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Educational Toys Buying Guide

Spanning everything from numbers and letters to life sciences and foreign languages, educational toys can teach your tot in creative ways. There’s a good chance he’ll be having so much fun playing that he won’t realize he’s learning, too!

Types of Educational Toys

There are educational toys geared for every age level, learning style, and interest. So whether you’re looking to teach your child about the alphabet or animals, there are products to help you. You or your child may prefer certain topics. That’s great, but don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of subject areas and ways of learning.

Alphabet

Teach your tot his ABC’s with toys that introduce the alphabet. Choose from options like blocks, puzzles, electronic toys, flash cards, letter magnets, games, and writing boards.

Animals

Your child can learn about animals that fly in the air, roam on land, and swim in the sea with models, puzzles, games, and habitats that concentrate on the wonders of the wild kingdom.
Shop Animals
Guidecraft
$39.95 at Target

Guidecraft - Educational Toys - G5092 - Animal Train Sort and Match is the perfect way to teach color-matching, shape-matching and... pattern-recognition in a fun, game-like setting. Animal Train Sort and Match includes six double-sided pattern cards, 43... Read More

VTech
$21.99 at Target

Find Infant And Toddler Developmental Toys at Target.com! Vtech Chat & Learn Reading Monkey Color: Brown. Gender: Unisex.

Kidz Shooz
$36.99 at Overstock.com

See, Hear, Play and Learn with the Smithsonian Kids Alphabet Board. Seven Fun Activities to Learn about Letter Names, Letter Sound...s, Words Spelling and Much More. Read More

Rockin Rider
$74.99 at Wayfair

Dimensions: 33.46L x 11.02W x 25.59H in. . For ages 3 to 10, up to 150 lbs.. Pull the realistic reins to hear him whinny. Pat his ...hindquarters for galloping noises. Pat his snout and he snorts. Pressing the ears plays fun phrases and music. Sturdy metal frame with soft, plush exterior. Metal stirrups on a removable saddle. Realistic mane and tail. They'll be ready to clean up the frontier even if they aren't ready to clean their rooms as they pretend their way through a wild west experience on the back of the Rockin Rider Diesel Stable Horse. The exterior of blonde-dappled plush gives him a realistic look while the detailed metal stirrups and removable saddle let them get the feel for dressing their mount. Realistic reins let them hit the trail, and a full-range of touch-activated sounds like snorts, whinnies, and galloping noises will get their imagination started. When you press one ear you get one of two fun phrases, and the other ear makes him sing I'm a Little Pony. All you need are 2 AA batteries instead of oats.About Tek Nek ToysTek Nek Toys believes in the power of playtime! From their home in Southlake, Texas, they've been developing unique, multifunctional toys designed to stimulate creativity and encourage interaction since 1997. Tek Nek Toys arms parents with products that provide learning and growth opportunities in order to maximize their children's playtime. They understand that toys should not only be fun, but also a way for children to expand their imaginations, coordination and social skills. Tek Nek Toys is best known for developing innovative toys that are built to last … even in the playroom. Read More

Art Toys

Art toys such as crayons, markers, glue, finger paints, easels, sidewalk chalk, pencils, stamps, stickers, and clay help kids express themselves and experience the joys of creating their own masterpieces.

Colors & Shapes

Learn colors and shapes with blocks, puzzles, sorting toys, and electronic toys.
Shop Colors & Shapes
Guidecraft
$33.99 at Target

Guidecraft - Educational Toys - G5091 - Construction Truck Sort and Match is the perfect way to teach color and shape matching, so...rting, sequencing and pattern recognition in a fun, game-like setting. Heavy duty pieces attach to the matching board with... Read More

Arbor
$49.99 at Target

Teach My Toddler is the multi award-winning all-in-one learning kit for toddlers 18 months to 3yrs. The kit is divided into four s...ections to teach toddlers The Alphabet, Numbers, Shapes and Colors. Requiring no batteries or DVDs, the kit has an... Read More

Melissa & Doug
$11.99 at Target

Easy to position and reposition again and again on any magnetic surface, these 25 wooden magnets offer endless creative play oppor...tunities--all while improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills! Convenient wooden storage case keeps everything... Read More

