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Collage with the best educational toys for different ages

Educational toys promote skills and development. They provide a fun way to support different areas of development such as motor skills, creativity and social skills. Each age group has specific skills that are crucial for that stage of development, which is why educational toys differ by age group.

For example, baby toys often help with sensory development and grasping skills, while toys for preschoolers can focus on language development and problem-solving skills.

In this list we have listed the 12 best educational toys for every age, from newborn to 3 years.

Best overall educational toy for newborns

TafToys4-in-1 Play Mat

The reason I chose this baby gym is that it's extremely soft, but also the fact that this is a baby gym that can be attached to the play mat. 

8.6
Edu score
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Best interactive toy for newborns

Fisher-PriceMusical Click-Clack Keys

The three different keys are attached to a thin ring that the child can easily hold. They can also safely put the toys in their mouth.

7.9
Edu score
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Best physical development toy for newborns

VTechCuddle & Learn ball

The ball has bright colors and different textures; something babies love. VTech is a brand that responds perfectly to the different development stages of children.

8.3
Edu score
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Overall best learning toys for 1 year olds

JouecoThe Wildies Family

Simple way to introduce your child to hand-eye coordination and shape recognition and a toy that can grow with their development into toddlerhood.

8.4
Edu score
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Best physical development toys for 1 year olds

JanodBaby Forest Stacking Tower

This sustainable brand uses natural materials, so you can let your child play with them with confidence.

8.6
Edu score
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Best stimulating toys for 1 year olds

Fat brain toysTobble's Neo

The blocks have a rubbery coating on the bottom half, making them easy for your baby to hold and stack.

9.0
Edu score
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Best educational puzzle for 2 year olds

Melissa & DougThick Dinosaur Puzzle

This set is great because the puzzle pieces are nice and thick. This means you can also stand them upright and use them for pretend play.

7.7
Edu score
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Best creative toy for 2 year olds

Do A Dot Art!Washable Paint Markers

No mess with paintbrushes and no hassle with water cups. Simply unscrew the cap and you're ready to paint!

8.4
Edu score
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Best educational counting toy for 2 year olds

Learning ResourcesSmart Snacks Numbers Ice Creams

With these colorful ice creams, your toddler will learn numbers and counting from 1 to 10, made of safe plastic.

8.6
Edu score
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Best interactive robot coding toy for 3 year olds

Learning ResourcesCode & Go Mouse

Focuses on developing critical thinking, programming skills and problem-solving skills in children aged 3 and 4.

8.8
Edu score
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Best wooden educational toys for 3 year olds

Melissa & DougDollhouse Family

The Melissa & Doug wooden bending dolls set consists of 7 dolls. The dolls can be bent and are a very nice addition to your dollhouse.

8.6
Edu score
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Best hands-on toy for 3 year olds

Spin MasterKinetic Sand

The "magnetic" properties of the sand make it ideal for indoors as it won't go all over your floor, but it's not a true magnetic toy.

8.8
Edu score
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Best educational interactive toy for a smart 4 year old

OsmoCoding Starter Kit

OSMO has emerged as one of the leading toy manufacturers producing some of the most interactive toys.

9.2
Edu score
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Best science gift for a 4 year old

Learning ResourcesPrimary Science Lab

The award-winning experimentation set is complete with all the supplies a scientist needs, including test tubes and vials.

8.6
Edu score
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Best building toy for 4 year olds

Desire DeluxeBuilding set

The different shapes and house-like tiles that you get are a nice addition. That makes the tiles slightly more expensive than PicassoTiles, but perhaps also a bit more fun.

8.3
Edu score
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Best science toy for smart 5 year olds

Learning ResourcesTumble Trax

Just fun to build a good marble run, but with the hanging with the help of magnets and the challenging assignment booklet it is also learning about gravity.

8.9
Edu score
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Best educational learning toy for 5 year olds

TickiTRainbow Blocks

Great way to learn colors. Children can simply stack them in front of the window and the light will shine through.

