The 9 Best Toys for Learning Letters and Numbers of 2022

Learning through play

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For every age and stage of childhood, there are wonderful toys that can help your kids learn letters and numbers. Whether they are pre-readers, early readers, or more advanced, it can be easy and beneficial to add toys that are fun and provide proven educational value for your kids. 

With a range of solo play, family games, or open-ended creative play, there are so many toys that will help your child develop skills. These picks are fun and educational, so they’re the right mix of challenging and entertaining.

Use this guide to find the best toys for learning letters and numbers for your child, budget, and lifestyle.

Our Top Picks
Easy to learn with quick game play, Zingo Word Builder is like bingo, but with letters instead of numbers.
Perfect for ages 3 years old and up, there’s actually three ways to play, all focused on different math skills.
Besides a nap time and alarm clock function, the clock also has some fun animations to give it a personality.
While this game may be some parent’s nemesis, the easy to learn game is a fantastic first board game for young kids.
The bundle includes a set of five reusable board-based activities and 10 pages of reusable and erasable papers.
Best for Writing:
Kido Magnatab at Amazon
Thoughtfully crafted, young kids will learn how to make their first letters with this little learning tool.
Best for Elementary School Aged:
Kids Against Maturity Card Game at Amazon
This family friendly game will have your kids reading and rolling on the floor laughing, all at the same time.
Best for Phonics:
Jax Sequence at Amazon
Your child will have a blast playing this fast moving game while practicing phonics and relating the sounds.
Best for Reading:
MadLibs Book at Amazon
There are tons of themed MadLibs including Pokemon, superheroes, vacation fun, and so much more.

Best Overall: Think Fun Zingo Word Builder

Think Fun Zingo Word Builder
Pros
  • Easy to learn and play

  • Fun for a group

  • Leveled playing options

Cons
  • Not portable

  • Best for younger kids

Easy to learn with quick gameplay, Zingo Word Builder is like bingo, but with letters instead of numbers. Fill in the missing letters to start building short sight words. The game cards flip over for two levels of play. Six double-sided cards make it a great group game.

If your child ages out of this version, there are many other Zingo games including sight words, standard words, and 1-2-3 numbers.

Best for Preschoolers: Think Fun My First Math Dice

Think Fun My First Math Dice
Pros
  • Three games in one

  • Portable

  • Focus on math skills

Cons
  • Too basic for older kids

Build concentration, math skills, and hand-eye coordination with this portable game. Perfect for ages 3 years old and up, there are actually three ways to play, all focused on different math skills. The simple instructions make it a snap to start playing and parents love that all the pieces are easily packed into the included little cinch bag, so it’s a perfect game to take on the go.

Best for Learning Time: OK TO WAKE! Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light

OK to Wake! Alarm Clock
Pros
  • Time keeping, alarm clock, and snooze functions

  • Color based alerts

  • USB cable with backup batteries

Cons
  • Teaching comes from parents

  • Batteries not included

A useful teacher, this easy-to-read digital clock can also be a lifesaver for parents. When it’s time to get up (based on a time set by the parents), the whole clock turns green, serving as a visual indicator that informs the child when it’s ok to wake. Kids will become comfortable with reading the time and recognizing numbers.

Besides a nap time and alarm clock function, the clock also has some fun animations to give it a personality.

Best Board Game: Hasbro Gaming Chutes and Ladders Game

Chutes and Ladders
Pros
  • No reading required

  • Can be played multiple times

  • Limited skills required

Cons
  • Tedious for parents

  • Not portable

  • One mode of play

This easy-to-learn game is a fantastic first board game for young kids. There’s no reading required, so it’s simple and fun for two to four players. Kids will practice number recognition and counting as they spin the number wheel and move up and down the board. A luck-based game, your child has a good chance of beating you.

Best All in One: Jaq Jaq Bird Bored Board Letter Bundle

Jaq Jaq Bird Bored Board Letter Bundle
Pros
  • Variety of educational activities

  • Multiple kids can play at once

  • Portable

Cons
  • Expensive

Banish boredom with this educational and fun activity set. The bundle includes a set of five reusable board-based activities and 10 pages of reusable and erasable papers. Included in the activities are handwriting styles, shapes, numbers, and clock skills.

