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17 Best Educational Toys for Preschoolers of 2024

Updated
Fun, hands-on learning for preschoolers!

Educational toys are one of the best tools for developing a preschooler’s mind. Toys claiming to be “educational” and “interactive” are a dime a dozen. But we’ve struggled to find ones that truly encourage a child’s learning while still being fun enough that kids will beg to play with them.

So we set out to compare every “educational” toy we could find to narrow down the list of the best educational toys for preschoolers. Our list only includes high-quality, kid-approved toys and games that have true educational value and teach a wide range of skills.

Whether you’re looking to work on your little one’s social skills or memorization, these toys should fit the bill.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Gears! Building Set
Best for STEM Learning
Gears! Building Set
  • Fun, bright colors
  • Easy to assemble
  • 150-piece set
Product Image of the Kidzlane Color Match
Top Of The Class
Kidzlane Color Match
  • Child-safe materials
  • Easy to hold
  • Quick and easy storage
Product Image of the Teach and Tag Movi
Best Interactive Toy
Teach and Tag Movi
  • 360 degrees of mobility
  • 3 exciting game modes
  • 2 light-up buttons
Product Image of the Smarkids Construction
Dad Will Love This
Smarkids Construction
  • STEM-supported toy
  • Comes in easy-to-carry box
  • BPA-, lead- & phthalate-free
Product Image of the Busytown Eye Found It!
Fun for The Family
Busytown Eye Found It!
  • Encourages teamwork
  • Colorful game board
  • Develops critical skills
Product Image of the LEGO Classic Brick
Ol’ Reliable
LEGO Classic Brick
  • 484 pieces
  • Compatible with other Lego sets
  • Improve creativity & imagination
Product Image of the My First Microscope
Expertly Designed
My First Microscope
  • Features 2 extra-large eyepieces
  • Bright LED
  • Well-designed unit
Product Image of the My First Chemistry
Geeky And Great
My First Chemistry
  • High-quality set
  • Act and think like a real chemist
  • 15-page activity guide
Product Image of the VTech Little Apps
Modern And Portable
VTech Little Apps
  • Color-changing screen
  • 12 learning activities
  • Automatic shut-off
Product Image of the Kingwora Matching Game
Firm Favorite
Kingwora Matching Game
  • Action-packed game
  • Colorful educational cards
  • Develops cognitive skills

Review Methodology: At Mom Loves Best, we understand the importance of selecting the best educational toys for preschoolers, which is why our team of professionals conducts thorough research and analysis to bring you reliable information. Our hands-on experience and assessment of numerous products allow us to compare and rank them based on criteria such as performance, design, and key decision-making factors. We evaluate each toy from a user’s perspective, providing first-hand evidence of what sets them apart from their competitors. Our in-depth reviews cover essential aspects such as learning benefits, age-appropriateness, safety, and durability, ensuring that you make an informed decision for your child’s cognitive development. Trust Mom Loves Best to help you choose the perfect educational toy for your preschooler.



The Best Educational Toys For Preschoolers of 2024

Here are our favorite educational (and fun!) toys for preschoolers.

Gears! Gears! Gears! Building Set

Fascinating for STEM Learning

I enjoy playing with this just as much as my kids do. The simple design is great — you create your gears whichever way you please and hope that they run. You might not think that’s special, but try it yourself!

This plays a big role in developing your child’s logic, reasoning, problem-solving, and creativity. And the motions, design, and sounds are exciting to preschoolers.

It comes with a bucket for storage, although it may take patience to place all 116 pieces back inside.

User Experience

I'm thrilled with how much my 18-month-old loves this gear set! It's been four months, and he's constantly finding new ways to put the pieces together, improving his dexterity, color recognition, and shape understanding. I've also seen its benefits for older children, like my friend's 12-year-old who has autism and still enjoys building with these gears. This versatile toy has something for everyone, and while younger kids might need a little help at first, it's definitely worth the investment for the endless creativity it fosters.

Kidzlane Color Matching Egg Set

Top of the Class

You may be thinking, “Eggs? Seriously?” but there’s so much more than meets the eye here. It’s a simple, all-rounder toy that teaches counting, colors, and pattern recognition, all while developing motor skills.