8.9
Edu score
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Best STEM robot for 5 year olds

Learning ResourcesBotley 2.0 Activity Set

With this robot, children from 4 years old can learn to code through 100% screen-free play with multiple ways to program.

9.3
Edu score
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Best educational STEM toy for 6 year old

EngineCreative Builder Work Vehicles

This building set contains different pieces such as blocks, beams, ramps that are all assembled into complete structures such as buildings and bridges.

8.5
Edu score
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Best interactive coding robot for 6 year olds

Wonder workshopDash

Use the free Apple, Android, or Kindle Fire apps to code in a fun 'Quest Mode' that's colorful and engaging, a great introduction to coding for kids from six years old.

9.7
Edu score
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Best imaginative building toy for 6 year olds

MagformersBasic Set Line

Children love to discover what you can do with it while playing, but also at a later age there are much more difficult things to build with.

9.5
Edu score
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Best unique gadget for 7 year olds

JoylabzMakey Makey

This toy not only shows you how to convert inputs into outputs, but also lets you connect to the computer to play a real game.

9.6
Edu score
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Best solar system space learning set for 7 year old

4MSolar System Planetarium

When building this Solar System Planetarium, you not only learn how the planets revolve around the sun, but also what they look like up close.

8.0
Edu score
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Best Interactive Toy For 7 Year Old

OsmoCoding Genius

OSMO has emerged as one of the leading toy manufacturers producing some of the most interactive toys.

9.2
Edu score
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Overall best small cheap educational toys for 8 year olds

LEGOKlutz Gear Bots

This set combines LEGO Technic bricks to build kinetic creations that really get moving. It's a perfect mix of fun, learning and creativity.

8.9
Edu score
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Best educational electronic science toy for 8 year olds

SnapCircuitsJr. SC-100

A great way to introduce children to the basics of electrical engineering in a safe and fun way.

9.4
Edu score
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Best mechanical car set for 8 year olds

Thames & KosmosRubber Band Racers

A nice educational set to learn how stored energy works and a good introduction to physics.

8.4
Edu score
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Best electric toy for 9 year olds

Tinkering LabsElectric Motors

With this set of 50 parts you can make 10 different projects. Very suitable as a STEM toy to learn more about technology and science.

9.4
Edu score
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Best STEM toy for 9 year olds

Smart labSquishy Human Body

This is a fun and educational toy for children of this age learning about anatomy and the human body.

8.4
Edu score
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Best expandable marble run for 9 year olds

RavensburgerGravitrax Starter Set

Lots of parts in the starter set and also expandable as far as you want. Nice to really go a step deeper into marble runs and physics for children from 8 years.

9.2
Edu score
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Best educational interactive robot for 10 year olds

MakeblockmBot

Robot can even be customized with Makeblock extensions and legos as they evolve in the Arduino open source ecosystem, so they can create the robot of their dreams!

9.7
Edu score
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Best geography gift for 10 year olds

Ravensburger3D Puzzle the Earth

It is a 3D puzzle, which means that you can also use it as a decoration after completing it. The earth looks lifelike and is very durable.

7.7
Edu score
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Best music toy for 10 year old

SmartivityMusic Machine

It is an educational toy that introduces STEM concepts and music in a fun and engaging way.

8.8
Edu score
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Best educational STEM toy for 11 year old

Thames & CosmosHydraulic Cyborg Hand

The best part is that you can operate the hand with your own fingers and the mechanical fingers have enough power to lift objects.

8.9
Edu score
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Best tech toy for 11 year old

MYNT3D3D Printing Pen

Let them use our 3D pen to take their artistic skills to a whole new level by giving them something they seem to live for – the 3rd dimension.

8.2
Edu score
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Best LEGO for 11 year old

LEGOArchitecture Guggenheim Museum 21035

An amazing 716 pieces in total and with one kit, any budding architect has everything they need to create their own replica.

