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19 Best Educational Toys for Toddlers of 2024

Updated
The best toys are those that promote learning and laughter.

Are you looking for a toddler toy that promotes learning and laughter at the same time? Nearly every toy claims to be educational, but we learned quickly that few products live up to this standard.

We’ve spent many hours studying the latest toys, comparing their features, and reading countless reviews to bring you this list of the best educational toys for toddlers. These are some of the criteria we looked for in these toys: educational value, durability, age-appropriateness, safe materials, and—most importantly—fun factor.

Read our reviews of these fun learning products, so you can make the perfect choice for your bright toddler.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Mega Bloks Set
Best for Construction
Mega Bloks Set
  • 80 classic-colored building blocks
  • Easy storage
  • Hands-on play
Product Image of the Melissa & Doug
Best for Older Toddlers
Melissa & Doug
  • 60 natural-finished hardwood blocks
  • Smooth-sanded
  • Comes with wooden crate
Product Image of the VTech Musical Rhymes
Best Interactive Book
VTech Musical Rhymes
  • Cute characters
  • Visually stimulating
  • 40+ melodies, sounds, and phrases
Product Image of the Lego Duplo Train
Best Educational Train
Lego Duplo Train
  • 23 pieces
  • Encourages imaginative play
  • Build locomotives and wagons
Product Image of the LeapFrog Leaptop
Best First Laptop
LeapFrog Leaptop
  • New, larger screen
  • 4 learning modes
  • Customizable
Product Image of the LeapFrog Fridge
Best Alphabet Toy
LeapFrog Fridge
  • Reinforces alphabet knowledge
  • Helps develop early vocabulary skills
  • 26 interactive alphabet tiles
Product Image of the Kidzlane Color
Best Match Set
Kidzlane Color
  • Child-friendly design
  • Easy-to-hold & smooth shape
  • Top-quality child-safe materials
Product Image of the Drop and Go Truck
Best Dump Truck Toy
Drop and Go Truck
  • Hinged bucket
  • 3 colorful buttons
  • Great early education toy
Product Image of the Shapes and Sharing
Best for Social Skills
Shapes and Sharing
  • 15-piece picnic set
  • Encourages independent play
  • Fun and educational songs
Product Image of the VTech Touch & Learn
Best Interactive Desk
VTech Touch & Learn
  • Lots of spaces for supplies
  • Includes 5 activity pages
  • 200 touch and learn spots

Review Methodology: At Mom Loves Best, we understand how crucial it is to find the best educational toys for toddlers. Our thorough analysis and hands-on experience ensure that you can trust our evaluation and recommendations. We’ve compared various toys based on criteria such as age-appropriateness, safety, design, and learning potential. By assessing data, measuring performance, and tracking results, we’ve ranked these toys to help you make an informed decision. We’ve also considered key factors like cognitive development, motor skills, and creativity, while highlighting what sets each product apart from its competitors. Our first-hand evidence ensures that our reviews are both reliable and beneficial for your toddler’s growth and development.



The Best Educational Toys for Toddlers of 2024

Here are 19 great educational toys for toddlers to consider.

Mega Bloks 80-Piece Set

Great Choice for Construction Gurus

Maybe your child is showing an interest in building but isn’t quite ready for grown-up wooden building blocks. This toy is a good one to consider.

When you’re on the go, these 80 colorful mega building blocks are packaged in a convenient bag, ideal for travel. They come in different sizes, all shaped to fit small hands and suitable for 12 months and older.

Your child might be kept busy for a while, building towers with matching or mismatching colors and fine-tuning essential motor skills. With this toy, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity. This classic option stands the test of time.

User Experience

These jumbo Legos have been a fantastic addition to our family's playtime. Not only did they help teach my daughter her colors, but both of my children enjoy building and laughing together as they create towers and knock them down. The vibrant colors and durable storage bag make clean-up and organization a breeze. Additionally, these blocks have proven to be versatile, as I've seen teachers use them for educational purposes like building words, making them a great investment for both fun and learning.

