Educational toys for young children are amazing because they provide them with learning opportunities through entertainment. Different kinds of toys are made for different age ranges. For instance, new babies love to explore and are delighted by sensory experience, especially touch.

There is a staggering range of options when it comes to educational toys, and you must make sure you are getting ones that are appropriate for each stage of physical and cognitive development. Having this at the forefront is key to getting the right toy for your child. The below guide was created with that in mind, and provides you with some important tips and criteria for choosing the best educational toy for your child.

Key Facts

  • Educational toys have the ability to entertain children while they learn new skills based on their stage of development.
  • Educational toys are the ideal tool for providing the necessary cognitive stimulation at different stages of development.
  • To buy the best toy for your child, you need to carefully consider the specified age range, as well as ensure it is suitably safe.

Ranking: The best educational toys on the U.S. market

If you are bringing a child into the world, you are going to need educational toys eventually, there is no way around it. Depending on the features of each toy, it will help build important cognitive, verbal, numeracy, and fine motor skills. Below are some of the best educational toys currently on the U.S. market.

No. 1: Just Smarty – Electronic Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart

Just Smart’s Electronic Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart is a great educational toy for early childhood development that helps toddlers learn both number and letter association. This educational toy makes a nice addition to any nursery or home games room, and can be rolled up and taken with you on the go so your little one can play and learn anywhere. Another great feature of this toy is that is comes with a built-in music player that includes some of the most popular children songs, especially ones with an educational bent like the “ABC Song”.

This toy takes very little space and is as easy to use as simply hanging it from your wall. There is no mess to clean up, and it automatically turns itself off to help you conserve battery. The 3 AAA batteries required to run this toy are included. This is a great educational toy that can help children between the ages of 2 and 5 make important letter and number associations, all while having a ball.

No. 2: Conthfut – Water Doodle Drawing Mat

Conthfut’s Water Doodle Drawing Mat is made for kids from aged 1 to 12, making it an educational and creative toy that will be useful as your children develop. This 39.5 x 27.5 inch mat can be placed on the table, or on the floor and folds up easily to be taken with you anywhere you want. The Water Doodle mat is great not only because kids love to draw and color, but because it is completely reusable. A great way to satisfy your kids’ need to express themselves while ensuring that the walls and furniture don’t become their canvass.

All you have to do to let your kids create magic is take off the removable pen cap, fill it with water, and let your kids’ imaginations take over. This product comes with a 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee, so if you are not thrilled, the 6 month warranty ensures you get your money back. Drawing manuals give your kids something to work off of, but there is also ample space for them to really harness the power of their young minds and draw to their hearts’ content.

No. 3: Brickyard Building Blocks – STEM Toys Kit

Brickyard Building Blocks’ 163 piece STEM Toys Kit is meant to instill important mechanical and other STEM competencies in children from a young age, preparing them for the education and job markets of the future. This educational toy comes with 75 per cent more pieces that comparable sets, and up to six kids can play with it at the same time, fostering teamwork and socialization. This set lets kids harness both their imagination and their technical understanding of the world.

Learning through play is key for young children, especially during important formative years, and Brickyard Building Blocks’ STEM Toys Kit helps develop hand-eye coordination, problem solving, logical thinking, as well as fine motor skills at the same time. The first five years of a child’s life are vitally important, and getting the right cognitive stimulation is paramount. This game provides everything a growing brain needs to feel stimulated, as well as a great creative outlet for independent and group play.

No. 4: Kidzlane – Color Matching Egg Set

Kidalane’s Color Matching Egg Set is a terrific toddler learning toy that teaches preschoolers important numeracy, sorting, and language skills. The 12 plastic eggs feature a different color and number that needs to be placed in the matching slot and peg. On top of that, the easy to grip eggs help increase dexterity, ability to recognize different colors, and fine motor skills. Great for children 18 months old and up. These eggs feel great in your child’s little hands and provide a nice tactile experience on top of it all.

