your kiddo, there are 4 tips you need to know to shop successfully: 

1. Shop by age

There are many different types of educational toys on the market, so it's important to select ones that are appropriate for the child's age and development level. Otherwise, the child may become frustrated or bored with the toy.

2. Consider your child’s interests

Including learning toys doesn't mean that you should go out and buy random toys, instead, take into account your child’s interests!  

A child who loves dinosaurs, for example, will likely be more interested in playing with dinosaur-themed toys than with other types of toys. So make them part of the experience!

3. Look for toys that encourage problem-solving and creative thinking 

The best toys are those that allow children to use their imaginations and use their problem-solving skills. 

Look for toys that can be used in multiple ways, such as building blocks or puzzles and encourage children to think of different ways to play with them. These toys should spark the child's creativity and imagination, rather than dictate a specific way to play. 

4. Select durable and safe toys

It's important to choose educational toys that are made from high-quality materials and are safe for children to use. Avoid any toy with small parts or sharp edges that could pose a choking hazard.

So, choose toys that are durably constructed and have minimal parts. These toys will withstand the rigors of playtime and are less likely to be dangerous for younger kids.

Best developmental toys for babies

A good learning toy is designed to help babies learn new skills and explore their world. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the following ten toys are popular choices for baby's first year of life.

1. A simple activity center 

This is a great way for babies to start exploring their world. They can learn about cause and effect by pressing buttons and moving levers, and they can practice their gross motor skills by standing up and sitting down.

The activity center tends to be aimed at children around 4-6 months of age

2. A shape sorter toy

This is a great way for babies to learn about shapes and colors. They can practice matching the shapes to the appropriate openings, and they'll love dumping out all of the shapes when they're done!

This type of toy can help develop logical thinking in kids 6 months old and above! Just make sure to accompany the playing time with kid-friendly instructions about shapes and colors. 

3. Stacking Blocks

Stacking blocks are a classic building toy that helps babies develop hand-eye coordination and learn to stack objects in a specific order.

This learning toy is good during the first 10-12 months of age, however, you can start implementing them when you see fit.

4. Baby gym

This is one of the most common toys for newborns. A baby gym is the perfect developmental toy for these little ones, providing a safe and stimulating environment for them to play and learn. 

They often come equipped with a variety of toys, such as hanging bells and rattles, that can help to stimulate your baby's senses. In addition, baby gyms can help to promote physical development. Finally, they provide a safe place for your baby to practice tummy time and start to develop upper body strength.

Babies can start using the baby gym when they are around 3-4 months

5. Teething toy

Teething toys are a must-have for any baby who is going through the teething process. They are a safe, effective way to help relieve pain and discomfort of gums. 

In addition, teething toys help babies practice fine motor skills. As they chew on the toy, they exercise the muscles in their jaws and tongues. This helps them develop the coordination and strength necessary for eating solid foods.

These toys are often included when kiddos are around 3-7 months old.

6. Books

It's no secret that babies love to touch things. They'll put anything and everything in their mouths, and they love to explore textures of all kinds. That's why interactive books are such an important developmental toy for babies. 

This interactive toy offers a variety of textures for babies to explore, as well as visual and auditory stimulation. In addition, the playful sounds and phrases help to encourage baby's language development.

Most educational books are aimed for kids around 6-8 months old. 

Extra tip: buy board or cloth books, they’ll last longer!

7. Musical instruments

Musical instruments are a great way for babies to explore sound and music. They also help promote eye-hand coordination as babies reach for the instruments and try to make them produce sound.

Babies start responding to music at 24 months old!

8. Unbreakable mirror

Floor mirrors are a great way for baby to explore their own reflection. These mirrors also help promote self-awareness and human body recognition as baby sees themselves in the mirror.

Even though babies’ sight is kind of blurry, it’s recommended to start including a mirror when they’re 2 months old.

Best toys for toddlers

But, what happens with kiddos around 1-3 years old? Here are our top toys for toddlers you can add to your shopping list: 

1. Flashcards

    Flashcards are one of the most popular tools for teaching toddlers new words. And there's a good reason why: they're fun, they're easy to use, and they're very effective. Each flashcard features a single word, along with a picture that toddlers can identify. 

    As they learn the meaning of each word, they can begin to put together simple sentences. In addition, the repetition that flashcards offer helps to reinforce the new vocabulary and are a great mental stimulation. 