But what really makes this egg-cellent toy set stand out is how it incorporates the element of surprise. Preschoolers love guessing and solving mysteries. Revealing the number or color combo inside each egg can keep them entertained.

It’s suitable for boys and girls from 18 months up, though younger children might need your help dismantling the eggs.

Personal Perspective

Bought this product for my son when he was a year old, and he still loves it at four years old. It's a versatile toy that has grown with him, with uses ranging from color and shape recognition to imaginative play with his trucks. The egg carton design also adds a fun element for pretend play. Additionally, this toy has proven to be quite durable and easy to clean. It's a great gift for young children, suitable for play at home or in preschool settings.

Teach and Tag Movi

Teacher’s Pet

This little guy is charming and personable. Movi comes with six super fun cognitive games for your preschooler to enjoy. He’ll teach your kids their ABCs, animals, shapes, colors, and listening skills.

Movi has a full 360-degree range of mobility and through his interactive games, encourages movement and exercise. He asks questions and promotes critical thinking and reasoning.

He demands a bit of floor space, though, and he doesn’t have as much depth as other robots. With that being said, this toy is not a bad place to begin.

Community Feedback

My experience with this interactive robot has been mostly positive, as my kids absolutely love it. They enjoy playing games like red light green light, tag, and animal noise games, and it keeps them occupied for a good amount of time. The robot is quite durable and can withstand the occasional drop or bump into furniture. However, the volume is a bit low, making it difficult to hear at times, even after changing the batteries.

Smarkids Building Blocks

Dad Will Love This

This impressive construction building set is great for boys and girls, but just mentioning building is enough to turn grown men into little boys again. It acts on your child’s imagination, creativity, problem-solving, and motor skill development.

It includes close to 160 pieces of various sizes, colors, and functions (from wheels to bolts) and a carry box. You also get a one-year money-back warranty.

Each component is certified non-toxic and free from BPA. One main warning: you risk adding a “man-child” to your list of dependants with this one.

First-Hand Impression

Best building set for igniting creativity in children! I've personally seen my son and daughter, ages 3 and 9 respectively, spend hours constructing various structures, vehicles, and other imaginative creations with these colorful, easy-to-use pieces. The durable plastic ensures longevity, and the included storage container and design booklet are convenient additions. One minor drawback is the limited number of wheels provided, but overall, this set has been a fantastic and engaging addition to our children's playtime.

Busytown Eye Found It! Game

Fun for the Family

When I was a preschooler, I lived for the “Busy World of Richard Scarry” TV show, so there is a chance that nostalgia has made me biased. But this is an awesome game for all; it’s educational and keeps the young ones active.

The board is gigantic — over 6 feet long — and the objective is to make your way through it, solving mysteries and puzzles. Following instructions on cards, you work together to find hidden objects.

It’s an adventure that develops teamwork, reasoning, and cognitive intelligence. This game will keep the whole family entertained, but one consideration is that it requires a bit of room to set up.

User Experience

I've been playing this game with my kids, aged 2 to 6, and we all love it! The directions are easy to understand, and the team play aspect keeps everyone engaged and excited. This game has a huge, unique board with adorable pictures and the magnifying glass concept is a hit with the kids. It's a quick game, so there's no time for boredom, and it's perfect for all ages. The cooperative gameplay encourages teamwork and critical thinking, making it a great addition to our family game nights.

LEGO Classic Brick Box

Ol’ Reliable

Lego doesn’t need an introduction. As parents, we’re all very familiar with those tiny colorful bricks.

There is a reason why Legos are as widespread as they are. When it comes to developing imagination, cognitive thought, and motor skills, they take the cake.

The medium Classic Brick Box contains just under 500 bricks, all of which are compatible with other Lego construction sets. It also includes a base plate, tires, wheels, windows, and eyes.

We never seem to get bored with Lego. Still, I’ve taken points away because of the tidy-up time and the fact that stepping on these things hurts like hellfire.

Personal Perspective

This Lego storage container is not only a practical way to store Legos, but also offers self-contained fun that sparks the imagination. I find it engaging for the whole family, even though there were a few missing pieces in our set, such as wheels for making cars. It has provided hours of entertainment for my children and even my nephew who loves creating things from scratch. The added bonus is that it doubles as a quirky home defense mechanism, acting like a minefield when scattered on the floor.