During the first five years of a child’s life, you, as a parent, are going to have to get used to taking toys with you on the go. The easy to pack and carry plastic egg case can be taken anywhere easily, and is light weight and easy to clean. Whether by themselves, or with friends and family, this educational toy can also be used cooperative, teaching kids vital empathy and teamwork skills that will serve them well later in life. If you are not completely satisfied with this product, contact the company and they will make things right.

No. 5: Kidtastic – STEM Learning Dinosaur

Another great STEM learning toy, Kidtastic’s STEM Learning Dinosaur mixes fun and creativity with important educational and life skills. A great way to get your toddlers and young children away from the electronic devices that increasingly, and unfortunately dominate childhood, this 106 piece set can be used to create three unique dinosaur toys, and your children are in complete control of the construction process. This toy helps lay the foundation for important problem solving and other left brain cognitive tasks that are increasingly important for socioeconomic success in the modern world.

This toy comes with a one-year manufacturers warranty, and a full money-back guarantee in case of any damage. The STEM Learning Dinosaur is also a great collaborative toy with which to learn valuable social and teamwork skills that will become increasingly useful as your child ages. Easy to disassemble, and with kid-safe, completely non-toxic plastic components, your child will get hours of entertainment and education out of Kidtastic’s Learning Dinosaur.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about educational toys

Kids need to play in order to grow cognitively. That is how human beings are designed. Depending on their stage of development, different toys provide different developmental and growth opportunities. Educational toys are fantastic options for parents because they let kids learn and play simultaneously. Below are some of the most important things to keep in mind when considering educational toys.

Depending on the stage of development, the child will need toys that allow them to acquire certain skills.
(Source: Oksana Kuzmina: 93514831/ 123rf.com)

What are the benefits of educational toys?

The most obvious benefit is that they provide kids with important developmental skills. Educational toys can be given to children of all ages, provided they are age-appropriate. Fun and learning occur at the same time, and as long as your kid is having fun, they will get the necessary developmental benefits from the toy as well.

With babies, most toys are designed to harness their intense desire to explore and get to know the world around them. They are focused on strengthening motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Babies begin strengthening their memories and learn how to improve basic tasks like grasping and manipulating objects.

foco

These toys allow little American boys and girls to learn about textures, shapes and colors.

What are the suitable ages for these toys?

Educational toys can begin to be introduced to children from a very early age – within their first few months of life. They provide necessary mental stimulation and promote age-appropriate development. You should always consult a manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines on the packaging before giving your child a toy.

As children progress through that initial year of life, they become obsessive and adept little explorers. This is why toys that promote the development of fine motor skills and strengthen their sensory receptors are vital. Educational toys at this stage can also begin working on things like logical reasoning and linguistic development.

Toys are the perfect tool for children to stimulate mental, cognitive, social, linguistic and emotional skills.
(Source: Famveldman: 61224309/ 123rf.com)

What kind of educational toys are recommended for babies?

There is nothing young babies love more than bright, flashing objects – especially ones that emit noise. Children at this stage of development love toys they can interact with and grab. This is especially true of toys that include things like building blocks of different sizes, varying shapes, and interesting and novel textures. Life at this stage of development is a thoroughly tactile experience.

Toys that can be fitted together, or are stackable are especially fun and help promote logical – especially deductive -reasoning. Other games help promote number and letter recognition, or feature animals and noises they can activate and press while learning. You can’t go wrong with flashing lights.

Are there any regulations for educational toys?

All children’s toys, educational or otherwise, are carefully regulated to give parents piece of mind and protect children. Toys sold, advertised, and manufactured in the United States must meet strict requirements in terms of composition, and physical and mechanical properties so as to keep kids safe.

All toys sold in the United States must meet the minimum safety standards of ATSM F963, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. It is part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and makes, and makes it necessary for all toys to not only advertise hazardous components, but includes guidelines and methodologies to developing toys that are less likely to hurt children.

R. Keith Sawyer, Ph.D.Arts & Sciences at Washington University

“Playing with toys, even something as simple as blocks, allows children to create their own play environment and stimulate their imagination”.

