Best Educational Toys for Toddlers
Early Childhood Development
You might be interested in the best educational toys for toddlers in an effort to promote early childhood development. Generally speaking, the term “toddler” is used for children between the ages of one and five years. These years are filled with new discoveries and skill acquisitions. The skills included in toddler learning are cognitive skills and physical skills, and they form the foundation for future learning. As such, it’s important for the foundation to be secure. Toddlers often learn best through play. In my opinion, as a retired teacher, the most effective way to enhance early childhood development is through the use of the best educational toys for toddlers.
Early Childhood Education
What should kids learn in early childhood education? One of the most important parts of toddler learning is language skills. They learn to recognize and use words, and their vocabulary expands quickly in leaps and bounds. They also develop fine motor skills and learn about cause and effect. Sequencing basics begin at this stage, too, as does recognizing shapes and colors.
Another important skill in early childhood education is problem solving. Of course, this begins as a very simple task, but as the child gets older, he should be able to solve more difficult problems. For example, a one-year-old toddler might be able to find a hidden toy, whereas an older toddler learns to figure out strategies for toys and games. This is why the best toys for toddlers are educational toys.
Learning Toys for Toddlers
Learning toys for toddlers can be almost anything, but some are better than others. Some help develop a single skill, while others address several skills. If your toddler needs help in a certain area, you might choose toys that help promote that unique skill. For example, if your child needs help with fine motor skills, stacking blocks, shape sorters, and stringing beads will help.
For younger toddlers, learning about cause and effect is an early skill, and many learning toys for toddlers address this very issue. When a child presses a button on a toy and gets some sort of effect – a sound, a light, an open door – he learns that he caused it to happen through his actions. That’s why you see so many toys for toddlers with bells, music, lights, buzzes, and whistles. These give the child a small reward for his actions.
Educational Toys for Toddlers
As I’ve already mentioned, most anything can serve as educational toys for toddlers. This is especially true when parents are actively engaged in the teaching process. For example, take something as simple as a red ball. What can a plain ol’ ball do for toddler learning? With some parental help and a lot of practice, a toddler can learn to throw and to eventually catch. He can also learn the words “ball” and “round.” He can also learn to identify the color red. If you add another ball to the first – say a larger blue ball – he can learn about sizes and relationships, along with the concept of “two.”
Some educational toys for toddlers might incorporate several skills. For example, a toy with buttons to press, strings to lace, colors to match, and shaped to sort would enhance fine motor skills, color recognition, shape recognition, and spatial recognition. Toys that require several steps in order to receive a desired outcome would involve problem solving and sequencing.
Best Educational Toys for Toddlers
I’m always searching for the best educational toys for toddlers. I have eight grandchildren, and number nine will be born today! We’re awaiting her arrival as I type. As you can well imagine, we’ve been through a lot of toddler toys. I’ve recalled some of the toddler toys we really liked, and I’ve also reviewed some other toys. And, by the way, my grandchildren are very bright, and the ones already in school have received numerous academic awards. Below are some of the best educational toys for toddlers.
Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker
Shape stackers are great educational toddler toys, and this one is even better than the standard models. It's made of wood, in bright colors and shapes. Shapes include round rings, octagons, and squares. It helps teach early math concepts, including shapes, sizes, and spatial recognition. It also helps with fine motor skills. This toy is recommended for ages two years and up.
LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table
This is one of the best educational toddler toys I've come across. It's beneficial for babies and toddlers, teaching math skills, language skills, and early reading skills. It uses lots of "bells and whistles" to keep children engaged. It helps toddlers learn new words, to count from one to ten, the alphabet, shapes, cause and effect, and colors. Toddlers love all the cute songs and nursery rhymes! Recommended for ages six months through three years.
Smart Gear Tumbling Tower
This is a smart toy/game that teaches problem solving, critical thinking, and cause and effect. It also uses team skills and spatial relationships. Toddlers and kids have to think ahead and make decisions, too. The game/activity is fun for one or several players. The recommended ages are three years and up. I think, however, that kids over four would benefit more from the Tumbling Tower.
LeapFrog Scribble and Write
Educational toddler toys that introduce kids to writing are wonderful tools, and this is one of the best. The lights that appear on the screen form the outlines of letters, shapes, and pictures. Toddlers trace over the lighted image with the kid-size pen. Parents can use LeapFrog online to get toddler learning ideas tailored to their child's needs and learning level.
These educational toys for toddlers teach letter and shape recognition, writing skills, and fine motor skills. Parents can also use the toy as a way to teach letter sounds. Recommended for ages three and over.
Blocks - Block Sets
Blocks and block sets are tried-and-true educational toddler toys. Square blocks are fine, but I think a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors is even better. Learning to stack and balance blocks is an important skill. Other skills that can be enhanced or taught include color and shape recognition, spatial relationships, and size. The blocks can also be sorted and grouped by color and shape. Playing with blocks is also a great way to spur creativity. Recommended for ages three and up.
Interactive books are a great way to address early childhood education. I'm always surprised by how much my grandchildren pick up from these books. The one I selected below has pages that are easy for little hands to turn, cute nursery rhymes, lights, and singing. These books introduce new words and objects and promote number and color recognition. With a little parental input, they can also help with sequencing and cause and effect. Recommended for ages six months through four years.
Animal Sounds Farm
Two of my grandsons had this toy, and they loved it! The attached barn, stable, and silo come with a farmer, a horse, a pig, a cow, a sheep, and a chicken. The animals make their appropriate sounds. This is part of the Little People series, by the way. It comes with a DVD with three stories.
This farm set is great for teaching animal and animal sound recognition, role playing, eye-hand coordination, cause and effect, and fine motor skills. It also encourages role playing and imagination. Parents will like the fact that all the pieces can be stored inside the silo. Recommended for ages one through five.
Baby Einstein Piano
My oldest daughter swears by Baby Einstein! In fact, she thinks they're the best educational toys for toddlers on the globe. I think she has just about every product they offer, and her kids are little geniuses. This piano is a fun way to introduce toddlers to French, Spanish, and English. It's also a wonderful vehicle for introducing numbers, colors, rhythm, music, and different musical instuments. Manipulating the keys helps with cause and effect and fine motor skills. Kids can even create their own songs! This toy is safe for ages under three.
I'm often disappointed by how little the younger generation knows about geography. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of educational toys for toddlers that adress the problem. This one does! It's recommended for ages three through five.
Kids get to "fly" around the globe with the use of a joystick controller. Little ones will have a blast while learning to identify and locate the continents and our planet's oceans. Kids can use the magnifying glass to zoom into fascinating places and people of different nations. They can also hear foreign languages and music from different countries.They'll even get to learn about exotic animals.
We've had a number of Vtech toys, and they've never disappointed. The grandkids have found them all fun and engaging, and this globe is a real winner. We've never had a problem with durability with any Vtech toys, either. As I've already stated, young kids learn best when they're having fun, and Vtech toys certainly fill the bill, so to speak. I wholeheartedly recommend their products. I definitely believe Vtech products are some of the best educational toys for toddlers available.