8.5
Edu score
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Overall best small cheap educational toys for 12 year olds

Jeff friesenThe LEGO Engineer

One of the best parts of this book is that it provides step-by-step instructions for recreating these engineering marvels with LEGO bricks.

9.3
Edu score
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Best large electronic toys for 12 year olds

SpacerailLevel 5

If both you and your child like a challenge to build things up, for example already assembling models or want to do this together as a first project, this is a perfect job for you.

8.4
Edu score
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Best technology drawing gift for 12 year olds

PixicadeMake Your Own Video Game

Encourages children to think creatively and solve problems. They have to think about the gameplay, the characters and the goals of their game.

9.1
Edu score
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We rate educational toys on their educational value, replayability, play value, value for money and awards they have won, each with their own weight.

Educational toys can make great Christmas gifts, but it's important to choose the right early learning toys with features like interactivity, affordable and with opportunities for communication and imaginative play.

Childcare toys focus on sensory stimulation and basic motor skills. Toddler toys help with language, cognitive and social skills. Primary school toys often deal with more complex concepts and can include science sets, building toys and art supplies.

Some of the best brands for educational toys include Fisher-Price, Janod and Learning Resources, as well as newcomers like Osmo. These brands offer a wide range of toys that are engaging, educational and suitable for different age groups.

Toys are just one of the educational devices, but they play an important role in shaping a child's learning experience.

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What we discuss in this comprehensive post:

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for Newborn Babies

Best overall educational toy for newborns

TafToys 4-in-1 Play Mat

Product image
8.6
Edu score
Play value
4.5
Price/ quality
4.4
Replayability
4.5
Best for
  • Sturdy arches are attached to the mat
  • Soft high brim
Less good
  • Colors are a bit dull
  • From 0 years
  • Best: 0 – 1 years
  • Until: 1 years
  • Material: Textile, Polyester
  • Theme: Baby toys, Play mat
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €68,91 – $59,95
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Physical development, Gross motor skills
  • Storage: Collapsible
  • Safety components: Non-toxic materials
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusiveness: Gender neutral

This baby gym has various hangers, including a music ball, which you can easily change thanks to the open rings. With the different textures, sounds and also a mirror, there are plenty of sensory discoveries for your baby.

The greatest educational value comes from motor development, as your child can easily practice lying down, tummy time and exercise the neck muscles.

The safety is enormous. You can fold the edge up so that it stands up and your baby cannot roll away. Once he or she is out of that phase, roll it down for some nice gross motor exercises.

The ease of use is great, with the arches of the baby gym that can be attached to the rug. This way it doesn't slide around, a common problem with a baby gym.

The 4 in 1 function makes it versatile, and the rings on the bow can also be removed, making it possible to combine it with, for example, the bows of a stroller or car seat. This makes the toy very replayable.

Best interactive toy for newborns

Fisher-Price Musical Click-Clack Keys

Product image
7.9
Edu score
Play value
4.4
Price/ quality
3.8
Replayability
4.1
Best for
  • Thin ring that is easy for a baby to hold
  • Safely put in their mouth
  • First role play
Less good
  • Just a few sounds
  • From 0 years
  • Best: 0 – 2 years
  • Until: 2 years
  • Material: Plastic, PVC
  • Theme: Props, Keys
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €19,77 – $9.97
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Cognitive development, Sensory play
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusiveness: Gender neutral

When a baby is about three months old, he/she slowly learns to grasp things. This set of keys is a versatile toy that is easy for them to hold, with sensory stimulation and interactive buttons. Enough to keep them busy for a while. In this way it stimulates sensory development and fine motor skills. Finally, a start can also be made on role-playing. These educational toys therefore provide sufficient stimulation in various areas.

The three different keys are attached to a thin ring, which the child can easily hold. They can also safely put the toy in their mouth. So very easy to use.

