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Say what you will about kids preferring electronics to toys, because if you can get the right learning toy to totally captivate them, there’s a good chance that they’ll come to prefer that over their tablet any day. Especially if you can find the best learning toy for toddlers, since that’s probably the best age to really get them hooked on something more worthwhile than online videos of other kids playing with toys.
Of course, there’s the off chance that your toddler might grow tired of their new learning toy, but that’s a risk you run no matter what you buy them. These are easily the top seven best learning toys for toddlers, though, and even if only one of them does the trick, your child will be on the fast track to preschool prep.
1. LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate
Since there’s no getting around the fact that yes, toddlers are drawn to tablets of any kind, there is the LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate tablet full of educational games sure to hold your toddler’s attention longer than the average toy.
With 8 GB of memory, it’s already pre-loaded with tons of games to help teach your child about music, math, science, and reading, as well as engage them in different puzzles to allow them to have fun along the way.
The tablet also has wifi and a kid-safe browser that will only allow your child to see kid-friendly content as they navigate the tablet on their own. Plus, the seven-inch screen is durable enough to withstand lots of stress and the entire frame has an energy-absorbing bumper around it.
Child Age Range: The LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate is perfect for kids ages 3-9.
Where To Buy: You can buy the tablet on Amazon or in-store at Target or Toys ‘R Us.
The Best Part: The learning tablet comes preloaded with dozens of educational games and e-books.
The Not So Great: Although it’s supposed to hold a five-hour charge, it may need to be charged more often and only stay powered on for a couple of hours at a time before it needs to be plugged in again.
2. VTech Touch and Teach Word Book
These days, toddlers need to be much more prepared for kindergarten than they would have needed to be years ago, so it’s never too soon to start teaching them letters and even the beginning of how to read actual words.
That’s what the VTech Touch and Teach Word Book is designed to do, all while acting as a fun toy for your child to enjoy.
Each page of the toy is sensitive to your toddler’s touch and includes part of one of four games: “What’s That Word?”, “Letter Fun”, “Music Time”, and the “Find It! Quiz Game”. By helping your child learn to identify letters and then associate pictures with the correct sound of the letters, the toy can help your child start to learn how to read, even if it’s just the beginning stages of your toddler learning the new and important skill to prepare them for school.
Child Age Range: The VTech Touch and Teach Word Book is for toddlers ages 18 months-4 years of age.
Where To Buy: You can find it on Amazon or in-store at Walmart.
The Best Part: Since there are so many different learning games and stages, your toddler can work up to the more challenging material without any rush.
The Not So Great: At times, the touch sensor for each letter or picture might be a little too sensitive.
3. Super Why ABC Letter Game
If your toddler loves Super Why on PBS, then you have even more reason to want to invest in the Super Why ABC Letter Game.
It might be more of a game than an actual toy, but it’s still meant to hold your toddler’s attention in a fun and engaging way that won’t seem like it’s meant to teach them.
The game, which comes with finger puppets, a game board, question cards, and a spinner, helps teach your child basic reading skills with rhyming, identifying letters, rhyming, and even correcting sentences themselves. Since it’s in the form of a game, it will also help your toddler learn how to properly take turns and help with their social skills, which is certainly an added bonus.
Child Age Range: The game is made for children ages 3 and up.
Where To Buy: You can find the Super Why ABC Letter Game on Amazon or in-store at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond.
The Best Part: Since it’s in the format of a game, your toddler can enjoy and learn with you or other children.
The Not So Great: Some parents might find the game a little challenging at first for their younger toddlers or toddler who isn’t as experienced with letters or reading just yet.
4. LeapFrog Scribble and Write
There might be apps that promote learning how to write letters for toddlers, but the LeapFrog Scribble and Write also teaches them how to hold a pencil, which is an important skill learned in preschool.
The game will give your child instant feedback on how well they did and includes upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers to really get your toddler prepared for school ahead of time.
The Scribble and Write is small enough to take with you anywhere you go and the stylus was designed to be used for children who are either right or left-handed. It will also help your toddler learn how to recognize letters as they learn them along the way.
Child Age Range: The LeapPad Scribble and Write is for toddlers ages 3 and up.
Where To Buy: You can buy the toy on Amazon and in-store at Toys ‘R Us.
The Best Part: It not only teaches kids about letters and numbers but also how to hold a pencil.
The Not So Great: Eventually, some of the lights that outline the letters and numbers might start to fade.
5. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube
Go back to the basics with the simple but educational Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube, which is the classic wooden cube that has shapes to sort and insert into their respective cut-outs.
There are 12 brightly colored shapes for the cube and the toys help to promote color and shape recognition for toddlers, while also giving them the first taste of problem-solving that can also help build their self-confidence at a young age. For parents, the cube has that nostalgia factor and it’s the perfect first learning toy for a toddler to play with and learn from.
Child Age Range: The cube is designed for children ages 2 and up.
Where To Buy: You can find the Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube on the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon and in-store at Target.
The Best Part: Since it’s made of wood, its sturdy and less likely to bend or break, like plastic shape sorting cubes can do.
The Not So Great: The top that slides off to empty out the blocks slides off a little too easily, so it’s hard to secure into place when your toddler is playing with it.
Price: On Amazon, the Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube is $15.
6. VTech Alphabet Apple
The VTech Alphabet Apple might seem like the typical alphabet learning toy, but in reality, it’s so much more than that.
There are also the letter and light games, as well as music for toddlers to play along with. Plus, the toy also has a small clock to help your little one learn to tell time with a small moveable worm as the hand on the clock. It also grows with your toddler, in a way, since the eight different toddler learning activities also have different progressive learning levels.
As another VTech learning toy, the VTech Alphabet Apple is made to help your toddler prepare for preschool and learn with added fun lights and sound effects.
Child Age Range: The toy is designed for children ages 2-5.
Where To Buy: You can find the VTech Alphabet Apple on Amazon and in-store at Toys ‘R Us or Walmart.
The Best Part: It does more than just help your child learn letters since it also has games to make it more fun for them and a clock to learn with as well.
The Not So Great: Since it has a power button rather than a switch or tab, it can be easily hit on accident and therefore turn off the toy mid-play.
7. Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag
Introducing your child to the Mega Bloks 80-Piece Building Bag is a rite of passage. At first glance, they might seem like typical blocks for kids to play with, but there is really something to be learned in toddlers playing with them and using their imaginations.
The blocks promote fine motor skills in toddlers, which is also important in their development and learning process. The blocks might not teach letters or numbers, but the bright colors and size of the blocks can help your child learn to build, even including patterns to help teach them even further.
Child Age Range: The Mega Bloks are designed for children ages 1-5.
Where To Buy: You can find the blocks on Amazon and in-store at Walmart.
The Best Part: The blocks allow toddlers to show their creativity in a learning environment.
The Not So Great: Since the Mega Bloks are made of hard plastic, you (and your toddler) run the risk of accidentally stepping on them or falling on them and getting hurt.
Toddlers and toys can be a losing battle since more often than not, children grow tired of toys before they’ve even had them out of the box for very long.
But learning toys are designed to captivate them and keep them interested. Children are sponges at the toddler stage, willing to soak up all of the knowledge they can even if they don’t realize it.
Picking out the right learning toy for them could help them do just that, even if they eventually play with it less and less. Either way, it’s a gamble worth taking and one of these seven best learning toys for toddlers is going to do the trick for sure.