KidKraft
$35.99 at Target

So many choices! Our Bead Maze Cube gives the young boys and girls in your life 5 sides of fun to choose from. Each side gives you...ng kids a different activity that will help with the development of color recognition, shape recognition, and eye-hand... Read More

Computers & Laptops

From kiddie laptops to toddler tablets, there are a number of computers geared for little ones. Most come with drop-proof cases, kid-friendly controls, and educational content suited to their young audience.
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Playtime Swing Sets
$70.39 at Target

From fantasy football, to team and player stats, enjoy instant replays, the latest scores, sports greatest moments, trivia and eve...n online purchase of tickets to sports events. The Tabby Sports 5.1 Kids' Android Tablet is a complete portable PC in a... Read More

VTech
$19.99 at Target

A fun and easy way to acquire skills, the VTech Write and Learn Touch Tablet is an interactive gadget for kids that offers a progr...essive approach to handwriting, making it enjoyable and rewarding. Practice makes perfect with this electronic writing... Read More

Kidz Shooz
$21.99 at Target

High Tech sleek design with close to 30 touch sensitive icons to trigger sounds and speech with a light touch. Learn the name and ...fun facts about the planets, the stars, the moon, the meteorites, astronauts and many other space related subjects.... Read More

LeapFrog
$89.99 at Target

The affordable, fun-packed Wi-Fi tablet for kids that allows them to learn and play in a way that's just right for each child. Bui...lt kid-tough, LeapPad3 provides a safe and engaging experience for kids to explore kid-safe Web content with access to a... Read More

Discovery Toys

From teaching about the human body to showing what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar, discovery toys help kids pick up knowledge through hands-on activities.
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Calico Critters
$39.99 at Target

Critter babies enjoy playing with all of their friends in the Baby Discovery Forest. Includes: acorn, carousel, leaf seesaw, baske...t swing, movable slide, tree stump with flipping top & berry pie, mushroom steps, and 11 decorative flowers. Forest... Read More

Target
$40.99 at Target

SMARTMAX allows kids to explore the fascinating world of magnetism in a safe way. With oversize and ultra-strong parts, SMARTMAX i...s an ideal toy for young children. The attraction and repulsion of magnets will amaze them as they construct colorful... Read More

Spin Master
$11.99 at Target

Find Educational Kits And Learning Tools at Target.com! If you've ever wondered, but never really knew, now's the time to discover... something new! Wonderology is the kid friendly science line that makes learning a blast! Explore the mysteries of science... Read More

Learning Resources
$14.79 at Target

Learning Resources Human Body Model Learning Resources Human Body Model is an anatomy lesson for little learners. The small toy or...gans fit smoothly into the body torso. It also includes an easy step-by-step instruction manual. Why You'll love It: Kids... Read More

Electronics

Exposed to remote controls and cell phones from a young age, kids have a natural affinity to electronic educational toys. These include battery-operated and outlet-powered devices such as laptops, tablets, handhelds, robots, and video game systems.
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VTech
$54.99 at Target

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch VTech's first portable camera watch will create an entirely new play experience for kids 3 and older. Ph...oto and video fun for little photographers on-the-go. Includes 3 mini learning games with the ability to download more,... Read More

VTech
$54.99 at Target

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch VTech's first portable camera watch will create an entirely new play experience for kids 3 and older. Ph...oto and video fun for little photographers on-the-go. Includes 3 mini learning games with the ability to download more,... Read More

VTech
$24.99 at Target

Find Pretend Electronic Toys at Target.com! Learn in style with the ABC Fashion Purse? by VTech. Move the activity slider to choos...e one of seven learning games. Minnie Mouse's voice encourages children while they learn letters, numbers, problem solving... Read More

Flash cards

Flash cards are cardboard or plastic cards for teaching letters, numbers, words, math, and more. Some companies even let you customize your own set of flashcards with the words, places, and faces to which your child will best connect.
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Alex Toys
$20.49 at Target

Touch, feel and learn! These double-sided flash cards introduce young children to reading while having fun! Each card has two-side...s of letters and an illustration for each letter in bright, fun colors. The wide, sturdy cards are easy for little hands... Read More

Toy Entertainment
$17.99 at Target

See, touch, feel, learn! These multi-sensory flash cards build vocabulary and early academic skills. Kids love experiencing the va...ried textures (a fluffy puppy, scratchy broom, bumpy alligator), and as they explore, they learn. The back of each card... Read More

