7 Educational Toys I Love

Windy City Nanny and child playing with educational toys

These are the perfect toys for having fun and playing smart!

Children learn so much from their surroundings, so giving them toys that go beyond just the fun  is such an important part of healthy child development. That’s why I always recommend educational toys to my mom friends—they’re designed to help a child learn about a specific subject or develop a new skill! Plus, they make learning fun, stimulate a child’s imagination and improve critical thinking skills—what’s not to love?!

The first step with educational toys is finding something that your child is drawn to (there won’t much learning if the toy just collects dust in the back of a closet!). When you’re searching for interactive toys, think about your kiddo’s interests and what you might want them to learn. Then, use playtime as an opportunity to bond with them and teach them to use the toy. Playtime is always more fun when you have a playmate!

And as fun and engaging as they are, technological toys are best used in moderation. The same goes for TV shows, apps and video games––the drawbacks of screentime are real and important to acknowledge, especially for babies under 18 months. The toys in this list are more tangible and therefore easier to do together without relying too much on digital entertainment. 

Ready to play and learn with your little one? Here are my recommendations for educational toys for toddlers:

1. A Pretend Furry Friend

 
VTech Care for Me Learning Carrier
 

This interactive pet carrier from VTech fits a super cute plush puppy and her accessories inside. The engaging activity panel on the side of the carrier helps little ones improve their fine motor skills while learning about colors, shapes and pet care. This is a perfect toy if you plan to introduce a furry friend to your family soon!

2. Bath Letters and Numbers

Bath Letters and Numbers

Turn bath time into playtime with these foam letters and numbers! Once they get wet, the foam sticks to the bathtub and tiles, helping kids learn their letters and numbers while they play. You can go over the alphabet and colors, and practice spelling and counting, all without leaving the tub. *Cue Splish Splash.*

3. See ‘n Say – Farmer Says by Fisher-Price Classics

See n Say Farmer Says

This classic children’s toy teaches children about 12 animals and the sounds they make. Kids will love copying the sounds they hear, so get ready to hear, “A cow goes moo!” a lot. Next time you see an animal, ask your child to recall what they learned. The spinning wheel is mesmerizing for little ones and the randomness of it helps kids learn rather than just memorize!

4. A Medical Kit

 
Medical Kit by Fisher-Price
 

Young doctors will love this medical kit! Kids can check their patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, ears and administer shots. If you have a little one who’s wary around needles, playing doctor will help them get more comfortable when they go in for their next check-up. It’s so sweet to see how compassionate and nurturing kids can be when they’re in a caregiver role. 💛 This kit from Fisher-Price is great.

5. Building Blocks

Standard Unit Blocks

Building blocks help your child practice their fine motor skills: picking up objects, stacking, balancing objects and more. Blocks help stimulate the imagination and give children a way to be creative. Parents or friends can easily join-in to help build the castle or create the tallest tower, making playtime a lesson on sharing toys.

6. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

I grew up watching Sesame Street and I am so honored to give back to the program that gave me so much as a member of their Leadership Council! I love their app, Breathe, Think, Do which parents and sitters can use to help teach problem-solving, self-control, planning and persistence. Children get to help a Sesame Street monster solve challenges and calm down while learning skills and vocabulary.

7. Legos 

LEGO DUPLO Train

Legos are a childhood classic. Like everything these days, there’s an app for it, too! Kids can watch as a colorful train goes from station to station. The whole way they’ll learn problem-solving skills, practice their shapes and colors and more. I’ve always lived by the motto “all things in moderation,” and I think it’s a really important philosophy for kids and screen time. This app is a great example of productive screen time!