My First Microscope

Expertly Designed

What makes this toy so great is the possibilities it opens up. It’s a fully-functional microscope — designed by a scientist and mom of two — that will allow your little ones to learn more about the unseen world around them.

Use its 8 times magnification to observe coins, rocks, leaves, bits of food, or dirt; it’s almost limitless. The microscope has a built-in LED light, sample tray, and extra-large eyepieces for the kids.

It’s a well-designed, thoughtful, and fun way to get your kids interested in science, though it may be a little confusing for the younger ones. Regardless, it’s worth investing in — even if only for later.

Community Feedback

Excellent entry-level microscope for young kids, though it may not have the highest magnification capabilities. My 5-year-old daughter loves examining various objects with ease, and it's sturdy enough for her to use outdoors. However, it's more like a microscope-shaped magnifying glass, so it may not satisfy older kids or those seeking higher magnification. The light feature is a nice touch, and overall, it's a fun and educational tool for young children to explore their surroundings.
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My First Chemistry Kit

Geeky and Great

For the scientists who want something a little bit more snazzy than just a microscope, this chemistry set should hit the spot.

This kit is an excellent way to teach children action and reaction, cause and effect. Of course, it also gives them the foundations of chemistry. It’s exciting for children and parents to see how these experiments pan out.

There are 14 activities for you to try with your little ones, but adult supervision is a must with this kit. The set comes with pH paper, a measuring spoon, a microscope, Petri dishes, and more.

First-Hand Impression

This science kit is a cute and engaging gift for younger children who love learning how to make things. My grandson and niece were both excited to receive it, but I noticed that the quality of some experiments wasn't as high as other kits from the same company, like Fizzy Foamy Science and My First Science Kit. We had trouble getting the microscope to work, and the magnifying glass seemed to be of poor quality. Despite these drawbacks, the kit still offers nice and simple experiments, making science fun for kids. However, I believe it may not be suitable for children over 9 years old, as they might find the experiments too basic.

VTech Little Apps Tablet

Modern and Portable

This is an excellent solution for moms who want to introduce their preschoolers to technology without the worry of online dangers. It has letter keys, piano keys, a color-changing screen, and 12 activities of varying difficulty.

This fun gadget teaches matching, counting, spelling, music, colors, and more and is a nice choice for parents who want to practice the basics with their kids. Batteries are included, and it has an auto-off function to save power.

Just remember my story of my keyboard player and the “Star Spangled Banner.” With this toy, there’s volume control to help with that.

User Experience

In my experience, this toy has been a fantastic learning tool for my young kids. They are captivated by the various sounds and noises, and it's a much better alternative to traditional screen time. With engaging activities that teach counting, letters, numbers, and shapes, I've seen their knowledge grow in surprising ways. However, be cautious around liquids as it's not liquid-friendly and can lead to glitches or damage.

Kingwora Forest Animals Matching Game

Firm Favorite

This colorful and cute puzzle’s appeal lies in how it’s suitable for preschoolers who already know about associations and toddlers who are ready to learn. It promotes cognitive function and organization.

Since this is a competitive game, it also inspires concentration, quick thinking, and social and emotional skills.

The objective of the game is to act fast by grabbing matching pieces. If this isn’t your style, you can slow it down or take turns instead.


Match It! Spelling

School Worthy

This puzzle is an effective tool to start your preschooler’s journey into spelling. It’s a fun way to teach tots their letters, and it’s a good challenge for children who already know the alphabet but are practicing how to use it.

There are 20 puzzles with three-letter and four-letter words. Each puzzle has a matching picture for association. Pictures include bugs, pets, cakes, and other cool things for the kids to enjoy.

It’s great for phonics, but since it’s self-correcting, some kids may find it too easy or grow out of it quickly.

Community Feedback

I've found that this puzzle set has been a fantastic learning tool for my young family members and even my kindergarten students. The durable cardboard pieces are perfect for little hands to put together, and the set has helped improve their letter recognition and spelling skills. While there were some non-CVC words that were too advanced for my students, we still had plenty to work with.

