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Best Educational Toys for Early Development

Toys for children are supposed to be super-enjoyable and fun to play with – but imagine finding an exciting toy that’s educational too.

Throughout this blog, the experts at KiddyMoon explain the purpose of developmental toys and which are the best for your little one.

What do educational toys do?

Educational or developmental toys are engaging toys that help children learn. 

This involves more than learning the ABCs – educational toys help children to engage their senses, learn more about their environment and develop physically.

The different types of early development toys

When picking educational toys for your little one, they need to be engaging, age-appropriate, and aligned with their learning goals. If not, your child is likely to ignore them, get frustrated and abandon them, or get bored with the toy quickly.

We’ve compiled a list of age-appropriate toys dedicated to each developmental goal to help you pick the best educational toy for your little one. 

Fine and gross motor skill enhancement

Some toys teach toddlers how to engage their arm, core, and leg muscles –known as gross motor skills. Whereas the use of smaller muscles in the hands and fingers is referred to as fine motor skills.  

Both are important to your child’s growth and abilities to walk, balance and grasp. 

Fine and gross motor skill toys

1+ years: ball pits, baby walkers with interactive puzzles, and foam building blocks.

2+ years: Foam playgrounds and aqua drawing play sets etc.

3+ years: slides, rockers, balance boards, and sand pits.

Cognitive development

Educational toys that stimulate children’s cognitive skills encourage children to use their minds actively to find solutions. Such toys may require toddlers to problem-solve, think critically, and use logical to reason. 

Cognitive thinking toys

1+ years: Building blocks, stacking toys, and tap hammering toys.

2+ years: wooden jigsaws, shape sorters, and activity cubes.

3+ years: snap card games, stack and count toys, and simple board games.

Language skills

Language-based toys involve using letters, reading, and talking to promote vocabulary development and communication. 

Children engage in conversations, learn new words and boost their verbal communication skills while playing with these toys.

Language development toys

1+ years: wooden picture books and sing-along games.

2+ years: alphabet teaching frames and learning cards, LeapFrog 100 words books, etc. 

3+ years: interactive learning desks and phonics boards. 

Confidence building

Toys that encourage young ones to master new skills, such as problem-solving and accomplishing puzzles, help children to gain a sense of achievement – this contributes to a positive self-image and the development of a growth mindset.

Toys to build confidence

1+ years: walkers with interactive games and pull-along toys.

2+ years: my first trike and climbing triangles.

3+ years: snap card games, slides and balance boards.

Creative thinking

Educational toys can boost creativity and imagination by allowing children to create their own stories and narratives.  Kits, building blocks, or pretend play sets encourage children to think outside the box, express themselves, and develop their imaginative skills.

Imaginative play toys:

1+ years: baby dolls, wooden race cars, and small xylophones.

2+ years: aqua drawing mats, toy pirate ships, farms and houses, and prams etc.

3+ years: doctor/vet play sets, tea sets, and toy cash registers etc. 

How to pick a reliable toy retailer

Now you know what toys to look for, it’s time to choose and buy from a reputable supplier to ensure you’re getting a robust, safe, and trusted product for your child.

To determine whether a retailer provides long-lasting development toys, be sure to check reviews from customers. You can usually find these on the company’s site, Google My Business page, or review sites such as Trustami and Trustpilot.

Additionally, be sure to check their safety standards to check their materials are safe, tried and tested – this is usually found on the toy product page.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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