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Children of all ages are constantly absorbing everything around them. Anything they see or hear is immediately soaked up. Especially from you, as their parent. More often than not, you’ll see your child exhibiting your behaviors and using phrases you use constantly. At these stages, it’s really important for them to be absorbing as many positive things as they can. It’s your job as the parent to be reinforcing positive habits, but a little help is always appreciated. Toys are one of the tools that parents today use to help the development of their child, but oftentimes the selection at department stores can be overwhelming, overpriced, and sometimes not quite as… educational… as you’d like. Amazon is my favorite go-to when department stores fail me, and they have tons more choices. Below, I compiled a list of my favorite educational kids toys from Amazon.
1. Water Doodle Mats
Honestly, this is one of the best toys I’ve ever bought for my daughter. My creative blood runs in my daughter’s veins, but at the age she’s at, drawing with any kind of utensil can result in unwanted marks all over furniture and walls. Well, guess what? The markers that come with this kit use water as paint! The doodle mat itself is made out of a colorful, waterproof material, and covered in a thin, white fabric. These different aspects make it so your child can easily draw on the doodling mat, without worrying about accidental permanent marks on clothing or furniture! I bought the Monilon water doodle kit, but there’s other water doodling kits with extra pieces for extra added fun! Amazon also sells replacement pens for when the marker tips dry out and won’t “color” anymore.
The water dries up after about 10-15 minutes, so clean-up is super quick and easy, and there’s no mess! I can’t stress enough how much of a life saver this doodle mat is. I highly recommend it.
2. Cleaning/Cooking Sets
Good habits start young, especially when your kiddos start showing interest in helping you with duties around the house. Some things they may already be able to help you with, such as watering plants, putting laundry away, putting toys away, etc. But some things can be unsafe or impossible at a young age, such as putting sharp and heavy dishes away, vacuuming, chopping food, using a full-size broom, etc. Having a child-safe alternative to many cooking and cleaning products make it easy and safe for your kiddo to “help” you with your duties around the house, and have some fun while doing it!
One of these days I’m going to buy a play cooking set like this for my daughter and put it right next to/in our kitchen.
She loves helping me put dishes away and make food (especially cookies), but there’s not much in the kitchen that I can trust a 2 year old with without watching her like a hawk. A kitchen set would help me teach my daughter about the kitchen, without having to worry too much about any injuries or broken dishware.
My daughter is also super helpful when it comes to cleaning up, but in some cases, she is just unable to help me – brooms are too tall, vacuums are too heavy, chemicals are harmful, etc. I love sets like these that come with kid-sized cleaning products that actually work!
This broom and mop are the perfect size for my daughter, so if we have an oopsie in the kitchen, I can teach her how to clean it up by helping her use her own broom or mop. How convenient! What’s a better way to keep the house clean, than to make it a game with you and your kiddo? 😉
But what if she spills her snack all over the carpet? Well, check out this toy vacuum with real suction!
Colorful plastic balls swirl inside the vortex to add to the vacuuming effect, but all the dirt and snacks go into a removable tray for quick and easy clean-up. I give it a 10 out of 10 on a scale of functional toys.
3. Building Blocks
Building blocks have always been a staple in any kid’s childhood. They are definitely an important step in the mental and physical development of your child. They can help teach critical thinking and coordination skills by using a mix of math, science, and creativity. These magnetic building blocks are even STEM approved!
Or check out these wooden blocks for a cheaper, simpler alternative. There’s nothing like knocking down a bunch of wooden blocks you’ve just precariously stacked in a tower. 😉
4. Magnetic Animals
These magnetic animals are super helpful when it comes to learning motor skills, learning colors, learning shapes, and inspiring creativity! Due to the different levels of development that they cater to, they are definitely something that will be played with for quite a few years.
First, these animals help with motor development simply by allowing your kid to pull them apart easily and gently snap them back together. Learning colors comes next by matching the correct animal together, or by putting different animal parts together (putting the PURPLE rhino together with the RED hippo). Then, naturally, as your kid’s language skills develop, learning animal names is easy-peasy! They’ve already been associating what you call the animals with which color and shape the toy is, so it’s easy to recall those memories when they start talking. Let the creativity and mutant animals ensue!
Play-doh was one of my favorite activities as a child. I enjoyed the squishy feeling and bright colors, and the free rein on what I could create. When I was a kid, we had a few core colors, but imagine what you could create with a 12, 24, or even 36-pack of colors!
