Ten Educational Toys that will Excite your Toddler - The Koch Family
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Ten Educational Toys that will Excite your Toddler


All parents want their children to have fun toys and if they’re educational that’s even better. As a Certified Parent Coach I’ve had many parents ask me what educational toys I would recommend. I figured it would be easiest to create my Top Ten List of Favorite Educational Toys for Toddlers. I hope this helps parents find some fun toys for their child’s play space.

1. First on my list has got to be alphabet blocks. There’s a reason why they’ve been around for generations! The Vintage ABC Blocks in a Tray by Melissa and Doug are an excellent example of a good set. Made of wood, they contain upper and lower case letters, and pictures of items whose names begin with the letter on the block. Bright and bold, they stimulate the visual and tactile senses. Use them to begin to teach phonics, build imaginary buildings or towns, or just line them up for fun.

2. Next up is a tactile puzzle game where the child has to use touching to find a match to something they can see. For instance, the 3D Feel and Find from ChildCraft is an excellent product for this type of educational play. Handily hidden in a cotton storage sack, the kids are given wooden tiles and asked to search for the shape inside the bag. What a great way to improve hand-eye coordination! It’s fun for individual play, but perfect for larger groups as well.

3. And what play environment would be complete without money? The Play Money Set from Melissa and Doug is my favorite because it comes with realistic money (not that you’d be able to pass it off by accident at the grocery store!) in denominations from $1 to $100. And there are coins as well, all with a wooden storage case complete with a lid for easy clean-up. It’s never too early to learn the basics of economics, including dollars and sense!

4. A great educational toy is the See and Spell. Melissa and Doug make a great version, with double-sided boards with brightly colored paintings matched with wooden letters to spell out three and four letter words. What a super way to teach colors, shapes, early reading and spelling while building size differentiation and finer motor skills.

5. Along similar lines is the Shape Sorting Cube Toy, also by Melissa and Doug. This is an exceptionally well-made version of the classic, with different shapes of blocks going into a wooden box through the corresponding hole. This keeps kids so entertained for hours they have no idea it’s an educational toy.

6. When the child is a little more coordinated, a manipulative toy is an important addition to the learning environment, honing fine motor skills and teaching cause and effect. A great example of this sort of toy is the ChildCraft Twist and Sort. Made of brightly painted wooden pieces, the shapes must be turned and slots must be lined up to get the piece down the peg.

7. Another popular item for a kid’s educational toy is a magnetic letter tracer. The Anatex Magnetic Trace a Letter is made up of 26 cards, each with a letter of the alphabet cut out and a word and picture starting with the letter. Children take the attached wand and trace the letter. This gives toddlers the ability to begin to fine-tune the shape formation they will need in school.

8. Anatex makes another excellent educational toy, the Shape N Color Coaster. Made with five shapes and five colors, the pieces can be used in a variety of ways. You’ll love playing games with a toddler with this. There are pattern sheets included, or you can set up a memory game or something like “Mother, May I?” The fun options are endless with this delightful toy.

9. Of course, for learning arithmetic there’s nothing like a counter. The Anatex Ten Counter is a lovely example of this, with arches holding from one to ten beads. The correct number is written next to it, as well as that many pictures. This is a universal teaching tool found in homes and schools because it makes math more fun and understandable to little ones.

10. And last, but not least, is the Number Puzzle Blocks, also by Anatex. In this, a toddler gets to check the answer on his or her own. With 20 pieces, there is a numeral on one side and the same number of objects on the other. When the two matching ones are found, they interlock! Picture the smiles as they begin to catch on and make the connection in their mind for themselves! This happens to be a very well-made and attractive set.

Well, there you have it: The ten toys I would take with me if I knew I would be locked in a room with toddlers for a day! The essential elements of a good kids’ educational toy is found in each of these. First and foremost they are safe. Secondly, they are all bright and attractive. Third, they are well made. But most importantly, they are fun for the little ones so they get used again and again.

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