The best kinds of toys are the ones that are both fun and educational. Kids learn through play, so why not get our kids toys that are also going to teach them something? For littles from newborns to age 3, it can be hard to know what the educational toys are, so I put together a list of my top recommendations for early learning toys. For each toy I list the official recommended age by the company, and then my suggested age to get this. This just means that if you’re looking for a gift or something to get your little one, you’ll know when’s the best age to purchase it, in my opinion. (Please note that if I’ve suggested an age that is younger than the recommended age by the company, you are purchasing this at your own risk and it should not be used unsupervised).
Some of the following links are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase. All thoughts are my own honest opinions.
A classic! I love Melissa & Doug so much. They make such high-quality toys, and they’re a go-to brand for me when looking for educational, low-stimulation, or pretend play toys. This set of 100 colorful blocks is a must-have for any playroom. They’re made of solid wood and are perfect for letting your littles pretend play, build, and even learn colors and shapes.
Official recommended age: 2+ years
My suggested age to get this: 12 months – 3 years
(Some of these blocks can be choking hazards for young children. Do not use unsupervised).
Shape sorters are another classic toy. This one is great because it has so many different options and it’s a great way to learn basic and more complex shapes. It features 12 brightly colored shapes and it’s all made of wood. This is a great gift for babies and toddlers.
Official recommended age: 2+ years
My suggested age to get this: 10 months – 2 years
(Some of these shapes can be choking hazards for young children. Do not use unsupervised).
My daughter is obsessed with these. They make a bunch of different types of these books, but basically each page features a little plastic “button” they can push, and for some reason they are obsessed. My daughter started with these books probably around her first birthday, and still loves them at age 2.5.
Official recommended age: 1+ years
My suggested age to get this: 15 months – 2.5 years
Okay, this isn’t really a toy, but it’s definitely a must-have for babies. Both of my girls love this thing, and I love that it can be used in 3 different stages from babies to toddlerhood. You have to be really careful with babies’ hips, so when they’re little I didn’t leave my girls in this for more than a few minutes at a time, but once they could support themselves with their feet more they’d stay in for a bit. They both absolutely love it! And it’s so much better than a walker or jumper.
Official recommended age: 4 months+
My suggested age to get this: 5-12 months
(You can use this far past 12 months, but won’t get as much use out of it cause they’ll be too big for the first set up).
This playmat is perfect for tummy time! It’s great for babies who are able to hold themselves up on their stomachs and can explore a bit. There’s so many different ways to entertain with this mat. There are a lot of different textures, sounds, and colors, plus it’s teething-friendly. This not only helps babies with their gross motor skills, but cognitive skills as well.
Official recommended age: 0 months+
My suggested age to get this: 1-9 months
These bath time buckets are so simple, but so fun for kids. My 2.5 year old has had these for over a year and still plays with them all the time. We also use them to help rinse her hair, and when she was little I used them to help her get used to the feeling of water on her head. Each one looks like a different animal and they have different holes or slits at the bottom for water to run out of. Plus, unlike bath squirts, they don’t get moldy and gross.
Official recommended age: 9 months+
My suggested age to get this: 9 months – 2 years
You can’t go wrong with an alphabet or number puzzle for toddlers. These are a great way to learn about numbers, letters, colors, and puzzles! My daughter loves puzzles, but some are still too hard for her, so puzzles like this are perfect.
Official reccomended age: None
My suggested age to get this: 18 months – 3.5 years
These eggs are great for so many reasons. They’re a fun way to learn about shapes, colors, sorting and matching. Plus they help develop fine motor skills. You can play with these lots of different ways, from just opening them each up to learn the color or shape, to spreading them all out and finding the matches.
Official recommended age: 3-5 years
My Suggested age to get this: 2-4 years
Like most things Chuckle & Roar makes, these blocks are amazing. They’re so versatile and can be used in so many different ways and for so many different ages. They can be used just as regular cube blocks, or as a way to learn about numbers, colors, shapes, letters, and more. There’s a few games included too for older kids, so it’s pretty impossible to get bored of these blocks. Plus they’re super affordable.
Official recommended age: 3+
My Suggested Age to get this: 2.5-6 years
This toy is definitely a fan favorite. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth it. There are so many different features of it that it’s hard to get bored of it. It also can provide different entertainment for different ages, so it can grow with your child! There’s spinny blocks, doors to open, beads to move and more. It helps with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, learning about animals, letters, and colors.
Official recommended age: 12 months+
My suggested age to get this: 9-18 months
(my 2 year old still plays with this, but she probably won’t for much longer, so it’s a better gift for younger kids)
This “toy” is EVERYTHING. It’s a never-ending entertainment kit. It features 30 different activities all using magnets. Basically, it has a bunch of different cards and little magnets. It comes in a tin, so you pick one of the cards, place it on the back of the lid and then use the magnets to play! There’s free play games, matching, tic-tac-toe, and so much more. My 2.5 year old loves it, but some of the activities and games can be used for big kids as well, so I think we will be using this for a long time.
Official recommended age: 4+
My ideal age to get this: 2-7 years
(NOTE: This contains lots of small pieces that are definitely a choking hazard! DO NOT let young children play with this unsupervised).
Last, but certainly not least: KiwiCo. KiwiCo is an amazing company that creates subscription boxes for babies, toddlers, and kids. Each box allows the child to explore, play, and learn based on expert recommendations for their age range. These make for a perfect gift and ensure that your child is always learning and never bored!
Do you have any of these toys? Or are there other educational/early learning toys that you’d recommend? Let me know! I’d love to add to this list.