Play is an essential part of development for young children. It’s how they explore new ideas, connect with people, and grow in a variety of skill sets from fine motor to cognitive growth. As children get older and move out of the infant stage and into toddler and preschool stages, choosing toys that foster and support development becomes even more important, but choosing those toys can be challenging. To help you pick out toys that are fun, educational, durable, and able to grow with your child, we’re sharing our top picks.
Best Educational Toys for Toddlers
The time from birth to age three is extraordinary! Toddlers are rapidly learning new words, gaining social skills, and absorbing knowledge. During this stage, toys that encourage unstructured play and limitless creativity are excellent for supporting both cognitive growth and language development.
Jenna Baby Doll by Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug are a favorite toy maker, and with good reason. Their products are durable and made for imaginative, educational play. The Jenna 12″ baby doll has a soft body, removable outfit, eyes that open and close, and she can suck her thumb or a pacifier. Available in different skin colors, this doll is great for snuggling and comfort as well as role-playing and make believe play for toddlers aged 18 months and up.
LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train
LEGO is a classic, and the DUPLO series is designed for toddlers to be large enough to prevent choking and be easy to hold and build. This brightly colored LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train is fun for counting and learning numbers and the easy-to-connect train and blocks will improve motor skills. These are compatible with DUPLO series blocks, too, so there’s plenty of opportunity to build and play.
Little People® Animal Friends Farm
Little People® are durable, long-lasting, and offer a great opportunity for creative play. The Animal Friends Farm comes with a farmer, a few animals, and makes sounds when you open the doors and gates. Even the youngest toddlers will enjoy the tactile activities this playset offers while older children can be more imaginative or sing songs and engage in other ways.
Best Preschool Toys
The toys listed above will all carry into the preschool years – blocks, Little People®, and dolls can grow with your child. However, during this time, you may be focusing more on learning things like numbers, letters, colors, and social skills to get ready for school as well as problem solving and teamwork.
To move into these new stages, we recommend:
Rainbow Counting Bears
With six sorting cups, tongs, dice, and 60 brightly colored bears, the Rainbow Counting Bears set is pretty much limitless fun. You can use them for sorting, stacking, and counting, teaching colors, or let your child take them in the bath tub since they are hard plastic. We wouldn’t recommend these for children younger than three due to choking concerns, but for preschoolers, this is fantastic.
BusyTown Eye Found It Board Game
With a six foot long game board, the BusyTown Eye Found It hidden picture game is fun, encourages team work, and slowing down to observe and see what they can find. The BusyTown theme is cheerful, brightly colored, and offers plenty of replay value
Schedule a Tour at Our Preschool in Raleigh
At Primary Beginnings, we’re dedicated to teaching children and fostering growth through play in a nurturing, caring environment. If you’re looking for a preschool in Raleigh, schedule a tour by calling us at 919-790-6888 for our Spring Forest Road location and 919-785-0303 for our North Hills Drive Center.