Melissa & Doug Building Blocks

Best Educational Toy for Older Toddlers

If your toddler has graduated from the plastic block option and is ready for something more complex, this popular toy will introduce them to construction and engineering. You shouldn’t have to upgrade this toy anytime soon, as it will keep them entertained for a few years down the line.

My 8-year-old still loves to create all kinds of train tunnels and other creations with these blocks.

The 60 solid wood blocks teach your child patience and coordination. Your child can stack the blocks precisely on top of each other, encouraging creativity and developing motor and problem-solving skills.

The best reward after the hard work? Knocking them down before putting them all away. An included wooden box allows easy storage and ensures no block gets lost before any upcoming playdates.

Personal Perspective

In my experience, these solid wood blocks are perfect for young children, providing hours of engaging and creative play. My 2-year-old grandson particularly enjoys balancing and stacking the different shapes, which are all smooth and well-crafted with rounded edges. I appreciate that these blocks are made from Rubberwood, a durable yet lightweight hardwood, and that they come in a convenient wooden storage box. The natural finish is also a plus, as there is no chemical smell, paint, or lacquer to worry about.

VTech Musical Rhymes Book

Best Interactive Book

Is your little one getting bored of board books and ready for an upgrade? This interactive book keeps your young toddler entertained and stimulated during story time.

Teaching your child fine motor skills, the six thick pages are easy to turn. Sensory and language skills will be developed through colorful piano keys, flashing lights, and 40 different songs, sounds, and phrases.

As fun as this noisy book is, we love that it comes with volume control for quiet time or when you’re on the go. It’s also made of sturdy plastic material, which can withstand throws and rough use during exciting moments.

Community Feedback

I'm delighted with this interactive nursery rhyme book that I purchased for my child's first birthday. The two settings allow for the nursery rhymes to be sung or just the music to play, and the colored keys on the side double as a mini piano. My child loves the engaging characters and items on each page that can be moved around to match the song's theme. This durable and entertaining book has been a favorite in our home for many months, and it still looks like new.

Lego Duplo My First Number Train

Educational Train Time

This choo-choo train is great for kids aged 18 months to 3 years. Toddlers can push and pull it easily. As your child grows, the 23 pieces can be assembled and disassembled, becoming one of the first construction toys your child might own.

The locomotive and three wagons contain numbered bricks — from zero to nine — teaching your child numbers and simple mathematics.

Two Lego Duplo characters and a kitty will enhance your child’s imagination and aid storytelling. Conceived with your child’s safety in mind, the brick size is perfect for small hands to grab and play with.

First-Hand Impression

My experience with this Duplo train set has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only is it sturdy and well-built, but it also provides an engaging and educational experience for young children. My son, who loves trains and learning numbers and colors, adores playing with this set and has incorporated it into his daily playtime routine. The versatility of the pieces encourages creativity and the development of fine motor skills, making it an excellent gift for young children. However, some children may not find it as captivating, so be mindful of the child's interests before purchasing.

LeapFrog My Own Leaptop

My First Laptop

This LeapFrog “Leaptop” is suitable for little girls and boys who are 2 years old and over. It comes in a green and pink version. The side handle makes it easy to carry around when work needs to be done — just like mom and dad do.

This toy is ideal for role play and imitating busy parents working on their laptops. The large screen is easy to read and has four different modes. It includes alphabet learning, games and music, and even a pretend emailing function. This toy has a lot to teach.

To make it even more personalized, you can customize the Leaptop with your little one’s name to teach them how to spell.

User Experience

From the moment I received this Leap Frog "My Own Leaptop," I knew it was different from the previous version I had purchased in 2012. After trying out the new version, I couldn't help but feel disappointed in the changes made. The old version had more personalized features and engaged my child more effectively, while the new version seemed to lack that personal touch. On the positive side, the Leaptop is still great for learning letters, sounds, and even has some fun songs to sing along with. Although my child enjoys playing with it, I can't help but wish I had stuck with the older version, which provided a more engaging and personal experience.

LeapFrog Fridge Phonics

Alphabet Learning Toy

This unique LeapFrog product is a favorite of my kids. The toy comprises fridge magnet letters your child can place on your fridge or any other magnetic surface. (Our fridge isn’t magnetic, so we like to use a cookie sheet.) Your child can combine the 26 magnetic tiles to form words, developing their alphabet skills.