Simply wipe the board clean with a damp cloth to erase and create all over again. The set all packs into a reusable zipper pouch, so it’s perfect for life on the go.

Best for Writing: Kido Magnatab

Kido Magnatab
Pros
  • Portable

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Separate boards for uppercase, lower case, numbers

  • Stylus is not attached to the board

Thoughtfully crafted, young kids will learn how to make their first letters with this little learning tool. Children follow instructions with easy-to-read arrows that point up, down, and sideways.

The sized-just-right magnetic stylus pulls up the magnetic beads to create solid lines and complete the letters. With a light push of a finger, pop the magnetic beads down and start all over again.

Best for Elementary School Aged: Kids Against Maturity Card Game

Kids Against Maturity Card Game
Pros
  • Funny game

  • Great for a group

  • Easy to play

Cons
  • Potty humor

  • Reading required

Great for ages 8 years old and up, this family-friendly game will have your kids reading and rolling on the floor laughing, all at the same time. Super easy to play, each player gets 10 answer cards and takes turns asking the question cards. Kids will sharpen their reading and comprehension skills as well as their strategizing and active listening abilities.

The “asker” chooses the funniest answer and the player with the highest amount of funny responses wins! Parents should be warned, this game does include a lot of potty humor, so if that’s not going to be welcome, skip this choice.

Best for Phonics: Jax Sequence

sequence-board-game
Pros
  • Appropriate for ages 4 to 7

  • Fun and educational

Cons
  • Not portable

  • Only one way to play

  • Max game play is 4 people

Kiddos ages 3 and up will love this game that helps focus on phonics. Each player draws a card, sounds out the letter on the card, matches it to the beginning sound of a picture on the game board, and then places a chip on that square.

The aim is to get five in a row, so your child will have a blast playing this fast-moving game while practicing phonics and relating the sounds with the uppercase and lowercase letters.

Best for Reading: MadLibs Book

MadLibs Book
Pros
  • Family fun

  • Portable

  • Best for kids 7+

Cons
  • Not appropriate for young kids

  • Can’t play alone

Silly, classic, and fun for all ages, the word game is an excellent option for practicing reading. Early readers (and writers) will have fun either asking their crew to complete the blanks (while learning grammar and parts of speech), writing in the answers, or just reading the funny, final result.

There are tons of themed MadLibs including Pokemon, superheroes, vacation fun, and so much more. Pick a theme that’ll engage your kiddo and get ready for some super-silly stories.

The Zingo (view at Amazon) family of games is a fun, simple, and educational game that’s quick to play. It’s enjoyable for adults and easy enough for kids to play on their own. The only drawback is it’s not portable, so best for at home play. For something on the go, MadLibs (view at Amazon) is an excellent option for older kids. While the Jaq Jaq Bird Bored Board Letter Bundle (view at Maisonette) is a bit pricier, it’ll keep little kids busy on a plane, in the car, or waiting in a restaurant. 

What to Look for When Buying Toys for Learning Letters and Numbers

Age Appropriate

A toy will only be successful as a teaching tool if your child is able to use it. Use the age recommendations on the toy’s packaging as a guide and factor in a child's skill level. The toy should be age-appropriate or something your child can age into, but not too far off. If the game or toy is too hard, that’ll be discouraging. 

When considering their age, be sure to think about the learning concepts as well. Since these games are designed to strengthen their letter and number skills, keep your child's developmental age in mind. A letter or number toy for a preschooler will vary greatly compared to one for an 8-year-old.

Challenging

Just like age appropriateness, look for toys or games that provide the right amount of challenge. Too easy, and it’ll get played with once. Too hard, it’s not motivating to keep playing. Get a sense of the level by playing the first time with your child. Many toys also come with instructions for multiple levels of play, so it’s easy to level up once they master each level. 

Entertaining

Perhaps the most important element to encourage play, toys should be entertaining. It’s fun to have some toys for home and smaller ones for vacation, life on the go, or for downtime like waiting in a restaurant. Consider toys for solo play vs in a group, so your child has some options.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of an 11-year-old son, 8-year-old son, and 4-year old daughter. Maya loves games her kids can play without her (yes, Zingo!) and always has a stash of MadLibs and pencils wherever she goes. She’s had to implement some family rules to not include gross words or challenge her kids to only use them once per round.

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