The 8 Best Educational Toys for Toddlers of 2019

These toys for toddlers combine fun and learning

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: First Builders Big Building Bag at Amazon

"Lets little ones sort, stack and build amazing creations."

Best Matching: Kidzlane Color Matching Egg Set at Amazon

"Comes with a full dozen plastic eggs for matching."

Best for Toddlers With Autism: Simple First Words at Amazon

"Equipped with buttons that help toddlers hear the words."

Best STEM: PicassoTiles S.T.E.A.M. Building Block Set at Amazon

"Pieces include numbers, letters, symbols, and more."

Best for Memory: Wonder Forge Eric Carle Matching Game at Amazon

"Players take turns trying to find matches."

Best for Pretend Play: LeapFrog Number Lovin' Oven at Amazon

"Helps kids learn to count and more."

Best for Reading: Pixel Premium ABC Magnets at Amazon

"Kids can play games and learn to spell out words."

Best Musical: Melissa & Doug Learn-to-Play Piano at Amazon

"This pint-sized piano is equipped with 25 keys and two octaves."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: First Builders Big Building Bag

First Builders Big Building Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

For fun packed with mega potential for learning, there’s Mega Bloks. This set has 80 pieces in all that let little ones sort, stack, and build amazing creations. There are no rules. Instead, the fun is ruled by their imagination as they learn important lessons about cause and effect and build those oh-so-important fine motor skills.

They’re the perfect size for little hands, and they click together easily. They also come in a zippered bag, which makes clean up easy when playtime is over. Recommended for ages 12 months-5 years, parents say their kids get years of use out of these blocks. They can also be combined with other Mega Bloks sets for even more building fun.

Best Matching: Kidzlane Color Matching Egg Set

When it comes to finding an affordable yet educational toy for toddlers, hundreds of parents say this set is eggs-actly the thing. It comes with a full dozen plastic eggs, each of which is numbered. When you crack them open, each has a different color and number and corresponding pegs and holes that match. From number recognition to counting, adding, fine motor skills, and pretend play, this set promotes a variety of important skills. They’re made for little fingers and are easy for them to click together and take apart.

Looking to take playtime to the yard? Read our roundup of the best outdoor toys for toddlers.

Best for Toddlers With Autism: Simple First Words Let's Talk

For toddlers with autism, communication can often be challenging, and this book is a great way to encourage speech skills. Titled “Let’s Talk,” the board book is equipped with buttons that feature some basic words, like “cat,” “duck,” “train” and “shoes” along with a picture of each. When they push the buttons, they hear the words. It’s great to help promote finger-pointing skills too.

Best STEM: PicassoTiles 136 Piece S.T.E.A.M. Building Block Set

When it comes to building important science, technology, engineering, and math (S.T.E.M) skills, this set of tiles covers all the bases. There are 136 pieces in all, including numbers, letters, symbols, frames, lights, and more. They all have magnets that allow them to snap together or onto other metal surfaces, like refrigerators and whiteboards. Kids can use them to build, learn numbers and letters and create all sorts of imaginative scenarios.

If you have a toddler who loves to move, take a peek at our article on the best active toys for toddlers.

Best for Memory: Wonder Forge Eric Carle Matching Game

Memory games are a great way to help little minds make connections, and they’re fun to boot. Parents love this one that features illustrations from the pages of books by beloved author Eric Carle, like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”

Players take turns trying to find matches, and the one with the most, wins. Kids can also play by themselves. There are 72 cards in all, which some parents say is a lot for younger ones. Many suggest starting with fewer matches, then adding more as kids master them.

Best for Pretend Play: LeapFrog Number Lovin' Oven

Little ones can cook up some fun while learning important math skills along the way with this Number Lovin’ Oven from LeapFrog. There are 16 ingredients in all, including pizza slices, pieces of bread, cupcakes, and more. Some of the food can be “cut” into pieces for sharing, and the lively oven knows 30 fun songs and phrases that help kids learn to count and more.

Realistic noises, like sizzling sounds when the pan is placed on the burner, make for lots of fun pretend play too. It does require batteries—three AAA—but they’re included, so the fun can begin right out of the box.

Looking for more ideas? Read our roundup best advanced toddler toys.

Best for Reading: Pixel Premium ABC Magnets for Kids Gift Set

It’s never too early to start working on those early reading skills, and this set of foam magnetic letters makes it fun. It comes with 142 letters in all and a lightweight magnetic board for kids to play games and learn to spell out words. The letters, which are made of thick foam, can also stick to other magnetic surfaces like refrigerators, too. This set also comes with an e-book series that outlines more than 40 different learning games you can play with it.

Best Musical: Melissa & Doug Learn-to-Play Piano

Little musicians can rock out with this great learn-to-play piano from Melissa & Doug. It’s bright and inviting in classic primary colors and is equipped with 25 keys and two octaves. It also comes with a color-coded songbook so they can learn to play an array of songs. Made of solid wood, it’s durable and toddler-tough too. It measures 11.5 x 9.5 x 16 inches, which is the perfect height for little ones to sit on the floor beside and play.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular educational toys for toddlers on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different toys overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the toys themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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