The Best Gift Guide on Educational Toys for Kids

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As a mom who is dedicated to continuously challenging the abilities of my two young boys, I have explored many educational toys for kids over the past several years. There are some truly great toys, games, books and other resources available to help your preschooler, kindergartner and even older children grow.

ideas on best kid gifts for educational learning toy

As most parents will tell you, my children have very different personalities. My oldest learns in the same way I do while my youngest has very different learning needs. Figuring out how to help my youngest grow is extremely challenging for me. I stay alert though and keep finding new learning techniques and educational toys that help him thrive.

Their different personalities have exposed me to a wide variety of helpful educational toys for kids including games and books. I have seen firsthand the benefits of these learning resources.

Here is a great gift guide for the parent, grandparent or close friends looking to provide the best educational toys for kids. There are ideas for preschoolers, kindergartners and older children.

Alternatively, if you are looking for some free activities to do indoors with the kiddos, these 25 different ideas are sure to keep young minds busy.

Best Multi-Functional Educational Toy

#1 – Melissa and Doug Shape Sorting Clock

Highlights:

  • Age Range:  3 – 6 years
  • Movable hour and minute hands
  • Teaches shapes, numbers, colors and how to tell time

This puzzle serves multiple purposes.  You can use it to teach kids shapes, numbers, colors and how to tell time. There are not many toys out there that can do all that. 

One of the coolest features this puzzle has to offer is how several of the shapes correspond to their number.  For example:  the number 3 is a triangle, the number 6 is a hexagon and number 8 is an octagon.  This makes it easy to reinforce what makes one shape different from another shape.

Educational Toys to Develop Reading Skills for Kids

#2 – Melissa and Doug ABC puzzle

Highlights:

  • Age range:  3 – 6 years

You definitely want to get a puzzle with lower case letters as that’s how most of the English language is written and what children are mostly exposed to. This puzzle has upper and lower case letters so that’s a nice bonus.

There are pictures behind the letters of objects that start with that letter. This comes in handy when you’re trying to teach kids the sounds of the alphabet. This is a great learning resource for teaching kids their ABCs.

The one drawback to this puzzle is the letters can be hard to remove.

#3 – Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Highlights:

  • Age Range:  3+ years
  • Stands the test of time as it was originally published in 1986 and is still a success

This book is amazing! I started teaching my oldest to read using it when he was just 3. It breaks down learning how to read in 100 easy, 20 minute lessons. The earlier lessons are a bit shorter and the later lessons are a bit longer but on average 20 minutes each.

My son is a very advanced reader and I credit this book, along with his attention span. It’s next to impossible to get my youngest, who’s now 3 to focus on the lessons. I hope someday when he’s ready this book will be as invaluable to him as it was to his brother.

#4 – Wooden Reading Blocks

Highlights:

  • Age Range:  3+ years
  • STEM toy

These reading blocks are great for those fidgety kids with short attention spans. Kids can hold these blocks in their hands and turn them round and round. A clever parent can sneak in some reading skills when a kid’s hand gets tired.

Some of these words seem made up to me but they come with a set of definitions for each word. The main idea is to start getting kids used to making the same sound for a letter repeatedly until they’ve mastered it.

#5 – Bob Books

Highlights:

  • Age Range:  4 – 8 years

This is a series of really easy to read books to kick-start a kid’s reading journey. Each book slowly advances to the next level.  Thus, allowing kids to build their confidence while improving their reading skills.

Once my oldest was half way through Teach Your Kid to Read in 100 Easy Lessons these were great to mix in to the nightly reading routine. Not only did it prove my son was really starting to read but it added flavor to an otherwise boring reading routine.

#6 – ThinkFun Zingo Bingo

Highlights:

  • Age Range: 4 – 10 years
  • *Multi Award Winner*
  • Teaches 24 words
  • Very durable

Educational games are a great way to reinforce what kids are learning. This bingo game is a fun way for the whole family to work together on strengthening kids’ reading skills.

Each tile has a picture and a matching word.  This helps to reinforce what the word says for those early learners.  

There is a tile dispenser case to store all the tiles.  If nobody has the matching tile on their board, someone must put the tile back in the tile dispenser.  Putting the tiles back into the tile dispenser is a nice little bonus for small hands whose fine motor skills are still developing.

Educational Toys to Develop Fine Motor Skills in Kids

#7 – Melissa and Doug Wooden Latches Board

Highlights:

  • Age range:  3 – 5 years
  • Fully self contained – no loose pieces

There are so many wonderful pieces for a kid to explore on this board.  A child’s grip is strengthened while they navigate through the various latches and uncover hidden pictures underneath each area. The hidden pictures are designed to introduce counting to young kids.

#8 – Preschool Lacing Beads for Kids

Highlights:

  • 30 string beads
  • 2 strings
  • Wooden storage case
  • Age range: 3+ years

This early childhood toy helps develop those fine motor skills.  This is because toddlers have to keep their hands nice and steady as they rope beads through the strings.  This toy is also great for identifying and sorting different colors.