It is a plastic toy and the exact substances in it are not known. Fisher-Price also does not produce in an environmentally conscious manner. It could therefore have scored higher on sustainability and social score. But the lifespan of the keys is fine. Made to last a long time.

Replayability lags a bit, despite being easy to take anywhere. This is mainly because they are difficult to combine with other toys, although that is not the most important thing at this age.

Best physical development toys for newborns

VTech Cuddle & Learn Ball

Product image
8.3
Edu score
Play value
4.4
Price/ quality
3.6
Replayability
4.3
Best for
  • Bright colors and different textures
  • More than 50 songs and sounds
Less good
  • Does not grow with different developmental phases
  • From 0 years
  • Best: 0 – 2 years
  • Until: 2 years
  • Material: Plush
  • Theme: Baby toys, Ball
  • Play Mode: Cooperative
  • Price at time of writing: €22,41 – $17,99
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Cognitive development, Cause and effect
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety parts: Soft material
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusiveness: Gender neutral

In the first three months a baby does not really get around to playing. However, from four months onwards the child learns to grasp objects. The soft toy ball from VTech stimulates various skills, making it an ideal toy for children of about six months.

It is very versatile because it has more than 50 sounds, from music to numbers and animals. This stimulates the language skills of the young child. It also makes noise when you throw it, which is great for learning cause and effect, while the different textures help practice fine motor skills.

The ball is safe and made of soft material, but it is a little more difficult to clean. As a result, the replayability score is somewhat lower than it could have been. But the interactivity, versatility and social interaction provide great play value.

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for 1 Year Olds

Overall best learning toys for 1 year olds

Joueco The Wildies Family Activities Cube

Product image
8.4
Edu score
Play value
4.0
Price/ quality
3.8
Replayability
4.0
Best for
  • Can grow with your baby into toddlerhood
  • Nice colors and shapes
Less good
  • Quite big for really young 1 year olds
  • From 1 years
  • Best: 2 – 3 years
  • Until: 3 years
  • Material: Wood, FSC Hardwood
  • Theme: Games and puzzles, Shape sorter
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €34,24 – $91,34
  • Sustainability: Sustainable production
  • Learning objective: Physical development, Fine motor skills
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety components: Non-toxic materials
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusiveness: Gender neutral

A simple way to introduce your child to hand-eye coordination and shape recognition and a toy that can grow nicely with their development into toddlerhood. The multi-functional cube provides high play value and great value for money.

The cube is also easy to close so you can take it with you, plus it's big enough to fit all sorts of other toys too, which my son found amusing. This way it can be used and combined anywhere, which ensures high replayability.

It is durable enough to take a beating and has survived 3 years of toddlerhood with us. From shape sorter to bead maze and puzzles and even a wooden abacus. This way he can enjoy a versatile playing experience for a while.

Best physical development toys for 1 year olds

Janod Baby Forest Stacking Tower

Product image
8.6
Edu score
Play value
4.4
Price/ quality
3.1
Replayability
4.4
Best for
  • Durable materials
  • Very cute design
Less good
  • No shapes to use later as a shape sorter
  • From 1 years
  • Best: 1 – 2 years
  • Until: 3 years
  • Material: Wood, MDF
  • Theme: Building and construction, Blocks
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €27,21 – $24,99
  • Sustainability: Sustainable production
  • Learning objective: Physical development, Eye-hand coordination
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety Components: Non-toxic material
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Although a child only really learns to stack blocks on top of each other from the age of 15 months, the Janod Play & Learn blocks are suitable for the little ones. These wooden blocks (block game is very good for them) contain the nice figures on the sides and each have holes. Enough to do!

You can stack them or put them together. Fine motor skills are stimulated and the senses are also stimulated by the pictures and colors, which all benefits the educational value.

The play value is also high due to the open-ended game and the various activities that stimulate the imagination. There are only a few blocks, which makes social interaction a bit more difficult. This could have given it an even higher score.