Robo Alive Crawling Spider

Unconventional & Great Fun

Before you freak out, give me a chance to explain! This is an interactive toy that is fun, educational (if you’re not arachnophobic), and imaginative too.

You can use this awesome tool to teach children about creepy crawlies without actually having to face real ones. Although it’s not programmable, it’s still a fascinating robot that will allow your child to play effortlessly.

As with other interactive toys, your child can develop their emotional and cognitive senses by playing with this toy. It also raises awareness for nature and the ecosystem — how to recognize spiders, which ones to avoid, and how some people are afraid of them.

Just make sure your children understand that they must not play with real spiders. Also, note that batteries are not included.

First-Hand Impression

I'm thrilled with this spider toy, as it looks incredibly realistic and moves fast on flat surfaces. My son absolutely adores it, and it's become a new favorite for playing pranks and scaring trick-or-treaters during Halloween. However, be aware that it may not function properly if the bristles underneath are flattened, so it's essential to keep them in good condition for the best experience.

Design & Drill Robot

It’s Robot Time

Here’s something cute so you’ll forgive me for the spider. Although this little guy is not interactive, he certainly has a lot of perks for child development. He is a STEM learning toy, for one, and he also helps improve fine motor skills.

The great idea behind this is that kids can — to a degree — build or design their own toy as they see fit. He comes with different colored bolts, stickers, and a screwdriver.

He also has a swiveling head and arms that can snap together to form a drill.

User Experience

Got this robot for my grandson, and he's been obsessed with it ever since. The cute design and features encourage hands-on learning, and as a teacher, I appreciate how it improves fine motor skills for little ones. At first, we thought the screwdriver was broken as it came in two pieces, but we realized it just needed to be clicked together. The stickers were a bit tricky to put on, but once we figured it out, they fit perfectly. While the robot isn't as customizable as we thought, my grandson still enjoys playing with it and screwing the bolts in and out. A storage bag for the bolts and screwdriver would have been a nice addition, but overall, it's a fun, battery-free toy.

Spelly Straws

Simple but Brilliant

This novel idea is simple yet brilliant. These nifty letters jazz up meal times and encourage children to learn how to spell. Unlike other spelling toys, there are no words that are “force-fed” to your kids.

The set includes 44 BPA-free interchangeable letters and four straw bases. It’s perfect for kids of all ages, though the pieces can be a choking hazard for little ones, so be careful.

Worried about clean-up? These straws are dishwasher safe, so pop them in, and they’re good to go.

Personal Perspective

I'm really enjoying these customizable straws that allow you to create words or initials with the provided letter pieces. My kids had so much fun spelling their names and favorite words, turning it into an educational and entertaining experience. The set comes with 44 pieces, including extra vowels, hearts, and hashtags, and they fit together tightly to prevent any leakage. They're easy to clean with a small straw brush, but I would recommend rinsing them immediately after use to avoid any buildup.

VTech Touch and Learn Desk

Attention Keeper

This is a lovely little tool for school preparation. It’s an interactive station that helps with various areas of your child’s intellectual development, including spelling, vocabulary, counting, colors, music, reading, and artistic creativity.

The desk is filled with activities, and it can transform into an easel and chalkboard, which we think is pretty great. You can also purchase various expansion packs as your child progresses, adding to the fun.

A little stool is included to help complete the scenario for your preschooler. They’ll be feeling all grown up before you know it.

Community Feedback

Bought this V Tech educational desk for my little one and she absolutely adores it! The desk was easy to assemble and all parts were in great condition. My toddler enjoys the fruit chart and alphabet games which help develop their thinking skills. Although they don't engage with the music chart as much, the desk still provides a good amount of entertainment.

VTech Touch & Teach Word Book

Classic and Effective

One more from VTech! This classic educational and playful book is so reminiscent of my own childhood (back in a time when electronics were basically magic).

This activity book contains touch-sensitive pages that can improve your child’s vocabulary by up to 100 words. It’s also a good choice for fine motor skills.

But it’s not just a spelling book. It teaches vocabulary and reading through interactive play. There are four modes to choose from, and I don’t foresee younger preschoolers growing tired of it.

