Best Educational Toys for Toddlers

by SusanM

The best educational toys for toddlers might surprise you.

These days it would be easy to think toys do not help your toddler to learn unless they have the word "educational" on the box. Because of this some of the most educational toys for you toddler can be missed.

Some of the classic toys you grew up with have great educational value for your child. So although newer electronic toys are good for older children, the classic toys talked about here will help your toddler more.

Block Play Teaches Early Math

You shouldn’t miss classic wooden blocks because playing with blocks helps your toddler find out and explore essential math concepts. These concepts will be the foundation that their future math knowledge is built upon.

When your toddler works out that they need four square blocks to make the same length as two rectangular blocks they are finding out about measurement and adding. When they collect all the green blocks to make a turtle they are learning about classification.

This will be essential knowledge for your child when they start to learn math at school. Finding out about these concepts through block play is the best way your toddler can work out and understand these concepts.

When you buy your block set make sure there are different sized pieces. Also make sure those pieces are mathematically correct so two square blocks make a rectangle.  

Art Play and Thinking

Art is one of the best ways for “whole child” learning. When your toddler is playing with crayons or paint they are learning to think in different ways and problem solve. They get to make decisions about things like which color to use when they can't make decisions about many other things. This is excellent for their first tries at decision making.

Art looks different to pretend play. But it has many similarities. Both art and pretend play are about imagining new possibilities. Your toddler can create purple grass through art even though this does not exist in real life. Imagining what “could be” is wonderful for developing creativity as well as the "what if" type of thinking that is the foundation of scientific thinking.

Thick crayons like the Jumbo Crayons or finger paints are the best because your toddler doesn’t have good co-ordination yet in their hands and fingers. Finger paint and thick crayons are the easiest for your toddler to use. Thicker crayons are also harder to break so they will last longer too.

Best Art Supplies for Your Toddler

Good for Little Hands
Crayola Jumbo Crayons (8 Colors)
Crayola Fingerpaints (4 Colors)

Why Pretend Play is Good for Your Toddler

Art provides possibilities just like pretend play. But it is important for your toddler to have toys for pretending too. This is because being able to pretend with things like toy trucks and dolls gives your toddler more ways to explore "what if" thinking.

Pretend play toys gives your toddler tools of imagination that are different to when they are playing with crayons or paint. This provides wonderful support for your toddler's learning. This encourages better development.

Good pretend toys for your toddler includes toys that help them imagine "if" they were a grown up, or a doctor, or a mom or a carpenter. This is because imagining "if" is one of the most important parts of pretend play learning.

Good pretend toys for toddlers include toys that help them imagine "if" they were a grown up, or a doctor, or a mom or a carpenter. This is because imagining "if" is one of the most important parts of pretend play learning.

Good Pretend Play Toy Ideas

Encourage Your Child's Imagination
Pretend Play Dish Set
Green Toys
Baby Doll
Soft Toy Toolbox
Melissa & Doug

Puzzles and Problem Solving

Puzzles are a wonderful way to teach problem solving and logical thinking to your toddler.

Will this piece fit in this space? What happens if I turn it around?

Logical thinking is important skill because most school skills your toddler will come across later in life are based on logical thinking.

When choosing puzzles for your toddler it’s important not to pick ones that are too hard. If it is too hard it may discourage and frustrate your child. Instead start with something easy like a puzzle with 3 or 4 pieces. When your toddler can do easy puzzles easily try some harder ones with 5 or 6 big pieces. This way you will be encouraging learning while keeping play fun.

Good Puzzles for Your Toddler

Challenging but not too hard for toddlers
Safari Jumbo Knob Puzzle
Lights Camera Interaction
Construction Chunky Puzzle
Melissa & Doug
Jumbo Knob Farm Puzzle
Melissa & Doug

Why Water and Sand Play?

Sand and water play is a wonderful sensory experience for your toddler. This is because it helps develop your child’s sense of touch. Children also learn math skills too.

They can find out how much a cup holds. Does this short, wide cup hold as much as the narrow, tall cup? Does this rock float like a plastic boat? and so on.

Sand also gives your child the chance to include digging in their play - something that you would probably your child do in a sand pit not your garden.

Of course all toddlers should ALWAYS be supervised around water. Even when the toy is made for toddlers and holds only a little water. It only takes the smallest amount of water for a child to drown

Water Activity Tables at Ebay

Kids Sand Tables at Ebay

More About Toddler Toys and Play

Choosing the best bike for your toddler.
Answers and ideas about picking the best toys for a 2 year old.
Do you know how to choose the right jigsaw puzzle for a toddler?
Play ideas to keep your toddler happy and busy when they have a broken leg
Updated: 09/13/2012, SusanM
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