The sustainable brand uses natural materials, so you can let your child play with it with peace of mind. The wood used is sturdy and the versatility and ease of combining it with other toys also ensures high replayability.

Best stimulating toys for 1 year olds

Fat brain toys Tobble's Neo

Product image
9.0
Edu score
Play value
4.5
Price/ quality
3.9
Replayability
4.5
Best for
  • Stimulates fine motor skills and sensory development
  • Easy to hold
Less good
  • Quite pricey
  • From 0 years
  • Best: 1 – 2 years
  • Until: 3 years
  • Material: Plastic, ABS
  • Theme: Building and construction, Blocks
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €42,99 – $29,95
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Physical development, Eye-hand coordination
  • Storage: Tricky
  • Safety Components: Non-toxic material
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Unique design with each block shaped like a half-broken egg. Each block has a two-tone combination of vibrant colors and the texture is stimulating and makes it easy to stack. The educational value is high for fine motor skills, but it also stimulates the awareness of cause and effect through the reinforced base. This way they keep spinning for a long time when they are pushed or dropped.

The play value is high because they are very open-ended and stimulate the imagination. The replayability is also good due to their versatility and the possibility to combine them with other toys. Because of the shape you can put anything in it. They are not very portable so the score could have been a little higher if they were easier to store.

It is made of very sturdy, BPA-free yet soft material and is safe with the non-toxic, safe colors used when coloring the blocks.

In addition, it is an award-winning toy with the ASTRA's Best Toys for Kids Award 2012, the Parents' Choice Silver Award 2012, and the Spielwarenmesse ToyAward 2013.

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for 2 Year Olds

Best dinosaur toy for 2 year olds

Melissa & Doug Thick Dinosaur Puzzle

Product image
7.7
Edu score
Play value
4.4
Price/ quality
3.5
Replayability
4.3
Best for
  • Puzzle and figures in 1
  • Sturdy wooden pieces
Less good
  • Paint may scratch off with use
  • From 1 years
  • Best: 2 – 3 years
  • Until: 3 years
  • Material: Wood, MDF
  • Theme: Games and puzzles, Dinosaur
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €40,10 – $12,99
  • Sustainability: Sustainable production
  • Learning objective: Physical development, Fine motor skills
  • Storage: Tricky
  • Safety parts: Rounded corners
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

This set is great because the puzzle pieces are nice and thick. This means you can also stand them up and use them for pretend play. In this way, it simultaneously stimulates fine motor skills and imagination for a strong educational value.

This also makes it possible to combine it with other toys for high play value and social interaction. However, the puzzle pieces fall out easily, making it a bit difficult to take with you. One of the few points that makes the replayability a bit less than it could have been, despite the enormous versatility.

The pieces are also more rounded and suitable from 2 years. It includes a pteranodon, ankylosaurus, apatosaurus, T-Rex, triceratops, stegosaurus and hadrosaurus. Melissa & Doug contributes a lot to the replanting of forests for better sustainability and use of materials.

Best creative toy for 2 year olds

Do A Dot Art! Washable Paint Markers

Product image
8.4
Edu score
Play value
4.3
Price/ quality
4.3
Replayability
4.2
Best for
  • Specially designed for little hands
  • Sponge ensures no mess and that the paint never dries out
Less good
  • Possible wear of the tips
  • From 2 years
  • Best: 3 – 4 years
  • Until: 5 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Arts and crafts, Art
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €19,59 – $17,99
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Cognitive development, Expression: creative play
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety Components: Non-toxic material
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Inclusive

The ease of use is enormous. The markers are easy to hold and the paint comes out effortlessly from the spongy tip. With the washable paint that dries quickly, there is no mess. The markers have a high open-ended quality and the way of drawing appeals to the imagination. All this ensures a high playing value.