First-Hand Impression

When I first tried this classic educational and playful book from VTech, it brought back memories of my own childhood when electronics were like magic. This activity book has touch-sensitive pages that not only improved my child's vocabulary by up to 100 words but also helped develop their fine motor skills. This book goes beyond spelling by teaching vocabulary and reading through interactive play, with four modes to choose from. I believe younger preschoolers won't grow tired of this engaging and educational experience.

Qurious Space STEM Flashcard Game

Designed by Moms

This versatile game is fun for the whole family and is a cool way to get your kids interested in space and the universe. As with many others on this list, it’s excellent for cognitive and academic development, and since it’s a game, it promotes social development too.

The set includes space-themed flashcards and bonus stickers. You can use the cards to play matching and memory games with up to 18 players. It’s suitable for kids aged 3 and up, but younger players may require a little help.

User Experience

For our family, this space and dinosaur-themed card game has been a delightful and educational addition to our game nights. Our children, aged 4 and 7, are always excited to play, and the variety of games offered keeps things fresh and engaging. The cards are beautifully designed, featuring vibrant photographs of space and cute dinosaur illustrations, which capture the kids' imaginations. We also appreciate the compact size and sturdy tin, making it easy to take with us on the go.

Interactive vs. Educational

People incorrectly use the words “interactive” and “educational” interchangeably to describe toys that stimulate a specific area of your child’s development.

Interactive toys react or give instructions to your little one — usually to teach logic, reason, and consequence.

Not all educational toys are interactive. Lego bricks, arguably the most popular educational toy of all time, are not interactive. Video games are interactive, but not all of them are educational.

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Why Are Educational Toys Important?

These are some of the areas educational toys could help your child improve:

  • Cognitive ability: Expanding logic, reasoning, conflict resolution, pattern recognition, and problem-solving. They also teach cause and effect.
  • Coordination: Handling educational or interactive toys significantly encourages both fine motor and gross motor skills.
  • Emotional awareness: Interactive toys often promote communication, sharing, taking turns, etiquette, and emotional awareness.
  • Language: Both educational and interactive toys can improve vocabulary through repetition, music, or reading.
  • Imagination: Educational play is also said to benefit our children’s spirits, self-awareness, and confidence. Creativity is definitely included here.

Which Educational Toys Are Preschool Appropriate?

Preschoolers are eager to explore the world around them, but they’re also under the impression that they are the center of it. It’s a good idea to introduce them to toys that inspire questions in their bright little souls — though be prepared to answer hundreds of them.

It’s up to you to determine what you deem age-appropriate. Preschoolers are easily fascinated by everything, and good educational toys for them include everything from dollhouses to musical instruments.

Some educational toys (such as instruments) may be harder to cope with than others. If you buy your child a keyboard, you may have to listen to the “Star Spangled Banner” a billion times a day. (I learned this the hard way.)

FAQs

What Activities Help a Baby’s Brain Grow Intellectually?

Activities that help a baby’s brain grow intellectually include reading and talking to them, playing with sensory toys, engaging in interactive play, exploring new environments, and providing a variety of toys and experiences to stimulate their senses and encourage curiosity.

What Toys Can Help a Child’s Cognitive Development?

Toys that can help a child’s cognitive development include puzzles, building blocks, shape sorters, arts and crafts materials, and role-playing toys. These toys encourage problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking.

What Age is Most Crucial For Brain Development?

The most crucial age for brain development is typically considered the first three years of life when the brain is rapidly forming connections and the foundations of future learning, behavior, and health are being established.

What Toys Help With Social Skills?

Toys that help with social skills include dolls, action figures, board games, and pretend play sets that encourage children to role-play, cooperate, take turns, and communicate with others.

What Toys Promote Physical Development?

Toys that promote physical development include balls, ride-on toys, tunnels, climbing frames, and simple sports equipment. These toys encourage gross motor skills like walking, running, jumping, and balance.

How are Montessori Toys Different?

Montessori toys are different in that they’re typically constructed from natural materials and are specially designed to encourage focused, independent play and learning.

They are simple, realistic, and based on real-life activities or concepts, promoting a child’s natural development and curiosity.


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Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.