When in need, the magnetic frog bus helps your child identify the letters. Simply place the letter inside the bus and press the music key. The friendly bus will then pronounce the letter and say a word associated with it.

To complete the learning process, the magnetic frog bus sings the alphabet song, among other songs, encouraging your tot to join.

Personal Perspective

As a parent, I found this toy to be an excellent educational tool that not only helped my child learn to read but also improved my own reading skills. The lively music and 3D magnetic letters kept my child engaged, and it has been a favorite toy for quite some time. However, a word of caution - the magnets may scratch your fridge, so consider protecting it before use.

Kidzlane Color Matching Egg Set

A Colorful Matching Set

This color-matching egg set for children aged 18 months and older teaches fine motor skills and creates imaginary play and stories.

Toddlers can mimic mom and dad, cracking and splitting eggs into two parts. Each egg reveals a different color and contains matching holes and pins to put them back together.

This set teaches colors and role play and educates kids on matching colors and numbers while improving their dexterity. It comes in a sturdy plastic case to put the eggs away when the fun is over.

Community Feedback

My experience with these educational eggs has been fantastic, as they are durable, versatile, and perfect for young children. My son has been playing with them for years, finding new ways to incorporate them into his playtime activities. They are great for teaching colors, shapes, and hand-eye coordination, and even my older child with special needs benefits from them.

Drop and Go Dump Truck

Best Dump Truck Toy

Trucks seem to be one of the most popular toys for toddlers, so why not select one that’s educational too?

Large buttons on the side of the truck teach your child songs, sentences, and the names of the tools used during play. Your little one can place the colorful rounded rocks on the truck’s head, where they’ll roll down to the rear bucket.

Once in the bucket, unload the truck, and your child is ready to start all over again! As your little one grows up, a string allows the truck to speed up as it’s being pulled around the house.

First-Hand Impression

Best interactive toy I've come across in a while! This musical yellow dump truck caught my one-year-old's attention with its adorable sounds and colorful design. The vibrant, lightweight rock balls with tool imprints are a fantastic touch, and my child enjoyed lifting the bucket and dumping them out. The only downside is the short pull cord, making it difficult for little ones to pull the truck while walking.

Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

Socialize With Picnic Time

My daughter and I have had many sweet picnics with this cute set.

The cute picnic basket is designed to improve social and motor skills. Made for two players, your child can share the picnic with a parent or another guest. This will help teach your toddler the notion of sharing and socializing.

From filling cups and using forks to placing fruits and sandwiches on plates, this toy improves your little one’s hand dexterity.

If they need a little help with role-playing, this picnic basket has three play modes: music, shapes, and colors. You can pack all the items neatly away in the singing picnic basket when lunch is over.

User Experience

My experience with this picnic basket toy has been delightful, as it not only provides a cute picnic setup, but also helps with learning shapes and food. The design could use some improvement, particularly the handle which obstructs the opening and the top which only opens on one side. This toy has been a favorite among kids of various ages, from my own 16-month-old grandchild to a 9-year-old at a family gathering. Just be cautious not to lose any pieces, as replacements aren't available, but overall, it's a fun and educational toy that kids love to carry around and play with.

VTech Touch and Learn Desk

My First Desk

Is your toddler too young for a real desk but old enough for a fun and interactive option?

This multi-functional desk contains several activities. It should be quite a while before your toddler gets bored with it. It includes more than 20 melodies and a light-up display. It also teaches over 100 vocabulary words.

Place one of five interactive pages on the desk, and the desk will teach music, numbers, letters, fruits, colors, the human body, and more. Cards come with four different learning modes, and as your child grows, you can purchase additional pages to increase the challenge.

If your child wants to be artistic, flip open the desk lid to reveal a chalkboard. If your little artist is more of a crayon type of person, you can clip a sheet of paper over the chalkboard for colorful creations.

