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.
- Fun, bright colors
- Easy to assemble
- 150-piece set
- Child-safe materials
- Easy to hold
- Quick and easy storage
- 360 degrees of mobility
- 3 exciting game modes
- 2 light-up buttons
- STEM-supported toy
- Comes in easy-to-carry box
- BPA-, lead- & phthalate-free
- Encourages teamwork
- Colorful game board
- Develops critical skills
- 484 pieces
- Compatible with other Lego sets
- Improve creativity & imagination
- Features 2 extra-large eyepieces
- Bright LED
- Well-designed unit
- High-quality set
- Act and think like a real chemist
- 15-page activity guide
- Color-changing screen
- 12 learning activities
- Automatic shut-off
- Action-packed game
- Colorful household items theme cards
- Develops cognitive skills
The Best Educational Toys For Preschoolers of 2023
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 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.
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 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.
3. Teach and Tag Movi
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.
4. 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.
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. 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.
6. LEGO Classic Brick Box
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.
7. My First Microscope
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.
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.
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.
9. 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.
10. Kingwora Household Items Matching Game
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.
11. Match It! Spelling
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.
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 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.
13. 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.
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. 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.
15. VTech Touch and Learn Desk
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.
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.
17. 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.
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.
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.)