11 educational toy gifts
Rather than being seduced by flashing lights and enthralling sounds next time you’re searching for a child’s present, give them the gift of learning with these amazing toys…
Kids love toys that buzz, beep, sing, spin, talk, dance and laugh. But what do they get out of these types of playthings? The truth is: not much. Like screens, toys that mesmerize children into passivity don’t tend to foster creativity, encourage imaginative play, improve problem-solving skills or enhance fine motor skills. Small minds get so much more out of toys that require them to manipulate, explore, ask questions, investigate, problem-solve and persevere.
And while it’s wonderful to get on the floor and play with your little ones (especially when they’re still young), it’s also important to give them plenty of unstructured and unscheduled play time. Free play not only develops their imagination, creativity, dexterity and decision-making skills, it also builds their confidence and contributes to their social and emotional development.
Here are some of our favorite educational toys that encourage children’s bodies and minds to grow and develop while they play.
Tots aged three and up will delight in trying to match the 12 pairs of colorful fish printed on recycled paper in Petit Collage’s Gone Fishing Memory Game. They won’t even realize that they’re sharpening their memory skills!
Goki’s wooden Toy Clock features movable hands, hours, minutes and a 24-hour insert to help children learn to tell time. Ages 5 and up.
The Wooden Story Natural Shape Puzzle Board includes a puzzle board and six different geometric shapes fashioned from FSC certified wood. It’s a fantastic tool to help children develop their hand-eye coordination. Age 1 and up.
These beautiful Planet Blocks by Uncle Goose are handcrafted out of Midwestern basswood and feature illustrations and information on all the planets in our solar system. So many ways to learn! Ages 2 and up.
Aspiring musicians will love producing sweet sounds with Schoenhut Piano Company’s six-piece Band in a Box. The real instruments encourage rhythm and social interaction. Ages 3 and up.
School kids will go nuts for Copernicus’ Natural Disaster Kit which allows them to experience nature’s power up close. The kit has all the ingredients and instructions you need to create a blizzard of flying snow, a whirling tornado and an erupting volcano. Ages 8 and up.
Little Sapling Toys’ six-piece Circle Stacking Toy not only looks stunning with its three varieties of high-quality wood, it also enhances fine motor skills and promotes creative thinking. Age 1 and up.
Little minds will love learning computer coding with Primo Toys’ Cubetto Playset. The screenless toy includes a wooden interface board, storybook and world map that will take children aged 3 to 6 on epic adventures!
Plan Toys’ innovative Balancing Cactus teaches children analytical and cooperation skills as they work with others to build the cactus piece-by-piece without toppling it. Ages 3 and up.
Kids of all ages can’t get enough of Plan Toys’ Water Blocks, which are crafted from sustainable rubber wood and filled with bright water-based dyes. They enhance fine motor skills, creativity and critical thinking. Ages 3 and up.
Kids will love learning about the weather which this interactive weather station. Move the weather meter, turn the dials, slide the thermometer. This clever educational toy by Moon Picnic has 4 movable parts and 5 weather symbols to display so little meteorologists can report and forecast the weather.
This is a clever take on the classic abacus and sorting toy, and will stimulate young developing minds and hone toddlers’ hand-eye coordination. We love the addition of the rope on each column which means no mess or missing pieces!