Personal Perspective

This VTech Touch & Learn Activity Desk is a fantastic educational toy for younger children. My two-year-old enjoys exploring the pictures and activities, though she still needs to grow into some features. The chalkboard underneath is a nice addition, but it can be challenging for her to open, and the activity pages sometimes slide out when the desk is moved. While it's designed for ages 2 to 5, I think it might be a bit small for older kids, but overall, it's a great learning tool that keeps my child engaged.

Pretend & Play Cash Register

“Cha-Ching” Money Fun

This realistic toy is a good option for older toddlers and comes in two different colors. The 73-piece cash register set includes an assortment of bills and coins. The cash register includes a solar-powered calculator for doing much more than imaginative play.

Children can pretend to swipe credit cards and punch in prices before the cash register opens, making that standard cash register sound. This would be a great toy to teach your little one about currency and counting. The oversized buttons are suitable for small hands, making transactions easy.

Community Feedback

If you're looking for a fun and educational toy for your little ones, this cash register is a fantastic choice. I got it for my niece and she absolutely loves playing store with it, especially with her favorite nana. The built-in calculator and included play money help teach kids about counting and handling money, while the credit card reader adds a fun, modern touch. However, be prepared for the drawer to pop open with some force, potentially sending coins flying if not caught in time.
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Hape Pound & Tap Bench

Award-Winning Educational Toy

We can see why this toy is an award-winning item. The xylophone induces learning throughout. It helps develop motor skills such as dexterity, logic, critical thinking, and hand-eye coordination.

Suitable for even a 1-year-old, toddlers will enjoy pounding on the three colorful balls to produce sounds. When pounding fun is over, separate the xylophone to play individual notes. It also makes it easier to transport and carry around.

With rounded edges and non-toxic water-based paint, this sturdy wooden toy is also safe for children. Not to mention, it’s an attractive design. Hammer away!

First-Hand Impression

My experience with this toy has been quite positive, as it easily engages my 8-month-old granddaughter, who loves to chew on the mallets and tap on various objects to create noise. The xylophone may be a bit tinny and off-pitch, but this doesn't seem to bother her much, and the multiple parts of the toy keep her entertained. This toy has proven to be quite durable and well-loved by children of different ages, making it a great addition to our playtime collection.

VTech Little Apps Tablet

Tablet for Tech-Savvy Toddlers

This tablet comes in black or a stylish pink color and is suitable for children 2 years old and up. It includes a keypad, piano notes, four educational games, and eight progressive learning activities — spelling, counting, simple mathematics, reading, and more.

This tablet encourages pretend play, imitating parents and older siblings. An imaginary camera and calendar should keep your tot engaged for some time. The sturdy design can also withstand most shocks and drops.

Parents will be happy knowing that this toy comes with volume control, and when inactive, it automatically shuts off, saving that precious battery power.

User Experience

This VTech Little Apps Tablet truly captivated my child's attention and fostered their love for learning through its engaging sounds and features. My child started by simply pressing buttons and moving the tab, but soon began to absorb valuable lessons on counting, letters, numbers, shapes, and more, all thanks to the tablet's main character, Scout. However, be cautious around liquids, as it is not liquid-friendly and may glitch or become unusable if exposed.

Fisher-Price Smart Chair

Functional Smart Chair

This is another furniture-based toy my children have loved! Three progressive learning stages mean this smart chair will grow with your little one, increasing the challenge as they get older. You choose the required age range by sliding a switch.

It produces over 50 songs and sentences, encouraging your toddler to stand up, move, and dance. The included interactive book will take the fun further, encouraging children to find specific items hidden in the small storage area under the seat.

This chair can be much more than a toy. Your little ones can use it as a regular chair for everyday use and as a little hiding place for special toys.

Personal Perspective

I'm impressed with the durability and functionality of this chair for my young children. The easy assembly and multiple learning levels make it an engaging toy that adapts to their growing needs. I appreciate the volume control feature and the fact that it doesn't constantly repeat the same phrases. However, I do wish it had an AC adapter option and a more convenient battery compartment.

Catch & Count Wooden Fishing Game

Old-School Fishing Fun

Kids who enjoy a challenge will love this fishing game. It has six wooden magnetic fish and two fishing rods. Children can play the game alone when parents are busy or with a fisherman friend, encouraging social and communication skills.

