Toddlers are constantly learning and growing, which is why educational toys are so popular for this age group. Learning toys are the perfect way for parents to keep their little ones entertained while teaching them new skills like walking, counting, and writing. It’s definitely a win-win when playtime is educational, and that’s why learning toys for toddlers are a great gift.
If you’re on the hunt for an exciting learning toy for the child in your life, you’ll want to choose something that’s durable and engaging, yet still fun and educational. Here are some of the best products that make playtime a learning experience, from electronic tablets to walkers, blocks, tables, and more!
01 of 10
Best Building Blocks: Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag
A toddler’s imagination is the only limit when it comes to these colorful building blocks. The Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag is great for kids at all stages of development, as there are unlimited ways to stack, build, and play.
The Big Building Bag comes filled with 80 multi-colored blocks of various shapes and sizes that are easy to stack and take apart. The pronged Mega Bloks are the perfect size for little hands, and they’re fully compatible with any other Mega Bloks First Builders products.
While simple, Mega Bloks help toddlers develop a variety of skills, from basic motor skills to critical thinking. As children grow, they’ll be able to take on new challenges and build more intricate creations with their blocks, meaning this toy will keep kids entertained years to come.
02 of 10
Best Wooden: Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks With Wooden Storage Tray
There’s nothing more satisfying than the sound of a tower of wooden blocks tumbling over, which is why kids will love creating with Melissa & Doug Solid-Wood Building Blocks. They can build towers, buildings, and much more with these wood blocks, all while learning basic math concepts and having a whole lot of fun.
The kit comes with 60 natural wood pieces, all smoothed down to prevent splinters, and a wooden storage crate is included. There are more than just squares and rectangles, too! Children will be able to make (and knock down) complex buildings with the kit’s circular pillars, arches, half circles, and several types of triangles.
The Solid-Wood Building Blocks are perfect for kids ages 3 to 5, but we suspect older kids would like them, as well! Regardless of who is playing with them, the blocks are a fun way to teach young children organizational skills, sequential skills, and spatial relations while encouraging them to use their imagination.
03 of 10
Best Electronic: VTech Little Apps Tablet
Kids who love playing with technology will absolutely adore having a tablet all their own, which is why the VTech Little Apps Tablet makes such a great gift. This fun-filled device, designed for kids 2 to 5 years old, lets them feel independent as they explore its numerous features.
The Little Apps Tablet boasts a color-changing screen, alphabet buttons, and a piano keyboard, all of which teach different skills. There are 12 learning activities about letters, counting, matching, math, music, and more, all of which will keep toddlers entertained with cute animations and sound effects.
The Little Apps Tablet was designed with parents in mind, too. It comes with “parent-friendly” features like volume control and automatic shut-off, so it’s a great gift for the whole family.
04 of 10
Best Interactive: VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe
If you’re searching for an activity desk that’s jam-packed with educational content, look no further. The VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe has an impressive array of content for toddlers 2 and up, and it all comes at a reasonable price.
This cute, colorful product includes a child-sized stool where little ones will sit for hours. The interactive activity desk has five learning pages to teach numbers, counting, letters, fruits, and colors. Toddlers can touch different spots on each page to learn about the pictures, and if you want more skills, additional expansion packs are available.
But that’s not all! Lift the top of the desk to reveal a chalkboard where kids can draw, or press buttons on the built-in music player to hear more than 20 melodies. With so many engaging options, this learning desk will be a household staple for years to come.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Best for Walking: Fisher-Price Learn With Me Zebra Walker
Toddlers start walking before you know it, and this learning walker will get them on their way faster. The Fisher-Price Learn With Me Zebra Walker helps young children find their feet, but it also doubles as an interactive learning station, making it an amazing gift for toddlers 6 months to 3 years old.
In addition to having an adorable zebra face, the walker includes a variety of buttons that play lessons about numbers and letters, all while improving fine motor skills. When kids are sitting in front of the Learn with Me Zebra Walker, they can flip switches, twist dials, and even play peek-a-boo. Then when they’re ready to move, tots can hoist themselves up on the sturdy design, and the walker will cheer them on with music and phrases.
06 of 10
Best for Learning to Write: LeapFrog Scribble and Write
Today’s toys make it easier than ever for kids to master writing. The LeapFrog Scribble and Write guides children through their letters and numbers, giving them feedback as they write on the screen.
Scribble and Write includes an attached stylus designed for little hands, and the screen lights up to help kids trace both uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers. Kids will start out on Level 1, where scribbling is encouraged as they get used to holding the pencil, and then they’ll slowly progress to Level 2, where the goal is letter accuracy.
