Top 10 Toys for a Toddler's Cognitive Development

Dads and their toddlers love to spend time together, and it shows when they get together for some creative play. Sometimes we just like being together cuddling and reading stories, but at other times more active play seems to be in order. And many dads hope to do double duty when they are playing with the kids and help them learn and become more aware of their surroundings as they play.

These toys are recommended by dads of toddlers for being both fun to play with and for helping their kids...MORE develop cognitive skills that build thinking, language and motor abilities.

  • 01 of 10
    Fisher Price Baby Blocks
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    Block sorters are a great toy for babies and toddlers, and this one from Fisher Price is extra fun. The blocks are in different shapes and the toddler has to match the size and shape of the block to the hole in the box to push it inside. The blocks are very colorful and eye-catching for a toddler and dads and kids can spend a lot of time together working on this toy. Dad can help the child sort the blocks by color or shape or can make patterns with the blocks.
  • 02 of 10

    Edushape Corregated Blocks

    Corrugated blocks
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    This one takes a little bit of room to enjoy. These corrugated cardboard blocks are sturdy enough for small children to stand on and large enough to help them develop improved gross motor skills. These blocks come in three different sizes and they can be stacked upright or sideways and made into patterns or structures. You will enjoy hours of creative play as you build large houses, castles, forts or other structures with the kids. And they will learn how to design and build along the way.
  • 03 of 10
    Pegs and Playpad
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    Another colorful and engaging toy for toddlers, this pegs and playpad set is a lot of fun for dads and kids. The pegs fit into holes in the playpad and can just be pushed in manually - no little plastic hammer required! But the pegs also push into each other allowing you to make towers of colorful pegs. So they work for all toddler ages; the younger ones will like to push them into the playpad, and the older ones will like sorting by color and making towers. Our kids have had tons of fun with...MORE this toy. But you do need to be careful with the pegs; they are small enough that they could pose a choking hazard.
  • 04 of 10
    String and Beep Lacing Blocks
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    Child development experts suggest that lacing beads are a great way for toddlers to develop fine motor skills. These wooden beads from Alex Toys have all kinds of vehicles - buses, fire trucks, taxi cabs, ambulances, delivery trucks and more - along with a cotton lace and wooden needle. So, dad can make up a grerat story about all of these vehicles as the toddler strings them together. Lacing beads have always been popular toys, and these wooden toys as beads add a whole new dimension to the old...MORE favorite.

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  • 05 of 10
    Megabloks Classic 80 count
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    Our kids grew up loving Megablox, Duplos and Legos - those fun interlocking blocks suited to each child's particular age group. Megabloks are just right for the toddler in your family. They are large enough to work with toddler sized hands and are also no choking hazard. They come in classic red, blue, yellow and green colors so dads and kids have a lot of flexibility in what they build and how the project will look when it is done. And the interlocking pegs and holes on each block allow the...MORE finished product to be sturdy. Lots of creative adventures await when you bring a big bag of Megabloks into your home!
  • 06 of 10
    Play Doh Mega Compound
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    Did you enjoy Play-Doh as a kid? Our children had a total blast every time we got our some Play-Doh and began to sculpt and create. Well, Play-Doh is still around today and this mega compund kit has 36 small cans of Play-Doh in different colors. Creating with this fun modeling clay helps children imagine and then scuplt what they have created in their minds. And their fine motor skills get some help along the way. And with lots of different colors, you can imagine and create to their hearts'...MORE content.

  • 07 of 10
    Fisher Price Little People About Discovery Noah's Ark
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    Anything from the Little People line of Fisher Price toys can be lots of fun for creative play, but this Noah's Ark is especially fun because of all the animals involved. Children can play creatively with Dad telling the story, or having Noah be a zookeeper. The animals and the ark are colorful and playful, and the set is very durable and easy to clean. This is just a great toy for developing creative thinking and good motor skills.

  • 08 of 10

    Fisher Price Cruise and Groove Ballapalooza

    Fisher Price Cruise & Groove Ballapalooza
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    You and your little one will absolutely love this gadget. It comes with several small colorful balls which can be sent down a curving ramp to the bottom. In addition, there is a little gate on one side of the tower that your toddler can crawl through. They can also chase after the balls after they come down the chute and onto the floor. It is bright and stimulating for the child and lots of fun for dad as well! And they get lots of cognitive experience with all aspects of this toy. This one is a...MORE real winner!
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  • 09 of 10
    Magformers Carnival Set
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    We ran into Magformers at a toy store at Christmas time and were mesmerized. Magformers are plastic shapes like triangle, squares, rectangles and hexagons with magnets in the edges. The magnetic sides join together and allow you to build all kinds of creative shapes and toys. This set is around a carnival theme so you can build rides, booths and more. I would suggest that you purchase two sets as it gives you a lot more flexibility in what you can build. I could not believe how much fun we had...MORE playing with these, even if for just a few minutes at the store.
  • 10 of 10
    Toy Story 3 Classic Mr. Potato Head
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    Another classic toddler-aged toy is Mr. Potato Head. By mixing and matching eyes, noses, mouths, ears and hair, your toddler can have endless fun with this Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story 3. And it is a toy that dads will have fun with as well, making creatie stories as you build each successive new face on Mr. Potato Head.