Alex Toys
$17.99 at Target

See, touch, feel, learn! These multi-sensory flash cards build vocabulary and early academic skills. Kids love experiencing the va...ried textures (a fluffy puppy, scratchy broom, bumpy alligator), and as they explore, they learn. The back of each card... Read More

LeapFrog
$14.99 at Target

Mix and match letters to build more than 100 words featuring short vowel sounds. Based on the award-winning Talking Words Factory ...DVD! Use the LeapReader? Reading and Writing System to bring this flash card set to life! More than 400 interactive... Read More

Gardening

Gardening toys help kids learn about plants, weather, and healthy food by providing the tools and knowledge to take care of plants. They include toys for pretend play and pint-size versions of the real thing,
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House of Marbles
$19.45 at Amazon

<b> House of Marbles Children's Garden Tool Set </b><br><p> House Of Marbles Children's Garden Tool Set is a colorful, practical a...nd educational tool set that provides kids with all the they need to learn the basics of gardening. This is one tool set that makes gardening really easy and exciting for kids. </p><br><b> Why You'll Love It: </b> This set introduces kids to the simple joys of gardening and brings young gardeners closer to nature. <br><br><b> Age: </b> 3 to 7 years <br><br><b>Features</b><ul><li> 100% metal tools </li><li> Lightweight and durable </li><li> Ergonomic child-friendly grip </li></ul><b>Includes: </b>Spacious water-resistant carrying bag <br><BR>Recommended Ages:3 ? 7 Read More

Hape
$24.99 at Target

Educo Healthy Gourmet Salad For Green Eaters Mix, toss and serve a bowl of healthy and delightful garden salad with Educo Healthy ...Gourmet Salad For Green Eaters. This pretend playset allows children to combine lettuce with vegetables, caressed by vinegar and oil with a dash of pepper. Toss it up for a lovely meal of salad or a side dish. Why You'll Love It: It's the first step taken by kids towards making a delicious salad. Age: 3 years and up Features Made of plywood, maplewood, felt, PP and water-based paints Features vegetables, salad bowl, oil and vinegar bottles and salad servers Encourages creativity and imagination Promotes social development skills ABOUT HAPE Hape was founded in 1986 by Peter Handstein in Germany after he visited hundreds of schools and talked with hundreds of educators giving him a unique understanding of the power of play. Hape Toys has since grown into one of the world's largest producers of toys made from sustainable materials. Neither culture, nor language, nor gender inhibits the intuitive process of play. All of the products meet, and more often, exceed the strictest international standards for quality and safety. But behind the innovative designs and meticulous quality lies the even stronger ethos of Hape. Our Mission Hape believes that the future begins and belongs to our children. It is our duty to leave them with infinite possibilities, not unsolvable problems. Our toys are created to inspire play, learning, and exploration of the world we live in; through responsible business practices we aspire to leave the world in a better condition than when we received it. Our Philosophy Hape toys are designed first and foremost for children. Each product is developed to enhance a child's developmental skills. Neither language, nor culture, nor gender impedes the intuitive play patterns. What children see as fun, parents and educators recognize as age-appropriate learning basics; social, sensory, physical, and emotional skills. Using natural materials, water-based paints, and strict quality and safety standards make every Hape toy an investment kids will love and parents can trust. Read More

Janod
$80.00 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Hours of fun await your little one with this garden-themed learning toy that loops together five brain-enhancing activities: a clo...ck, rotating puzzles, three labyrinths, four different shaped cubes and removable abacus. Adjustable height. Open: 9.8 X... Read More

Melissa & Doug
$12.74 $14.99 at Kohl's

The See Inside ABC puzzle goes from letter A-Z with beautiful full-color illustrations under each piece. This puzzle makes learnin...g easy and fun! In 1989 The Melissa & Doug Company started in the garage of the home where Doug grew up! Thanks to your support, the Melissa & Doug Company grew and was able to move into a real office down the road. Their philosophy has remained the same over the years-to make each and every customer a happy and permanent member of the Melissa & Doug family, while offering products with tremendous value, quality and design. Melissa & Doug have always welcomed customer suggestions, and they continually strive to make improvements to their products. Melissa & Doug are honored by the faith you place in them and view it as their responsibility to continue to earn your trust in the years to come! Melissa and Doug range of products include puzzles, preschool, play food, puppets, stuffed animals and gardening toys. Read More

