What Are The Best Educational Toys?
Evaluating the best educational toys for children can be a challenge. As a Parent Coach, I have developed my own criteria for evaluating an educational learning toy, which you can read below. Further down the page, you can read and contribute to our parent reviews of what they consider are the best toys. After all, you have the ideal testing ground at home!
In the right hand column, you'll find links to other Toy Review categories. More are being added all the time, so pop on back or join our newsletter
to be informed about new reviews.
Jump down the page to tell us what you think are the
best educational toys for children and read, comment and rate educational toy and game reviews from other parents.
Really any toy could be classed as an educational toy or game, as children learn through play, and anything is a learning opportunity when you are small.
The way we are marketed to by toy companies probably has a lot to do with how toys are classified but Parents want to know what is best for their child's development
at each age.
My criteria for evaluating the best educational toys is below, but of course it may be different for each family.
Cost is often a big factor for families, and the best educational toys are
often more expensive because they are made from sturdier materials, and some may even be hand made. I have not factored in a cost structure to my
criteria, as my thinking is it is better to buy one really good educational learning toy, than half a dozen junk toys. I do keep my eyes out for ways you
can purchase an educational toy and game at a discount, or on Auctions, either new or second hand, so that parents get the best deal. You will find some of
the review pages will have prices for you to compare. And of course, keep your eyes on freecycle groups in your area, my daughter in law in London regularly gets some fabulous free toys for the playgroup she runs.
Annie's Criteria For Evaluating The Best Educational Toys
A great educational learning toy may not meet all the criteria, but these are the kinds of questions I ask myself when reviewing toys.
- Is it FUN? No point in having something kids find boring!
- Does it have visual appeal? Particularly for younger kids educational toys
- Does it encourage a physical developmental milestone for a certain aged child? for example, hand eye co-ordination, balance etc
- Is it non toxic? Particularly for babies toys
- Does it have an environmental/eco aspect to it? This always earns brownie points with me!
- Is it robust, will it stand up to normal play?
- Does this educational toy or game stimulate a child's imagination and curiosity?
- Does it do something or is it a passive toy? For example, a teddy versus a puzzle
- Will this toy foster social interaction or development?
- Does this educational toy explore emotional development?
- Does this toy help a child to explore intellectual concepts? Math, science, language etc
- Can this toy extend and challenge the child's skills?
- Is this an educational toy that will grow with the child? For example simple large block Duplo Lego teaches hand eye co-ordination and physical manipulation for a preschooler, and Lego for older children can move into far more complex engineering, math and structural skills.
- Can this toy educate children about social values or issues?
Educational Learning Toys:
Children need access to a wide range of educational learning toys, to stimulate different developmental areas. There has often been criticism about
the gender bias of toys, where boys are encouraged to play with outdoor toys that facilitate physical development and girls encouraged to play with toys
that foster social development. So just be aware that you are providing a balance of toys that span all areas of play.
For All Areas of Play
Did you know, teenage girls can be less competent with some math activities if they had very little physical climbing and big spacial activities as a preschooler?
They need the physical experiences for their brain to develop the neural pathways for more complex math ability.
Toys and Types Of Play To Meet Developmental Goals:
- Manipulative Toys - puzzles, posting toys, activity centres
- Construction Toys - blocks, Lego, Zoob, K'nex, then more complex engineering toys for older kids
- Music - songs, nursery rhymes, musical instruments, a wide range of music genres, concerts, dance
- Imaginative or role play - dress ups, role play with toys, occupation role play - fireman, doctor, vet etc. Put on plays, Go to the theatre, Movies
- Outdoors - sand pits, water play, bikes, scooters and skateboards, climbing frames, ropes, ball skills, organized sports
- Household toys, pretend (or real) baking, shopping, cleaning, tools to fix things. Kids start out pretending as a preschooler, then move into real cooking (and hopefully cleaning!)
- Toys that represent real things, like people, cars, trains, teasets, animals
- Books Books and more books! - see our list of children's book reviews
- Creative artistic expression: paint, finger paint, glue and collage activities, crayons, felt pens
- Play Dough or clay activities
- Science - experiments
- Nature - insects, animals, outdoors, learning about how things grow, where food comes from
- Geography - The Earth - crystals and rock samples, volcanoes, weather, tides, global warming
Pop up a review of which you think are the best educational toys - what toys did your kids love? We'd also love your feedback - do you agree with our reviewers? Or just as importantly, disagree? We want to know what you think!