Shopping Criteria

To get the best toy for your child and his or her developmental stage, you should consider a number of important shopping criteria. The U.S. market features myriad options, and knowing which one(s) to choose can be overwhelming. We recommend that you carefully consult the below shopping criteria to make sure you get the correct item for your little guy or girl.

  • Ages
  • Type
  • Security
  • Theme
  • Objective

Ages

The first and most salient purchase criteria is the age for which an educational toy is intended. Taking this into consideration first and foremost will ensure your child gets the most of a toy. If you pick something that is not age-appropriate, your child will get bored easily and, therefore, will not learn anything from it.

From birth to one year-old, educational toys that feature any pieces that snap on, or click together, and that are both colorful and soft are highly recommended. From two to three years-old, things that stack, interactive books and simply musical instruments are well received. After three years-old, kids start to appreciate things like construction toys and puzzles (i.e. things with bigger logic and problem solving components).

Sensory stimulation toys, such as musical instruments, help to improve a child’s coordination.
(Source: Oksana Kuzmina: 48969678/ 123rf.com)

Type

You also need to factor in what kind of game it is. There are a range of games that are grouped under “educational toys.” There are those that focus on sensory stimulation, those than work on developing both sight and hearing, and those that are more concentrated on building motor skills.

Other toys seek to help build empathy and social skills in children. Construction toys when kids reach about the age of three are great for stimulating problem solving abilities. There are also “intellectual” toys that come with fixed rules, and which allow children to work on things like deductive reasoning and novel ways of thinking.

Types of educational toys Benefits
Construction and fitting pieces Stimulate motor skills and hand-eye coordination
Sensory stimulation Enhances their auditory and visual memory. Improves attention. Enhances the sense of touch
Emotional toys Emotional toys awaken the sense of responsibility and stimulate decision making
Symbolic or imitation Develops their imagination and creativity
Intellectual toys Improves problem solving and logical reasoning skils

Security

Another factor to carefully consider is how safe a toy is for a given age range. Things like materials, the type and number of small pieces, and the existence of anything sharp should be factored into your purchase decision.

You should also check that it has clearly been checked and approved by U.S. authorities and is not a Chinese, or other foreign product that may not have been subjected to the same stringent safety standards. It is wise to also consult any manufacturers information on the packaging that would indicate if there are any potentially harmful chemicals present.

foco

Toys in the U.S. like Play Doh, for instance, recognize that children might be tempted to try and eat it, and have ensured that all of the ingredients are non-toxic, albeit very salty.

Theme

Different toys come with different themes. Kids, like all human beings, have unique tastes and preferences, so know what your child likes before buying them an educational toy. You might want to get something that features a favorite television show, fictional character, or perhaps a favorite animal.

The options on the U.S. market are virtually endless. Themes include animals, colors, numbers, letters, and can all be harnessed to make playing and learning more fun. Most of them come with standard and common geometric shapes like squares, circles, and triangles, as well as feature common scenes around the home, in the community, and at school you child will become more familiar with as he or she ages.

Objective

Lastly, to get the right toy for any child, you need to consider what it is going to impart in terms of learning and knowledge. An age-appropriate abacus, for instance, is a great way to teach kids basic counting and numeracy, while construction and building toys help teach valuable STEM capabilities.

To help promote improved hand-eye coordination, look for toys that have stackable and clip-on parts, or ones that require slotting and fitting. Sensory stimulation is very important for infants, so toys that have exaggerated sounds, colors, and textures are vital.

Summary

Many people are under the misapprehension that kids don’t want educational toys, they want “normal” toys. This is not the case, though. Educational toys are made to be fun, and the fun is where kids get their cognitive benefits from. This is only the case, however, if you get a toy that is right for your child’s developmental stage.

The number of toy options out there is near infinite, both in terms of age appropriateness, but also unique theme and design. Whatever you decide on, never forget that children learn while they play, and playing, therefore, is learning.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with friends and family on social media. Additionally, you can also drop us a comment below!

(Source of featured image: Oksana Kuzmina: 77756445/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Our writers and editors at THEGOODESTATE.com focus on making your life easier by selecting the best available options on the U.S. market of everyday objects and supplements.