The best educational toys for kids
- Children learn by playing, and educational toys encourage the development of essential skills like creativity, thinking outside the box, and problem-solving.
- STEM toys, in particular, enhance divergent and innovative thinking, help children develop hand-eye coordination, and better promote spatial skills. Not surprisingly, the educational toys in this guide are all STEM.
- Of all the expert-approved educational toys, the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100-Piece Set is our top pick. This must-have toy is deceptively simple, but it's packed with fun.
Like it or not, the toys we choose to buy for our kids can make a difference in their development. During your child's growing years, it is important to provide them with educational toys that allow them to learn while they play. Different types of toys require children to use different skill sets and tap into different learning areas of the brain.While any toy can offer value to a developing brain, there are certain toys, usually referred to as educational, learning or instructional toys that provide specific value to children. The beauty of educational toys is double fold, as they appeal to both children and parents. At their core, they are still toys, so they don't seem like homework or a burden to children, yet they conveniently, almost secretly, provide learning benefits.
That's why we've done the research to find the best educational toys for kids of all ages. Before we get into our picks, here are some scientific benefits to educational toys.
Benefits of Educational Toys
- Innovative and creative thinking: When playing with educational toys and games, children can develop perception, intuition, and reasoning as they partake in a creative activity.
- Cognitive skills: Educational toys can help children connect to their thought processes and further develop their capabilities to think freely. Common toys that help boost cognitive skills include puzzles and number games.
- Motor skills: With the right educational toys and games, children develop their motor skills in conjunction with their cognitive skills.
- Soft skills: By giving children a well-guided play experience, children develop what are considered softer skills such as appropriate social interaction (dictated by social values, principles, and sentiments), language skills, and emotional development (i.e. handling certain situations, such as losing a game, helps them learn to accept challenges, to overcome them, and to gain mental strength).
We've handpicked five of the best educational toys that provide a firm foundation for learning and education, thereby giving your child a good start early in life. Certainly, different learning toys are best for certain age groups, but rather than focus on individual age groups, we sought to present the best toys on the market hands down, regardless of age. Most toys on our list are suitable for children six years and older, although some may be used by children as young as 3 years old.
All picks ended up being STEM toys, not by intention, simply by nature of finding the best products out there for educational purposes. Our selections are based on online research, hands-on reviews ranging from mommy bloggers to tech analysts, Amazon customer reviews and best-seller lists, as well as independent expert rankings. In this category, we also took into consideration the type and number of awards and recognition the toys received from educational institutions and researchers. Read more about our top educational toys in the following slides.
Here are our favorite educational toys for kids:
- Best educational toy overall: Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set
- Best educational toy for learning about electricity: Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit
- Best educational toy for learning about science: Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit
- Best educational toy robot: Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
- Best app-based educational toy: Osmo Genius Kit
Updated on 10/22/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated prices, formatting, and text.
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