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Best Educational Toys for Preschoolers of 2021

Updated
Fun, hands-on learning for preschoolers!

Do you want to encourage your preschooler to play more, while learning at the same time?

With the wide array of toys that are available, we’ve tried our best to narrow down the list of the best educational toys for preschoolers.

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

Our Top Picks

We love honesty! Mom Loves Best earns a commission through the following hand-picked links at no extra cost to you.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features
Product Image of the Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Building Toy Set, Puzzle, 150...
Best for STEM Learning
Gears! Building Set
  • Fun, bright colors
  • Easy to assemble
  • 150-piece set
Product Image of the Kidzlane Color Matching Egg Set - Toddler Toys - Educational Color & Number...
Top Of The Class
Kidzlane Color Match
  • Child-safe materials
  • Easy-to-hold
  • Quick 'n easy storage
Product Image of the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Teach 'n 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 ETI Toys | STEM Learning | Original 101 Piece Educational Construction...
Dad Will Love This
ETI Toys Construction
  • STEM supported toy
  • Comes in carryable box
  • BPA-, lead- & phthalates-safe
Product Image of the Wonder Forge Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It Toddler Toy and Game for...
Fun for The Family
Busytown Eye Found It!
  • Encourages teamwork
  • Colorful game board
  • Develops critical skills
Product Image of the LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box 10696 Building Toys for Creative Play;...
Ol’ Reliable
LEGO Classic Brick
  • 484 pieces
  • Compatible with other Lego sets
  • Improve creativity & imagination
Product Image of the Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope, Preschool Science Toy,...
Expertly Designed
My First Microscope
  • Features 2 extra-large eyepieces
  • Bright LED
  • Well-designed
Product Image of the Scientific Explorer My First Chemistry Kit
Geeky And Great
My First Chemistry
  • High quality
  • Act and think like real chemist
  • 15-page activity guide
Product Image of the VTech Little Apps Tablet, Black
Modern And Portable
VTech Little Apps
  • Color changing screen
  • 12 learning activities
  • Automatic shut-off
Product Image of the The Learning Journey: My First Grab It! - Animal Match - an Exciting Matching...
Firm Favorite
Match It! Animal
  • Action-packed game
  • Colorful farm animal theme cards
  • Develops cognitive skills

Interactive vs. Educational

Interactive, and educational are incorrectly used 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 — but not all of them are educational.

If you allow your child to have internet access it is always best to have parental controls in place and to have them in an area where their internet time can be observed.

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Why Are Educational Toys Important?

Educational toys could improve your child’s:

  • 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 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.

Speaking of music, I’d worry more about what you have to cope with if I were you. I made the mistake of buying my preschooler a keyboard. I now have to listen to the “Star Spangled Banner” a billion times a day.


The Best Educational Toys For Preschoolers of 2021

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

1. Gears! Gears! Gears! Building Set

Fascinating for STEM Learning

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

This plays a big role in developing your child’s logic, reasoning, problem-solving, and creativity too. Let’s not forget that the motions, design, and sounds are exciting to preschoolers.

For storage, it comes with a bucket, although it may take patience placing all 116 pieces back inside.


2. 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 which number/color combo is 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.


3. 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 ABC, 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 too.

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


4. ETI Toys Construction Set

Dad Will Love This

This impressive construction building set is, of course, 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 100 pieces of various sizes, colors, and functions (from wheels to bolts), and a carry box. You also get some freebies, including an extra wrench and an ebook full of designs to try.

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


5. 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. 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. It’s a lovely game that will keep the whole family entertained, but one consideration is that it requires a bit of room to set up.


6. LEGO Classic Brick Box

Ol’ Reliable

I’m guessing Lego doesn’t need an introduction. As I mentioned earlier, it’s one of, if not the most popular toy brands in the world.

There is a reason why Legos are as widespread as they are. When it comes to developing imagination, cognitive thought and, most importantly, 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.


7. 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 8x magnification to observe coins, rocks, leaves, bits of food, dirt… it’s almost limitless. It 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 certainly worth investing in — even if only for later.

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8. 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.

What 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 both children and parents to see how these experiments pan out.

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


9. VTech Little Apps Tablet

Modern and Portable

This is a great solution for moms who want to introduce their preschoolers to technology, without the worry of the dangers online. 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 the parents that 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 the “Star Spangled Banner.” With this toy, there’s volume control to help with that.


10. Match It! Animal Match

Firm Favorite

This colorful and cute puzzle’s appeal lies in how it’s suitable for preschoolers who already know about associations, and also 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.


11. Match It! Spelling

School Worthy

Following the same style and company from above, 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, for three and four-letter words. Each puzzle has a matching picture for associating. Pictures include bugs, pets, and other cool things, like cakes, 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.


12. Robo Alive Crawling Spider

Unconventional & Great Fun

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

This is an awesome tool that you can use 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. 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.


13. Design & Drill Robot

It’s Robot Time

Here’s something cute, so that 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 benefits 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. It might be a bit cheesy but it’s also rewarding.


14. 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. As opposed to other spelling toys, there are no words that are “force fed” to your kids.

The letters are BPA-free, and the set includes 44 interchangeable letters and 4 straw bases. It’s perfect for kids of all ages, though with little ones there’s a choking hazard, so be careful.

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


15. 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 itself is filled with activities, and it can transform into an easel and chalkboard, which I think is pretty great. You can also purchase various expansion packs as your child progresses, which is also awesome.

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


16. 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 any time soon.


17. Qurious Space

Designed by Moms

This versatile game is fun for the whole family and is a really 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 flash cards and bonus stickers. You can use the cards to play games of matching and memory, with up to 18 players. It’s suitable for kids aged 3 and up, but younger players may require a little help.


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.

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