Overall, it’s a simple and fun way for toddlers to practice their handwriting while boosting hand-eye coordination, and users swear their children learned to write significantly faster (and with less tantrums) thanks to this fun toy, all of which makes it a must-have in our book!
07 of 10
Best for Shapes and Colors: Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks
You probably played with baby blocks when you were a toddler, and this classic toy is every bit as fun and helpful to young kids today. The Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks are a great first toy for children 6 months and older, as blocks hone fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Baby’s First Blocks are about as straightforward as toys come. There are 10 colorful blocks in five different shapes, and the box has a sorting lid where little ones can drop the pieces through, improving their problem-solving skills. The blocks can be stacked on their own to create teetering towers, and the container's easy-carry handle lets toddlers bring the toy wherever they go. Overall, Baby’s First Blocks are simple, enjoyable, and a childhood staple!
08 of 10
Best for Preschoolers: Teach My Toddler Learning Kit
If you’re gift hunting for a toddler who’s entering preschool soon, the Teach My Toddler Learning Kit will give them a leg up. This comprehensive kit comes with a variety of learning aids to help parents teach their children about numbers, letters, shapes, and colors.
What’s in it? The Teach My Toddler Kit includes flashcards, puzzles, posters, and board books to keep things fun and interesting for young children. In addition to picking up core preschool skills, kids will improve their spatial reasoning and hand-eye coordination while playing with the kit. It’s also a great way to get kids away from the TV and incorporate some screen-free time into their routine!Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Best Musical: VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube
With all its buttons, blocks, and songs, it’s only appropriate for this toy to be called the Busy Learners Cube—it will certainly keep kids busy! The VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube has five sides for toddlers to play with, and it teaches everything from shapes and numbers to animal names and sounds.
The Activity Cube includes 14 interactive features that are perfect for curious toddlers. Kids can press light-up buttons to hear animal sounds, slide musical parts to learn sounds and colors, and much more. Each of the cube’s sides had kid-friendly features to twist, spin, and press, helping tots to develop fine motor skills as they have a blast. As an added bonus, the Busy Learners Activity Cube plays happy music when it’s in motion.
10 of 10
Best for 6 Months and Up: Fisher-Price Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space
This activity center gets toddlers on their feet with help from interactive music, lights, and colors. The Fisher-Price Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space is a U-shaped activity area for kids 6 months and up, and it teaches little ones skills like numbers and letters while they play.
The Smart Touch Play Space is ideal for toddlers who are learning to stand and walk, as it provides a sturdy, interactive light-up bar for them to hold onto. The Play Space comes with three different modes: piano, dance party, and learning. Each mode includes fun light features, songs, and games, helping babies to improve their motor skills while they have the time of their life.
What’s even better is this toy grows with kids—starting with sitting games and graduating to skills like counting and color identification—making it an unbeatable gift for any toddler.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought one of our readers’ favorite toddler learning toys that our reviewers tested for six hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this toy, from skill development to durability. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in Toddler Learning Toys
Skill development With so much to learn, where does a toddler begin? Some learning toys tackle one area only — like fine motor skills or shape recognition. Other toys will develop a broader skill set as tiny tots learn to use problem-solving skills or improve memory recall. Choose learning toys that will help your child to be well-rounded and develop a variety of necessary life skills.
Stability and durability As any parent will tell you, toddlers have a tendency to throw or drop things. So it makes sense to look for toys that will be able to withstand the habits of your little one as they develop coordination and organization. Many learning toys are made of thick, durable plastics or solid wood to withstand the bumps and bruises that are surely headed their way.
Technology Are you looking for a tech-free toy or a toddler-safe tablet that will get your child learning to push buttons and play interactive games? Some toddler learning toys take a traditional approach, with classic objects like blocks and music used as a springboard for learning. On the other hand, if you want your child to enjoy technology with an educational twist, there are plenty of toddler-age options available that will entertain your little one with screen time that is fun and productive.
Test Results: Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag
What We Like
Appropriate for kids as young as 12 months
What We Don't Like
Difficult to clean
Less challenging as kids gets older
Calling them “uniquely large blocks,” one of our testers also liked that this toy was appropriate for children as young as 12 months. “Most competitors only go as low as 18 months,” she noted. Our reviewers also liked that the set comes with a convenient storage bag. On the other hand, our testers thought the blocks were difficult to clean compared to competitors. One of our reviewers also noted “the entertainment value is limited” as your child grows because the blocks’ size makes them less challenging.