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Teaches words for animals, foods, colors, activities, and more. Plays and sings words in both English and Spanish. Features fun turtle, tiger, and monkey characters. Easy for toddlers to use and navigate.
The buttons are very sensitive and can be triggered almost too easily.
Teaches children to tell time in both analog and digital format. Comes loaded with educational games, and more can be downloaded from the app. Feature-rich design boasts a camera, voice recorder, calculator, calendar, and more.
Camera resolution isn't the best, but being for children, this is forgivable.
Offers varying levels of practical writing fun and guidance, from beginners scribbling to more advanced precision strokes. Teaches the sounds of each letter of the alphabet, numbers and counting, and helps to develop hand-eye coordination.
Great for teaching smaller children writing basics, but beyond that the settings are somewhat limited.
Kids learn math, spelling, visual thinking, problem solving, and drawing in a uniquely fun and practical manner. Varying skill levels are suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities. Backed by multiple awards.
Exclusively designed for use with an iPad, severely limiting functionality.
Interactive and engages kids. Teaches facts that are new and different from other geography games. App can be used without WiFi. Simple to figure out, and entertaining for both toddlers and kids. Can double as a fun decoration.
Reliant on an app to get full effect. Countries not specifically labeled on globe.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Toys have evolved considerably since we entered the digital era. While high-tech toys have been around for years, a growing category with mass appeal to parents and kids alike is electronic learning toys.
Learning can — and should be — fun, engaging, and stimulating. Electronic learning toys leverage the latest technology to deliver an unparalleled interactive experience to kids. Whether they’re practicing coding or improving their reading, kids are learning new skills every time they play. You can find electronic learning toys geared toward your child’s age, as well as toys that align with their interests and your learning goals.
Electronic learning toys are designed to appeal to specific age groups, and these are clearly marked on the packaging. This helps to make sure the toy will hold a child’s interest and align with their reading level. For example, babies and toddlers aren’t independent readers, so many electronic learning toys for them focus on the sounds and images of letters and words.
Many parents wonder if their kids are on the same level as the electronic learning toy they intend to get. Some children are advanced learners for their age and capable of handling certain interactive electronic learning toys geared toward older children. Other kids need to spend more time learning how to use their electronic learning toys, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. More than anything, it means they’re gaining knowledge through reinforcement. Always keep in mind that every child learns — and plays — at a different pace.
Electronic learning toys can be loosely separated into two categories: general learning and targeted learning.
General learning: Toys in this group don’t have a single focus for play. Instead, they help kids hone a variety of skills at the same time. Electronic music toys, for example, teach kids basic music theory while improving their fine motor skills. These electronic learning toys present as more fun than educational, which is why many kids find them so engaging.
Targeted learning: These toys have involved designs to offer kids a focused yet fun approach to learning a particular skill or subject. STEM toys are designed to explore a specific interest in-depth, like coding or robotics. Some kids warm up to these toys fairly quickly if the subject or skill interests them, though others may not find them as engaging or appealing.
Electronic learning toys are powered by batteries, rechargeable batteries, or power cords. Those that require replaceable batteries cost the most to operate because you’ll need to frequently replace the batteries. One way to offset the cost is to invest in rechargeable cell batteries.
Some electronic learning toys are equipped with rechargeable lithium batteries. While you won’t need to spend money replacing batteries, you should know that each toy comes with a different charge time. For that reason, it’s recommended that you charge these toys once playtime is over or there might not be enough juice to power the toy for the next play session.
Some electronic learning toys need to be plugged into an outlet. These require far less attention than batteries, but if the power cord is short, play could be limited to the immediate area near an outlet.
There are hundreds — if not thousands — of electronic learning toys available today. While it’s impossible to classify all of them into distinct categories, especially since each electronic learning toy is unique, here’s an overview of the best-selling ones:
STEM toys: Perhaps the most popular electronic learning toys as of late are electronic STEM toys, which have science, technology, engineering, and/or math themes. Toys in this category are quite diverse and include robotics, coding, circuits, and building toys. Electronic math and science board games are also popular.
Robots: Robotics is a subset of STEM, but since robots are so popular, it’s worth placing them in a stand-alone group. They’re recommended for kids who truly enjoy the interactive nature of toys because these toys come to life through electronic and mechanical activities. While many parents believe these are geared toward older kids, there are now many robot and robotic toys that are designed for early learners up to age five.
Interactive reading devices: These are ideal for kids who enjoy reading but aren’t quite independent readers yet. They are designed to read to kids in a variety of ways, whether they trace the letters with an interactive pen to produce sounds or play matching games to learn the alphabet. There are also electronic books that read stories to kids.
Music toys: Electronic music toys make up quite an extensive category, including soundboard toys for babies, keyboards, digital drum sets, and even DJ equipment. They teach the basics of music theory or how to play instruments as well as help kids recognize patterns, learn to read music, and/or develop motor control.
Electronic learning toys range in price from $25 to $500. The more advanced the features, settings, and interactivity, the more the toys cost.
There is a wide variety of electronic learning toys that cost between $25 and $80. These include simple toys with limited functionality at the lower end of the range, as well as advanced reading and robotics toys, many of which are compatible with smartphones or tablets for extended play.
Advanced electronic learning toys, such as coding and robotics toys, cost between $90 and $150. Toys in this range engage kids through a wide variety of games, activities, and levels.
The most expensive electronic learning toys cost $200 and more. These mostly include well-developed robotics toys that have a high level of interactivity. Given their advanced functionality, they often come with longer protection or more parental controls.
A. Yes, especially if you’re looking for toys that give kids a break from screen time. Many electronic learning toys offer more hands-on learning because they have more pieces, buttons, or articulating parts to manipulate.
A. Some electronic learning toys are equipped with a few language modes besides English, usually Spanish or French. You’ll need to change the settings manually, and in some toys, you’ll need to do a factory reset to go back to English.
A. Electronic learning toys tend to have universal appeal, so both boys and girls can enjoy them. While some may be geared more toward one gender or the other, at the end of the day, virtually any child can play with them.
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