    This can also help kids learn their ABCs. You can even include an alphabet song to make learning even funnier. 

    You can introduce this toy around 6 months to 1 year old. 

    2. STEM toy

    It's no secret that toddlers are full of energy. They love to explore, and they're always on the go. That's why STEM toys are so good for them. 

    STEM learning helps to channel their boundless energy into constructive play. They encourage toddlers to use their hands and minds to solve problems and help to develop fine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination. 

    In addition, STEM toys promote critical thinking and provide a foundation for future learning in science, technology, engineering, and math. 

    So, if you feel like you have some future engineers in your house, you can introduce this type of toy when they are 3 years old and encourage them to keep using them when they are older kids. 

    3. A board game

    Board games are not just for rainy days. In fact, they can be an important part of a toddler’s development. 

    Board games help to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. They also teach cause and effect, turn-taking, and following rules. In addition, board games provide a great opportunity for quality family time. 

    When they are toddlers, kids love memory games and puzzles, which can be played solo or with other people. So you can start playing board games with them when they are around 2 years old. 

    4. Drawing mat

    Drawing mats are a fantastic way for a toddler to let their imagination run wild. Not only do they provide a large surface for drawing, but they also offer a variety of different textures and colors to experiment with.

    Toddlers can practice gripping and controlling crayons, markers, and paintbrushes while working on their coordination. And when they're finished with their masterpieces, they can simply roll up the mat and carry it with them to show off to their friends and family. 

    They are easy to wash and encourage imaginative play.

    5. Activity cube

    These colorful playthings offer a wide range of activities that can help to develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving ability. Additionally, these fun, multi-sided toys are packed with activities that can help your toddler learn about shapes, color recognition, number recognition, and so much more thanks to its interactive features. 

    Toddlers can start using activity cubes when they’re around 1 year old

    Educational toys for 5-year-olds and above

    It's no secret that five-year-olds can be a handful. They're full of energy and they never seem to sit still. But while they may be a source of never-ending amusement, they're also building the foundation for a lifetime of learning. That's why learning toys and educational games are such an important part of their development: 

    1. Building games

      Building games are great for 5-year-old kids because they promote creativity, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. Plus, they're just plain fun! 

      Whether your child is playing with blocks, LEGOs, or even just a pile of sticks, they're sure to enjoy the challenge of constructing something new. And as they build, they'll be developing important cognitive skills that will benefit them in school and beyond.

      At 5 years old, kiddos should be able to build independently. 

      2. Craft sets

      Whether it's painting, coloring, or building with blocks, craft sets give five-year-olds the chance to explore their creativity and have some fun. 

      And while they may not be able to sit still for more than five minutes, craft sets provide the perfect opportunity for kiddos to learn how to focus and follow directions.

      3. Playdough

      Playdough is the best toy ever. It's soft and malleable, yet it can be molded into all sorts of shapes. It's also surprisingly resistant to being squished, squeezed, or poked. In short, it's the perfect material for 5-year-olds, who are often eager to explore the world around them but not always gentle in their approach. 

      This toy can withstand even the most enthusiastic poking and prodding, making it ideal for kids who are still learning to control their movement. And because it's so easy to mold and reshape, playdough is also great for helping kids develop their fine motor skills.

      4. Learning games

      It is a well-known fact that children learn best when they are having fun. This is especially true for young children, who are often more engaged and motivated when they are playing games. 

      There are a variety of learning games for 5-year-old kids that can help them to develop essential skills such as literacy, numeracy, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. One of the best things about learning games is that they can be customized to suit the individual needs of each child. As a result, they can be an extremely effective tool for helping children to reach their full potential.

      Learning toys: Final thoughts

      There's something special about learning toys. They have the ability to teach without being boring, and they can make even the most difficult concepts seem fun. That's why your kiddo should have a few learning toys in their toy box. 

      From simple flash cards to complex puzzles, these toys can help children develop important skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, and provide sensory stimulation. Plus, they're not just for kids - even adults can benefit from playing with learning toys. 

      So, if you were looking for the best educational toys, now you have a complete list with everything you need depending on your kiddo’s age! 

      Do you have any of these toys? Let us know what you think about them in the comments below and don’t forget to visit our blog section to keep learning more about parenting!

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