I would have been in heaven as a kid if I had this many colors to play with. 😍 And of course, no play-doh enthusiast will reach maximum levels of fun without a set of tools to use to create whatever their heart desires. What a fun way to develop fine motor skills and spark creativity!
TinkerToys are like colorful building blocks, but so much better! With at least six different corner pieces, and various lengths of rods, the building possibilities are endless. This set comes with 13 different ideas for building, but ultimately, it’s all up to your child’s imagination!
I loved my Tinkertoys as a kid, and played with them for a long time. Definitely an awesome part of my childhood. The new sets now come with more pieces, and a snap-in feature to make building easier and last longer. These sets even come with a building manual for different suggestions on how to build and put pieces together. With your help, as they get the hang of how different pieces go together, your child is also learning problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and basic science! All while having a blast creating whatever their mind can come up with.
Who doesn’t love bubbles?! Often present at weddings, birthday parties, parades, and events of the sort, bubbles have always seemed to carry a certain sense of happiness with them. Every child I’ve ever blown bubbles for, loved it and begged me to never stop. 😂
Bubbles can get messy, though, so I like to keep a few small, portable bubble tubes around the house for some easy, no-mess fun. For some huge bubbles, try these 14″ bubble wands outside (they might get a little messy). My favorite bubble accessory by far is this dinosaur bubble gun.
Frickin’ cool! Or, here’s two bubble guns for the same price as the dino gun. Bubble guns are such a great contraption, they make it a super easy and fast process. No stopping to catch your breath or re-wet the wand. What a relief!
8. Magnatab Numbers and Letters
Numbers and letters can be a little challenging to get down when you’re new at it, but thankfully, there’s a plethora of ways to help with the process. Magnatabs is one amazing way to do that!
These Magnatabs are designed specifically so that the click of magnets pulled into place by the stylus pen reinforces your child’s senses as they trace over the numbers and letters. To erase, simply use your finger, or the side of the stylus to push them back down into the board. These boards are easily readable, and come with directional arrows to help guide your child through the early stages of hand-writing. Magnatabs has a few different options for learning how to write, including uppercase letters, lowercase letters, cursive, and a jumbo glow-in-the-dark, free-form tablet.
Love this thing! It’s 8 x 9.5 inches, so there’s tons of space for my child to get creative. Plus, it’s glow-in-the-dark! Anything glow-in-the-dark is cool.
9. LeapFrog Laptop
Ever since my kiddo was still in utero, I swore up and down that I would limit my child’s exposure to technology as much as I could. While I still do as much as I can to limit her screen-time, some things are just worth it. This Leapfrog “leaptop” is one of my exceptions.
This is another great resource to help with learning the alphabet! You can customize it to help your child spell their own name, and it comes with features to send and receive pretend emails, learn letters and animal names, and comes with lots of music and melodies to sing along to! Definitely a great way to get in educational screen-time.
10. Loose Magnetic Letters and Numbers
A fun and easy way to match letters and numbers together, loose magnetic letters and numbers make it easy to rearrange letters to make words, names, the alphabet, or just a nonsensical mash-up of letters.
Brightly colored letters are always stuck to our dishwasher and/or fridge, and it makes it easy to reinforce letters, words, and names even while we’re in the kitchen. My daughter is obsessed with her set of letters, and is constantly moving them and rearranging them to create her own words. Definitely a simple toy, but it’s entertaining and it’s educational!
Shopping for your kid’s toys can be a hassle, especially in-store. I love the ease of shopping on Amazon, and the selection that I can choose from. Amazon basically sells everything, so you can find anything you’re looking for quickly, and easily. Toys are an important part of a child’s development, and shouldn’t be a headache to pick out. On Amazon, you can shop through your child’s specific age group, or you can filter it by what kind of toy you’re looking for, e.g. plush toys, counting & math toys, puzzles, etc.
Educational toys really are a key part of a child’s development. So much knowledge is gained by doing and experiencing things yourself. Things such as building blocks, drawing tablets and mats, and magnetic toys can help aid physical and educational development in so many different ways.
- Building blocks help teach basic physics as your child stacks and topples blocks, and helps with some fine motor development.
- Drawing tablets help your child with pen control and other fine motor skills, and of course, writing and drawing.
- Various magnetic toys are very versatile in what they help with; some help with fine motor skills, and other brightly colored, or shaped magnets help with learning colors, shapes, or names.
A lot of these items are actually STEM approved. STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, is focused around teaching kids how to solve complex problems, and ultimately building our children into functioning future members of our society. Who knew toys could actually be *certified* as educational? 😂 Maybe you did, but I sure didn’t.
Thanks for reading!