Geography

Countries, states, capitals, rivers, and more can be learned with geography–based educational goods, including globes, models, electronic games, puzzles, and maps.
Shop Geography
Geosafari
$119.99 at UltimateGlobes

The GeoSafari Talking Globe Jr. takes young explorers around the world, pointing out cool facts about countries, landforms, cultur...es, bodies of water and more. Featuring a quiz game that challenges kids to remember what they have learned. Read More

Orion
$19.99 at Telescope.com

Explore our next-door neighbor planet Mars like never before with the Orion Mars Map and Observing Guide. This detailed map will h...elp you locate and identify intriguing Martian features, and it will also help you learn interesting facts about the red... Read More

Melissa & Doug
$14.99 at Target

Geography comes to life as kids learn states and capitals while assembling this beautiful map puzzle. Wood pieces are shaped like ...the state or region and feature state nicknames under the pieces! State population, motto, size, capital and year of... Read More

Lionel Trains
$19.99 at Target

Find Toy Vehicles And Playsets at Target.com! Lionel Nascar Collectibles is excited to announce a unique collection of die?x90cast... products. This collection will highlight the famous New York City MTA Subway marks applied to a collection of NASCAR race... Read More

Musical Instruments

Help your child get into the groove with educational toys that teach about rhythm, sound, and melody. Options Include drums, percussion, flutes, guitars, harmonicas, kazoos, keyboards, pianos, rattles, shakers, and saxophones.
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Dean
$399.00 $625.00 at zZounds

There's nothing quite like the devastating sound of an 8-string guitar and the Dean Custom 850X puts that sound within reach of an...y guitarist. This 8-string features a pair of DMT Design humbuckers which yield an aggressive, powerful tone with ... Read More

ESP
$869.00 $1,241.43 at zZounds

The ESP H1007 7-String Electric Guitar is a beautifully crafted instrument with a ton of punch! Featuring a mahogany body with a f...lamed maple top for a great physical appearance. Massive tone is produced by EMG 81-7 and EMG 707 active pickups, ... Read More

ESP
Ibanez
$829.95 $1,239.99 at zZounds

The Ibanez RGIR28FE Iron Label Electric Guitar is designed for heavy metal guitarists who desire eight string beef. With a basic d...esign of the RG series, Ibanez applied their expertise as leaders in 8-string guitar luthiery, modded and tweaked ... Read More

ESP
$799.00 $1,141.43 at zZounds

The ESP LTD MH-1001NT features Set-thru neck construction, 25.5" scale, mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, thin-U ne...ck contour, black nickel hardware, 24XJ frets, EMG Metal Works 81/85 pickups, and a T.O.M. Bridge with string-thru. Read More

ESP

Numbers & Counting

Numbering and counting toys teach children their 123’s through flash cards, discovery toys, and electronic games.
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Learning Resources
$57.59 at Target

Find Building Kits And Sets at Target.com! Get kids building letters and numbers with this complete set! Includes: Letter Construc...tion (LER 8555) Number Construction (LER 8550) Magnetic Letter Construction (LER 8551) Letter Construction Templates (LER... Read More

Melissa & Doug
$19.99 at Target

Take six nesting and sorting blocks, add six numbered animals to go inside, and what do you have? A farm full of stacking, countin...g, hide-and-seek, mix-and-match, imaginative play! This charming play set lets kids build a farm scene filled with bright... Read More

VTech
$14.99 at Target

Find Infant And Toddler Developmental Toys at Target.com! Count & Learn Alphabet Bus ?36 letter and number blocks teach phonics, n...umbers and colors ?Personalize the bus to recognize your child's age and first letter of their name ?Introduces traffic... Read More

Plan Toys
$22.49 at Target

This product consists of number 1-10 and 10 animal cards. Number dashed lines at the back of animal cards are for children to lear...n to write the number. The toy teaches children basic courting skills. Under the Green Concept Design PlanToys selects... Read More

Reading & Writing

From C-A-T to SAT words, toys that teach reading and writing skills include flash cards, electronic devices, computers, software, puzzles, magnets, games, stamps, and word blocks.

Science

Science-based educational toys expose children to aspects of life, earth, and physical science. They include models, experiments, microscopes, magnifying glasses, habitats, aquariums, science kits, magnets, and more.

