ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Educational Toys for Toddlers

Updated on August 4, 2014

Here are a few educational toys that our family enjoys

Being an educator, it's important to me to find appropriate developmental and educational toys for my toddler. Here are some of my recommendations for phonics/language arts, geography and science toys.

Refrigerator Phonics: Magnetic Alphabet Set

I love these refrigerator learning systems. My daughter perfected her ABCs and their sounds with the single letter set below. When you put a letter into the holder, out comes the name of the letter and all the sounds it makes in a sing-song voice.

When she turned five, I got the Word Whammer as an add-on, which she adores. She creates words and the Word Whammer repeats them back. It's fun for her and she's learning at the same time.

LeapPad with Microphone

Our toddler (she's almost four) loves her LeapPad, which teaches phonics as well as word and letter recognition. She is beginning to recognize many words by sight now and knows how sentences are constructed on a page.

The LeapPad give instruction in some of the key reading skills that kindergarten teachers assess. Do they know how to turn pages in the correct direction, do they know where a sentence starts and ends, do they understand that we read from left to right? This particular Leap Pad has a microphone so your child can record his or herself reading and play it back.

Pretend Play

Toddlers love to make believe. Puppets are a great way to build vocabulary and storytelling skills and to encourage creativity and imagination. You can make your own puppets and theater or purchase this one from Amazon. We bought a bunch of inexpensive, high quality puppets from Costco, which my toddler can play with for hours on end.

Learning Geography Through Interactive Globes

Learning the different continents, what the world looks like, and how it spins on its axis can be difficult concepts for a young child to grasp. Globes help children make sense of this information. The Fly and Learn Globe made by Vtech is great for toddlers. It is interactive in teaching geography, people, places, the wonders of the world, languages and music. The joystick allows the child to control the direction of the plane, north, south, east or west, around the globe.

For older kids, The Explorer Globe by LeapFrog is a great choice. It has three skill levels, thousands of facts, national anthems and information on currencies. Children learn about states, countries and continents. There is an interactive pen and a world clock too.

Educational Science Toys

These are some of the science toys that my kids and I like. Children love to experiment with water and the Water Play Table is a great learning tool for learning how water moves through different containers and about the density of objects (does it float or sink?).

Another great science toy is a hydroponic greenhouse, which grows plants and herbs in a non-soil environment. Kids love to watch what they plant grow and then possibly eat the result!

One last idea is an ant habitat. The Space Age Ant Habitat made by Fascinations requires no food or sand. Instead, a non-toxic gel, based on a 2003 space shuttle experiment, provides the proper nutrition and work environment for tunneling. A magnifying glass and zoom lens helps children view ant activity close-up!

Which of These Toys Would Your Child Like Best?

See results

Do you have any other educational toys you or your child loves? Please share.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Ashley Joy profile image

      Ashley Joy 

      11 years ago

      I love the Leap Pad toys! My son gets that electronic type game that he thinks is cool and I get a toy I like him to play with.

    • Robin profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Edmondson 

      13 years ago from San Francisco

      Sissy and Lynn T., Thanks for the info on Thomas the Tank Engine Building Sets.  We have a generic train set from Costco, and our kids love it.  It's wonderful and we have added Brio train accessories to it.  It's a lot cheaper and still encourages a lot of imagination.  As an added bonus, it has bins underneath for storage.  Thanks for the information!  ;)

    • profile image

      Lynn T. 

      13 years ago

      Thomas the Tank Engine building play sets, or any building play sets for that matter, really help children to develop and grow. Developmental skills such as spatial, cognitive and motor skills, hand and eye coordination, problem-solving, imagination, interpersonal and even intrapersonal skills are just a few benefits that children experience when building. Their skills will increase dramatically as their play continues. You'll be able to watch as your child starts by building basic creations and as they grow, their basic creations become masterpieces! It's amazing. I've witnessed my son do just that. I can't believe the wonderful, extravagant creations he comes up with. To me, creativity and imagination toys are the best. All of those other skills they develop are the bonuses!

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      My son discovered Thomas the Tank Engine building play sets three years ago and is still going strong. At first he just played with the trains. by the age of 2, his building capabilitites were just connecting some track. Now he builds elaborate track configurations with bridges and the works. He now plays imaginary by making up stories with the trains he's playing with. I read an interesting article recently about the skills that children learn by playing with Thomas the Tank Engine playsets. Here it is:

      Maybe someone will find it beneficial.

      Merry Christmas! Sissy

    • Robin profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Edmondson 

      14 years ago from San Francisco

      I agree Pharley. There are some really amazing educational toys out there now. I think we also have to be aware of some that are labeled educational. I know the Baby Einstein DVDs are popular, but I don't think we should fool ourselves into believing that they are making our children smarter. They are still watching TV, maybe better than other sources, but not better than parent/child interaction. It's understandable that parents need a break, I'm a stay-at-home mom and realize this completely. I just think we should be truthful with ourselves.

      My 3 1/2 year old daughter loves imagination games right now. She also can play for hours with paper, scissors and pens. The basics are the best because they leave room for the imagination rather than having everything already created. Thanks for the comment!

    • pharley profile image


      14 years ago

      Good choices! When my wife and I were new parents, we received a few battery-operated, blinking-light, beeping toys from well-meaning friends. We realized that these toys are little better than TV for brain development (that is, nearly none at all).

      No science here, nor even much by way of anecdote, but since we've gone back to "basics" and other simpler toys (colored blocks, simple musical instruments, refrigerator magnets, hand puppets, etc.) all of our kids as toddlers played a lot longer with these than the blinky-light toys. And mom and dad kept their sanity.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)