As parents we want our children to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. We want them to achieve their deepest dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may be. (Sorry, there are no astronaut-cowboys!) Right?
Unfortunately, we will not be able to walk side-by-side with them throughout the entirety of their journey. (No, you cannot sit in on little Johnny’s SAT test!) However, we can give them an advantage. We can ensure that they start their journey off on the right foot.
What does this mean?
It means that from a young age we can help our children to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit therefore preparing them for obstacles that may block their progress later on. Yes, they may still stumble and fall along the way, but the odds will be in their favor. We can do this by ensuring they eat healthy and nutritious meals. We can do this by sitting through animated educational videos and songs again and again and again and again…. We can also do this by providing them with educational toys.
Trying to get your toddler to focus and learn 24/7 is not feasible. (Sorry!) However, you can help him or her learn fine motor skills, socialization skills, and much more through the use of toys. Yes, playtime can be outstandingly helpful for your toddler.
If you’re searching for fun, frugal, and above all, educational toys for your little one, look no further. Here are 25 of the best educational toddler toys around:
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel – This height adjustable easel really packs an educational punch, so to speak. It has a chalkboard, dry erase board, and paper clips so your child can paint, color, etc. This toy will help your child learn fine motor skills, color recognition, writing, letter recognition, and creative expression.
Playskool Play-Doh Fun Factory Super Set – With this educational toddler toy your little one will have so much fun he or she won’t even realize they’re also learning. This toy can teach creative expression, shape recognition, color recognition, and social skills such as sharing.
Melissa & Doug Peel & Press Sticker by Number – Help your child learn fine motor skills, matching, and concentration with the help of this twist on a traditional puzzle. Bonus: He or she will have a nice decoration for their room at the end.
Melissa & Doug Shape, Model and Mold – Like Play-Doh but with more gadgets, this toy will help your child learn a variety of valuable skills from color recognition to sharing. Tip: If you already have some Play-Doh on hand there’s no reason you couldn’t use it with this toy.
LeapFrog Letter Factory Phonics – This toy is sure to help your little one learn his or her alphabet. The letters sing songs that teach their “names” and what sounds they make and those songs help reinforce the concepts.
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Magnetic Letters & Numbers in a Box Bundle – Whether you’re working on number recognition, letter recognition, spelling, or basic math, these magnets can help! One of the great things about this educational toddler toy is that it can grow with your child. When he or she is younger, the focus can be on simple recognition and at a later age, the focus can be on putting it all together (ex. doing math problems).
Melissa & Doug See & Spell – With 16 pictures to choose from your child will have a blast working on matching and spelling skills. Bonus: This set is made from high quality materials so when your child outgrows it you can easily make it a hand-me-down to a younger sibling, niece, nephew, etc.
LeapFrog LeapReader Junior Book Pal, Scout – Thanks to this educational toddler toy, your little one can start reading at a very early age. The dog (Scout) included, helps your child read books and can even be personalized to know your child’s name. Bonus: This toy can work with 80 activities including books and puzzles.
LeapFrog Scribble and Write – This toy will help your child learn letter and number recognition as well as how to write. It’s great because your child is practicing with a stylus that can’t actually write on other materials… this means your walls won’t end up covered in crayon or marker!
Magna-Tiles Clear Colors Set – Help your little one learn spatial skills, tactile skills, and creative expression with this 100 piece building set. Oh, yeah, they’re also sure to learn sharing skills as everyone (including Dad) is going to want to play with this!
LEGO Bricks & More 10662 Creative Bucket – Much like the educational toddler toy mentioned above, this set includes over 600 pieces to help your child build anything they can dream up! Warning: The pieces (at least some of them) are really small and may be a choking hazard, so make sure your little one is out of the phase where everything has to go in their mouth!
Melissa & Doug Stack and Sort Board – Sometimes the simplest toys are the best. Admittedly, there isn’t much to this toy, but it will teach your child hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, color recognition, and shape recognition.
Learning Resources Farmers Market Color Sorting Set – Not only is this a great education toddler toy, but it is also plain old fun! On the educational front, it’ll teach your little one color recognition, sorting skills, and food recognition. On the fun front, he or she will have a blast playing farmer, chef, grocery store, etc.
Learning Resources Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register, Regular, Standard Packaging (Red/Blue) – This solar powered cash register actually functions making it a great way to teach your child basic math skills from counting to making change.
Melissa & Doug USA Map Floor Puzzle – This relatively large puzzle will help your child learn matching skills, concentration, and potentially even geography. Tip: Work on the puzzle with him or her and go over the different states.
ThinkFun Zingo – Bingo gets a toddler twist in this educational toddler toy. It’ll teach your little one image and vocabulary recognition, matching skills, memory, concentration, and social skills. Not too shabby, right? Bonus: While many toddler toys are a bit dull for mom and dad, this one is pretty fun to play regardless of your age!
Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle – Here’s another relatively large puzzle (this one of the solar system) that’ll help your child learn matching skills, concentration, and more. This puzzle is a great way to introduce a lesson on space such as the different planets.
The Learning Journey Match It! Alphabet Memory – This educational toddler toy will help your little one develop their memory, matching skills, and problem solving skills all while having a blast. With 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon and a price of just $9.99 you know it’s going to be a good (and frugal) buy!
LeapFrog Touch Magic Learning Bus – With 3 settings to choose from (learning, letter exploration, and music), this toy has a lot to offer.
Your little one will have a ball singing songs while learning letter recognition, hand-eye coordination, and vocabulary recognition.
VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube – What’s really nice about this educational toddler toy is the amount of use you can get out of it. It has a lot to offer and is recommended for children from 6 months all the way up to 3 years. Some of the skills your little one will learn are motor skills, animal recognition (by sight and sound), shape recognition, attention to detail, and cause and effect.
LeapFrog LeapTV Educational Active Video Gaming System Multiplayer Mega Bundle – Okay, if your child must play video games, this is the console for you. This set will work with over 100 different games all of which are educational.
Melissa & Doug Shapes Chunky Puzzle – This is an awesome puzzle to help your little one learn shape recognition and matching skills. If you’re on the fence about this product, just take a look at the reviews: 252 customer reviews with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. It’s a keeper!
Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game – If you’re looking for quick and easy board games that are also educational, look no further. This game is quick to play, easy to set up, and will teach your child matching skills, sorting skills, counting, and basic math skills. Warning: Watch out for the small pieces if you have really young toddlers.
Alphabet Bingo Games – If your child is struggling with the alphabet or letter recognition (either by sight or sound), this is the perfect game. It’s just bingo with letters instead of the traditional letter/number combination.
Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Piano – There’s a lot of advantages to your child learning to play a musical instrument. For example, studies have shown that many computer programmers are also talented with a musical instrument. If you want your little one to learn piano, this is a great first step.
Any time you can spend helping your little one acquire basic skills like letter recognition, math and counting, hand-eye coordination, and social skills (ex. sharing) are sure to pay off in the long run. Look to these 25 highly rated educational toys to jump start your learning playtime.
Kelli Bhattacharjee, the owner of FreebieFindingMom.com, is a former investment professional with nearly ten years of experience. She now pursues her passion of showing others how to live a frugal yet fabulous life (yep, it’s possible) via her savvy financial blog. Join her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google