This toy isn’t only fun and exciting; it also teaches your child numbers and colors. A wheel points out which fish number and color to look for, promoting the development of problem-solving and fine motor skills.

If your little one isn’t interested in fishing, the company promises to make it right, with a 100% happiness guarantee.

Community Feedback

In my experience, this fishing toy is great for young children who are learning colors and numbers. My granddaughter and students have enjoyed playing with it, but there are some drawbacks, such as the short length of the string on the fishing pole and occasional untangling issues. Despite these minor issues, the toy has provided entertainment and educational value for the kids in my life.

VTech Babble and Rattle Microphone

Pop Star Rattle Toy for the Youngest Learner

Is your baby or toddler fond of singing? This microphone isn’t only for pretend play — it amplifies your child’s voice for a real singing experience. It comes in blue or pink and is suitable from 3 months up.

Activated by a puppy button, the microphone can sing over 60 songs and phrases, encouraging your toddler to join in. From rock’n’roll to classical songs, it also features different animal sounds to encourage your baby’s hearing and language skills. Set the stage; we’ve got an entertainer ready to perform.

First-Hand Impression

This toy is durable, easy to use, and perfect for little hands to grasp. I appreciate the variety of features, such as the spinning wheel with animal pictures, the microphone for babbling, and the over 60 songs, sounds, melodies, and phrases. My child loves the contrasting textures and colors of the ribbons on the sides. However, I do wish there was a volume setting, as the sound can be quite loud. Despite this minor drawback, this toy has kept my baby entertained and engaged as they grow.
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Pretend & Play Doctor Kit

Doctor Set for Older Toddlers

Visiting the doctor is no fun, but playing doctor is a whole different story. To make it even more realistic, this toy set even comes with a pair of doctor glasses.

With its 19 pieces — bandages, a name tag, forceps, a scalpel, a syringe, and more — this doctor kit might generate a future vocation. Your child can use a phone to stimulate imaginary play and book important check-ups, with lights and sounds adding to the fun.

A battery-powered stethoscope allows your little doctor to check the patient’s heartbeat. All the equipment fits inside a translucent case, so your toddler will quickly be on the go to care for their patients.

User Experience

I'm thrilled with this doctor kit, as it has sparked my child's imagination and given them hours of fun playing pretend doctor. The 19-piece set includes realistic items like a battery-powered stethoscope, syringe, and even doctor glasses, all adding to the excitement. Plus, the handy translucent case makes it easy for my little one to take their medical practice on the go.

3 Bees & Me Bath Toys

Best Educational Bath Toys

These floating bath toys come in a set of four. Built-in magnets allow the numbered boats — from one to four — to line up in order. They don’t only make bathtime fun and exciting, but they also teach little ones colors and numbers.

Are you concerned about your child’s safety? These bath toys are free of phthalates and BPA. They’re made with durable materials to make them last a bath lifetime. The rounded shapes have no sharp edges, so they won’t hurt or scratch your child’s delicate skin.

Their small size is perfect for a toddler’s hands. They can easily be dried after bathtime for the fun to continue on dry land.

Personal Perspective

If you're looking for a cute and educational bath toy, these boats are a fantastic choice. My granddaughter loves how they connect with magnets and float well in the water, making them perfect for bath or pool time. The bright primary colors and numbers add an educational element, teaching young ones about colors and counting. The magnets are strong, ensuring the boats stay together during playtime. The quality of these boats is excellent, and they've become a favorite among my grandkids both in and out of the tub.

Fisher-Price Bright Beats

Funky Fresh Dance Time

This fun and interactive robot might soon become your child’s best friend. Combining learning and dance moves, this little robot sings and dances in rhythm. Large buttons located on its feet or tummy activate the music.

This toy encourages your little one to stand up and do the same, developing gross motor skills. My little one learned to do the little sway dance just like the robot.

Beatbo also teaches colors, numbers, and the alphabet.

We loved personalizing the songs to customize our child’s learning, and it’s so much fun for little ones to hear their voice in the robot. Record a sentence, or have your little one try, and Beatbo will remix your voices within a song.