Software

Educational software can teach nearly any topic through games, videos, and activities. Some versions come on a CD or DVD, while others may be downloaded from the Internet to any computer, laptop, or tablet.
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Imation
$17.99 at Dell

Some things you create deserve to be preserved for all time, like a wedding video, or a great new software program. Choose Imation... DVD-R to ensure your creative masterpieces won't be altered or erased. DVD-R, a write-once format, is capable of... Read More

Alfred Music Publishing
$249.99 at Sweetwater

(Complete Educator Version). By Andrew Surmani, Karen Farnum Surmani, and Morton Manus. Reference Textbooks; Software; Textbook - ...General; Theory. Essentials of Music Theory. Published by Alfred Music Publishing Read More

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
$18.99 at Dell SMB

The Children's Learning Suite Netbbooks from Encyclopedia Britannica takes students on a fun and exciting learning journey. This s...uite comprises of Britannica Student and Elementary Encyclopedias that forms the cornerstone of a complete reference library. Explore an exhilarating ride through video, audio clips, photographs and more. Additionally, it includes Merriam-Websters Student Dictionary and Thesaurus. Now, you can take tour of world with atlas and historical timeline. Besides this, it also features learning games, interactive study guides, virtual notecards and many more. So, be ready to give yourself the gift of knowledge, enhance your understanding and broaden your horizons with Children's Learning Suite Netbooks. Read More

Walmart
$214.83 at Walmart

The Lenovo N21 Chromebook PC is designed for education. It features a rugged, durable, drop-resistant design with extra reinforcem...ent round port and hinges. The sealed touchpad protects it from moisture and spills. The built-in webcam is rotatable for... Read More

Product Features

A wide variety of educational toys exist. But that means it’s even more important to choose ones that are the best suited to your child’s age, personality, interests, and learning style.

Recommended Age Range

For each toy, manufacturers provide a recommended age range or grade level based on the appropriateness of the product’s content, required background knowledge, and size of the included pieces.

Independent vs. Supervised Play

While your child may be able to enjoy some educational toys on her own, there may be others such as flash cards, science experiments, or CD-ROM software that will require adult supervision or participation.

Learning Style

Toys can teach through a variety of methods, including auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or tactile.

Additional Supplies Needed

Some educational toys may require additional accessories, such as batteries, construction paper, soil, or a computer. Be sure to check the toy’s box beforehand to see what is included and what you may need to purchase separately.

Single vs. Multiple Right Answers

Certain educational toys -- including those that teach spelling, shapes, math, and geography -- pose questions with a sole correct answer. But other learning toys – such as musical instruments and art supplies -- may allow for a variety of correct responses -- or have none at all. A combination of both styles can help develop a child’s creativity, rote knowledge, and critical-thinking skills.

Auditory Volume

Learning isn’t always quiet. Computers, laptops, electronic devices, software, musical instruments, and some other kinds of educational toys can be noisy. Consider looking for toys that come with a volume control or headphone jacks.

Cleanliness

Art goods, science experiments, and gardening can get messy. Be prepared by choosing your child’s location and attire accordingly. 

Purchase Considerations

Before you buy an educational toy for your child, keep in mind the product’s age range, durability, battery usage, and storage needs. Consider your 

Age Range / Age Level

While some educational toys have a clear age range, others can be used by various ages. This is beneficial for keeping a toy relevant as a child grows, 

Durability

Kids can be rough on toys, so keep in mind the material and quality of the toys you purchase. Look for items that can handle the bumps, drops, and other accidents of childhood.

Battery Usage

If the educational toy uses batteries, consider investing in rechargeable batteries or researching whether another power source, such as a plug-in wall adaptor, is available for it.

Storage

Some educational toys require special storage conditions. For example, do you have room for that large floor puzzle? Or where will you put that lizard habitat? Before you buy a toy, make sure you know if and where it can be safely kept in your home.

Single Topic vs. Multiple Topic

Single-subject toys keep kids focused as they practice a skill, limiting the amount of information they can access at one time. Multi-topic toys allow kids to learn about a variety of subjects and continue playing even if they master or tire of one aspect of the toy.

Interests

As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” So even if your child only seems interested in animals, try toys that allow him to explore other topics, too. You never know what he’ll discover.
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