Help us to give Parents some feedback for making good choices when choosing the best educational toys or games for their kids.
Educational Toy and Game Reviews From Parents
Share your best educational toys or Games with other parents. Which toys do you think have been the best for your children? Any tips for buying educational learning toys? Read, comment and rate other toy reviews.
Your Best Educational Toys - Reviews and Comments
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Educational Toys For Preschoolers
Great Educational Toys For Preschoolers
Wondering what are the best educational toys for preschoolers? Read our parent reviews - and a few of mine …
Educational Infant Toys
What Are The Best Educational Toys For Babies?
Firstly YOU ARE! When babies are young, the best thing is lots of contact with Mom or Dad.
Wooden Educational Toys
Back To Nature: Wooden Educational Toys
I really like the standard Melissa & Doug Building Blocks . We got one of the big sets of 60 pieces and the …
Computer Games For Kids
Parent Reviews: Computer Games For Kids And Electronic Learning Toys
Our Parents review computer games for kids, electronic learning toys, and other …
Educational Science Toy
Read our educational science toy reviews below, and add yours or give us your opinion. Our parents have reviewed Science Toys, A Telescope for Kids, A …
Parents Playing With Kids
Parents And Quality Attention Is Best
Most ANY game or toy can be educational....as long as YOU play it WITH your child.
It's not about electronic …
Board Games For Kids
Parents Review Board Games For Kids
We'd love your opinion too, what do you think is a great educational toy and game? We have some board games for …
Parent Reviews of Kids Puzzles
Puzzles are an excellent educational toy, teaching children spacial perception, problem solving and manual dexterity. …
Click here to write your own.
Visit our child development pages to learn more about how your child is learning and what you can expect for each stage of development.
Back From Best Educational Toys - To Inspired Parenting Advice and Tips Home Page
We'll be adding new review pages all the time, but most importantly, your opinions would be fantastic!
Sharing your ideas about great educational learning toys for Kids is the best way to evaluate toys and games.
There are heaps of review pages, below are some of the links to help direct you to what you are most interested in.
Tips For Choosing Good Toys
Best Educational Toys Main Page
This page has my tips for choosing good educational toys, plus links to lots of reviews from parents.
You can also submit your own review from this page.
Educational Toys For Babies
Educational Infant Toys
Reviews and ideas for toys for our precious babies.
Toddler Educational Toys
Educational Toys For Preschoolers
You will find some reviews of great toddler or preschool toys, and also links to more reviews of toys suitable for younger children.
Below you will find all the links to reviews about various Leapfrog learning toys, deciding which toy is not easy!
leapFrog Games - Good Or Bad?
Plus from this page you can ask questions, or put up your own review of Leapfrog toys.
Learning Toys For School Kids
Educational Science Toys
Here's some great ideas to get your child involved in science toys. Don't forget to add your comments or post a review!
Computer Games For Kids
Technology is a part of kids lives now - but how can you use it as an educational tool, not just a passive activity?
Reviews of some of the more popular Leapfrog learning systems for school children:
LeapPad and Tag Reading Systems
LeapFrog Leapster and Leapster 2
Learning Games For Teenagers
We need your help!
I really need more reviews of great educational toys for teens! Please post your reviews from the main toy page up top.
Below are links to Leapfrog systems that teens love.
LeapFrog I-Quest and Fly Pentop Systems
It is well worth watching Hearthsong's Deal of the week. You can get some great bargains, and then hide them away until Christmas!
I just love their play tents - they are the ultimate in fantasy play. And you have got to check out their huge buddy bumper bubble balls in their outdoor play section. I want one!!
Dr Rosina McAlpine's Inspired Children - Life Skills for Kids
is a membership program that offers huge resources to parents with activities to cover
all areas of child development.
Each activity is designed to help your child develop key life skills like good self esteem,
managing emotions and behaviour, health, nutrition, dealing with bullying and so much more.
Having read Dr Rosina's book and had many conversations with her, I can vouch for the thorough research that has gone into this program. It takes the guess work out of trying to cover all bases when raising children. Highly recommended!
7 Step Problem Solving Process
Teach your kids to be solution orientated,
not a victim to their situation.
When they learn the skills and strategies of problem solving and creative thinking, they open up all sorts of other possibilities, along with gaining skills for life