Community Feedback

This entertaining and educational robot is perfect for keeping your child engaged and active. The dancing and singing features encourage little ones to stand up and mimic the moves, helping them develop their gross motor skills. Pressing the large buttons on its feet or tummy triggers music, and Beatbo teaches colors, numbers, and the alphabet too. I particularly enjoyed personalizing the songs for my child's learning, making it even more enjoyable for them. Plus, recording sentences and having Beatbo remix our voices into a song adds another layer of fun and interaction.

How to Choose an Educational Toy for Toddlers

Where do you start when selecting an educational toy for your child? What should we look for, and what should we avoid?

Toys & Development

Your 1-year-old may have started to experiment and sort objects (1). Selecting toddler toys designed to enhance these skills should set up your little one for success. Their cognitive skills are developing rapidly, including the ability to solve simple trial-and-error scenarios, and puzzles are a great way to encourage them.

At this age, toddlers interact more with parents, friends, and siblings. Some toys will teach your toddler to take turns while playing or to pass toys back and forth between players (2). Now is the time to introduce basic manners, sharing, and friendly gestures.

Furthermore, toddlers start voicing their opinions — sometimes loudly. Communicating with your child through play encourages speech development. The more talking you do, the better.

Last but not least, the motor skills they began developing as a baby will be enhanced through play. You’ll see an improvement in their coordination and ability to handle and control various shapes and sizes of objects.

Durability

Toddlers tend to grab and throw anything they can reach. Anything. For 2-year-olds, choosing a sturdy toy able to withstand their professional throwing skills will be the key.

Our little ones also tend to make a snack out of every little piece they find. Small parts of low-quality toys can easily come off and become dangerous if swallowed. When purchasing an educational toy for your toddler, consider these factors.

Chemicals

Many chemicals still found in toys today are harmful to the brain development of children and babies. The best toddler learning toys should be free of BPA, phthalates, and heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, or mercury (3).

Technology

Some of the best learning toys for toddlers introduce them to new technologies from a young age.

Some parents might decide to stick to a more traditional approach with toys such as blocks or cubes. Others may decide to allow their little one access to technology through toys. There’s no right or wrong here; it’s really a matter of preference.

Many options are specially adapted for toddlers. They combine fun and interactive learning through technologies, such as tablets, phones, or laptop-shaped educational toys. You’ll see a few of these on our list.

FAQs

What are the Best Toys For a Toddler’s Brain Development?

The best toys for a toddler’s brain development include blocks, shape sorters, simple puzzles, art supplies, and books.

These toys build motor skills and encourage problem-solving, imagination, and language skills. Toys that encourage pretend play and exploration are also beneficial.

What Toys Should Be In a Toddler Classroom?

A toddler classroom should have a variety of toys that promote different types of learning and development, including sensory bins, building blocks, art materials, pretend play items, and age-appropriate puzzles and games.

The toys should be safe, easy to clean, and accessible to the children.

What are Montessori Toys?

Montessori toys are designed to be simple, realistic, and based on real-life activities. They are often made of natural materials and encourage kids to explore and learn at their own pace. Common examples include wooden puzzles, practical life tools, and sensory materials.

What Toys Improve Sensory Skills?

Toys that improve sensory skills include textured balls, playdough, sand and water tables, musical instruments, and art supplies.

Sensory bins filled with items like rice, beans, or water beads can also be beneficial. These toys stimulate the senses and can help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

What Toys Promote Physical Development?

Toys that promote physical development include balls, ride-on toys, tunnels, and simple sports equipment like bowling sets or mini basketball hoops. Toddler-sized climbing structures and balance bikes can also encourage gross motor skills and coordination.

How Does Screen Time Affect a Toddler’s Cognitive Development?

Excessive screen time can negatively affect a toddler’s cognitive development, leading to shorter attention spans, reduced problem-solving skills, and delayed language acquisition.

It’s important to balance screen time with interactive, physical, and creative play. It’s best to limit screen time for toddlers to high-quality programming and co-viewing to ensure understanding.


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Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.