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Best educational toys for toddlers

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What are the best educational toys for kids?

Since motor skills, dexterity and the brain develop incredibly fast during the first few years of life, the toys you should purchase for your toddlers depend on their age. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s best to avoid giving your toddler toys that are too advanced for their age to prevent creating frustration and triggering tantrums.

Shop this article: Graco Pack 'n Play Portable Playardboon PIPES 5-Piece Building Bath Toy SetHape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

Graco Pack 'n Play Portable Playard

A playpen can be a great way to keep an eye on your child, but eventually, your toddler will get antsy. They will quickly outgrow the teething toys, so you want to keep your child occupied, active and engaged in mental development. The best toys do all three at the same time, whether they're played with inside or outdoors.

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Age-specific educational toys

1 year old

At 1, your toddler is curious and ready to explore. Try to focus on sensory toys with bright colors that get them moving and require mild coordination.

2 years old

Your toddler might already be developing interests at 2, so you want to find toys that cater to those interests. This is also the age when imaginative play and role play begin to develop.

3 years old

Language development occurs at this age. Initiating conversation and developing simple sentences is standard at 3, so you want to look for toys that you can play along with your kids to help them improve those skills.

4 years old

You can be more strategic when toy shopping for your 4-year-old. You want to encourage their continuing communication and collaboration with others. 

5 years old

At 5, children can work through their problems and tell simple stories. Their attention spans are also longer, and they tend to ask many questions, so you want to search for toys that pique their curiosity and fuel their imagination. 

Best educational toys for 1-year-olds

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

This colorful, musical toy is perfect for developing hand-eye coordination and dexterity. They can use the mallet to hit the balls, sending them down the xylophone. Alternatively, they can play the keyboard independently.

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boon PIPES 5-Piece Building Bath Toy Set

Make bath time fun and educational by building shapes and designs on the walls with bright-colored, suction-cup bath toys. This classic bath toy sticks to the walls, which helps parents bathe their children while keeping the water in the tub.

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Best educational toys for 2-year-olds

Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag with Big Building Blocks

This budget-friendly educational toy includes 80 different plastic, colorful building blocks. Block play is a significant developmental milestone, and with this toy, children can build, create and demolish their structures.

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Green Toys Doctor's Kit, Red/Blue - 9 Piece Pretend Play, Motor Skills, Language & Communication Kids Role Play Toy

Allow your 2-year-old’s imagination to flourish by encouraging role play. This kit includes familiar doctor tools and allows your child to improve their motor skills.

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Step2 Heart Of The Home Kitchen Playset

This playset is worth the investment for children ages 2 and up because it can withstand years of play. This kitchen set is filled with over 40 accessories to help your child grow their motor skills.

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Best educational toys for 3-year-olds

2-in-1 LeapTop Touch by LeapFrog

Allow your 3-year-old to learn their ABCs with this tablet-like toy that has laptop features. Your child can play music and games, so don’t feel guilty when you hand over this electronic device because it will foster their brain development.

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Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board

This is a hands-on activity playboard designed to help 3-year-olds develop their fine motor skills while enjoying the colors, numbers, animals and more. This board’s latches can snack, click, hook and slide, which will improve your child’s dexterity.

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Best educational toys for 4-year-olds

LEGO DUPLO Classic Brick Box 10913 First Set with Storage Box

This classic children's toy gives your 4-year-old the ability to use their imagination and build any structure they like while improving their hand-eye coordination and dexterity. This LEGO set includes 65 colorful bricks that will stimulate your toddlers' minds by helping them learn math and reading.

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Insect Lore BH Butterfly Growing Kit

This kit helps introduce 4-year-olds to science by growing live butterflies. The pop-up, reusable mesh container includes a feeding dropper and instructions.

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Best educational toys for 5-year-olds

Gamewright Outfoxed! A Cooperative Whodunit Board Game

Have your kids and their friends work together to solve puzzles and gather clues to rule out suspects in this whodunnit. This kids' board game is an excellent way to reinforce social and problem-solving skills while the kids can have fun working together.

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Thames & Kosmos Kids First: Robot Safari - Introduction to Motorized Machines Science Experiment Kit

Introduce your 5-year-old to mechanical engineering with this kit to give them the ability to build motorized robotic animals like a baby llama, crab, cat, unicorn, sea otter and more. This will support the development of fine motor skills, which is crucial at this young age.

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Ryan Dempsey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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