Stars' Smartest Toy Picks

I'm always telling my 5-year-old daughter, Ashby, how important and fun learning is. It's one reason I love my career so much: There's always something new to explore. We all want our kids to have fun, and it's even better when they can learn at the same time. I asked a few celebs to share their fave educational toys.

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Kristin Davis

Kristin Davis holding adopted daughter

Sex and the City star, mom of 1-year-old Gemma

"She's recently become very good at the sorting toys. For her birthday, Cindy [Cynthia Nixon] gave her a house that has blocks in different colors and shapes. In two days, she got it! And she knows how to open it, get all the blocks back out, and start again. I'm very impressed."

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Ali Larter

Ali Larter
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Resident Evil: Afterlife actress and mom of 2-year-old Theodore

"He's amazing with the alphabet and with his numbers and all of that. Alphabet flash cards have been incredible. On airplanes, they have saved us! It might be like A-B-C ... T-P-O ... but we're getting pretty close!"

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Melissa Roycroft

Melissa Roycroft and family
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Dancing With the Stars diva, mom of Ava (2 years this month)

"My husband [Tye Strickland, shown] and I are huge fans of the Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles. They have a wide variety of jigsaw puzzles, peg puzzles, knob puzzles. Ava can't get enough of them, and she's learning about shapes, sounds, and textures at the same time."

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Debra Messing

Debra Messing and son
Getty Images

Smash cast member and mom of 8-year-old Roman.

"There's an app called Word Worm, which I think is fantastic. It's all about finding words in a graph, and the worm eats the letters as you go. We love to do that together."

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Nancy's New App for Kids!

Little Ashby

Follow a budding reporter and her crew from the Grand Canyon to the moon. The educational app ($3; ages 3 to 8) is available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Get the scoop at

Originally published in the February 2013 issue of Parents magazine.

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