#9 – Magna tiles

Highlights:

  • Age Range:  3+ years
  • Very durable

The possibilities are endless with magna tiles.  The tiles are magnetic and stick together.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  With a little imagination, kids can create just about anything.  The tiles require precision and patience when designing a tall structure.  My boys love to make parking garages for their cars and have even added elevators to buildings.

#10 – Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Board Game

Highlights:

  • Age Range:  3+ years
  • 2-4 players

Excellent game for preschool and kindergarten age kids.  The game teaches kids colors, eye-hand coordination and helps develop fine motor skills. 

Fun game for the whole family to play.  Using the squirrel tweezers can be tricking and fun for all ages.

#11 – Take Apart Racing Car Toy

Highlights:

  • 30 piece construction set
  • Toy car comes with lights and sounds
  • 5 car parts

Give those little hands something fun to build and take apart. This toy teaches real life skills while helping them fine tune their fine motor skills.

#12 – Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog

Highlights:

  • Ages 18+ months
  • Fine motor game

This toys covers a wide array of educational objectives. It teaches patterns, fine motor skills, sorting, counting and colors identification. Easily store the quills inside the hedgehog when playtime is over.

#13 – Learn-to-Play Piano

Highlights:

  • Ages 4+
  • 25 keys and 2 full octaves
  • Illustrated song book

Do you have a young Mozart on your hands? This little piano is a perfect place to get them started. It’s a well built and sturdy piano that is sure to hold up against not so gentle hands.

Great Educational Toy for a Geography Lover

#14Shifu Orboot: Augmented Reality Interactive Globe for Kids

Highlights:

  • Age Range:  4 – 10 years
  • *Award Winner*
  • STEM toy

The learning possibilities are endless.  It’s a bit different than other globes in that it requires an app that can be downloaded on an iOS or Android device to learn facts about the world.  The globe has little stars or checkpoints that kids can use on the device to highlight.  When highlighted these stars unlock 6 magical categories of information about that area. 

Unlike other interactive globes the information can be updated on the app as time goes on.  Many other interactive globes have information stored directly on them which is great initially but in the ever-changing world we live in things change fast!

#15 – The Scrambled States of America Game

Highlights:

  • Ages 8+
  • 60 scramble cards
  • 50 state cards
  • 4 US maps

This game is perfect for all ages and you don’t have to be a geography buff, like the child in your life might be, in order to play. My son and I have both been enjoying this game since he was 6 and I’m no geography buff.

The state cards lists out the state’s capitol and the state’s nickname. These facts along with the US maps are used to play the game. There’s is plenty to learn along the way and lots of fun to be had.

Critical Thinking Games and Activities for Kids

#16 – Think Fun: Invasion on the Cow Snatchers

Highlights:

  • Ages 6+
  • STEM Toy and Logic Game
  • Multiple levels of play

This game is designed for one person to play, but my son and I play together.  There are 60 card challenges to complete.  My son could do each one on his own but he prefers if we take turns completing the cards.

There are 5 different types of challenge cards.  40 cards are easy to super hard challenges and 20 are genius level challenges.  

Each card requires you to complete the challenge in a particular order.  As the cards get more difficult this will require you to think several steps ahead.  This game will have you dusting off your thinking cap.

#17 – Connect 4

Highlights:

  • Ages 6+
  • 2 players

Do you remember playing this as a kid?  It’s a classic and for good reason.

This game teaches strategy.  The object of the game is to connect 4 colored discs in a row.  Each player takes turns placing a disc.  This requires young minds to think ahead and plan out their moves.  

#18 – Smart Games: IQ Stars

Highlights:

  • Ages 6+
  • Travel friendly game

This is a cognitive skill building brain game.  With 120 challenges to solve, this could keep your kid busy for awhile. 

I love taking it with us to restaurants.  Instead of flipping through my phone, my son stays entertained and challenged while we wait for our meal.  And if he ever gets frustrated, I’m right there to help.

This is intended to be a one player game.  However, the more challenging puzzles can be a great team building tool for the whole family.

#19 – 3PCS Large Size Fidget Snake Cube Twist Puzzle

Highlights:

  • A fidget toy
  • Improves hand eye coordination

Shift this puzzle into different shapes using your imagination and creativity.  Kids will spend hours twisting and turning this puzzle into fun and interesting animals, shapes, etc.

Final Thoughts on Educational Toys for Kids

I sincerely hope you check out these fantastic educational toys for kids ranging from preschool through early grade school.  I know they have played a pivotal part in helping my boys grow and develop. 

Please leave a note in the comments section if you already have experience with any of these educational toys, games or books.  I’d love to hear about your experiences. 

If you like some of these ideas but the children in your life aren’t quite ready for them, bookmark this page or pin it.

ideas on best kid gifts for educational learning toy

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