They are easy to carry in the box and you can also easily combine them with other drawing materials such as markers or pencils. Both good for the replayability, which could only have been a bit higher if it had been a little more versatile. In the end you can only dot. Ultimately, a lot can be done with this with some imagination.

The materials are safe and the paint is even gluten-free, should a child eat it. Everything has been thought of for an educational and well-balanced toy.

Best educational counting toy for 2 year olds

Learning Resources Smart Snacks Numbers Ice Creams

Product image
8.6
Edu score
Play value
4.4
Price/ quality
3.6
Replayability
4.4
Best for
  • Perfect for first math
  • Also great for pretend play
Less good
  • Not self-correcting
  • Made of plastic
  • From 2 years
  • Best: 2 – 4 years
  • Until: 4 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Food and food related, Ice cream
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €39,95 – $24,94
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Cognitive development, Mathematics/arithmetic
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety Components: Non-toxic material
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Educational toys that teach math, but are also fun for the imagination and offer open-ended play. The set contains 10 pops and 10 matching cases, each with a number and corresponding colored dots. This makes it extremely versatile and can be easily combined with other play kitchen toys. Perfect for both play value and replayability.

I was also curious if the shells were self-correcting, but unfortunately they are not. They all fit on any popsicle, but the color of the dots corresponds to the β€œcolor coating” of the popsicle. This gives children a 50/50 chance of guessing the correct answer if they are unsure. That makes the educational value slightly lower than it could have been.

It's made of sturdy plastic and feels like it could last a long time, even the joint at the stick.

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for 3 Year Olds

Best interactive robot coding toy for 3 year olds

Learning Resources Code & Go Mouse

Product image
8.8
Edu score
Play value
4.1
Price/ quality
3.6
Replayability
3.8
Best for
  • Found a great way to make programming fun for toddlers
  • A lot of physical and little screen
Less good
  • They grow out of it quickly after toddler
  • From 3 years
  • Best: 4 – 5 years
  • Until: 6 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Games and puzzles, Robot
  • Play Mode: Cooperative
  • Price at time of writing: €73,49 – $32,19
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Cognitive development, Coding
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Play value: ease of use, degree of open-endedness, imagination, social interaction, interactivity, versatility, aesthetics, ability to combine, portability, longevity, durability, safety, materials. Educational: +awards and educational value

The educational value is very high with the toy aimed at developing critical thinking, programming skills and problem solving skills in children aged 3 and 4 years old.

The play value is also very high due to the interactivity, the degree of open ending and how the theme appeals to the imagination (the mouse has to get his cheese). It could have been a bit higher if the ease of use had been a bit better, as coding can be tricky.

The replayability is also a bit lower, mainly because you can only do one type of game with it and it has to be completely self-contained to get caught again and again. It is difficult to combine it with other toys. The activity guide with hands-on introduction to programming concepts along with the 16 maze grids, 22 maze walls and 3 tunnels thankfully make it more interesting, providing endless possibilities for creating mazes.

The toy is quite sturdy and well put together, with only the wheels of the mouse being a minor weak spot. This is not a toy to drive yourself, but perfect for a quiet educational moment.

Best imaginative toy for 3 year olds

Melissa & Doug Dollhouse Family

Product image
8.6
Edu score
Play value
4.5
Price/ quality
4.1
Replayability
4.4
Best for
  • Great open-ended set where the child can go in all directions
  • Durable materials
Less good
  • Most children grow out of it quickly
  • From 3 years
  • Best: 4 – 5 years
  • Until: 6 years
  • Material: Wood, MDF
  • Theme: Nurturing play, Dolls
  • Play Mode: Cooperative
  • Price at time of writing: €49,99 – $25,02
  • Sustainability: Sustainable production
  • Learning objective: Cognitive development, Pretend play
  • Storage: Storage compartments
  • Safety components: Non-toxic materials
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Inclusive

The educational value of this set comes from the neutral appearance of the dolls. They don't have a clear profession or role, making them perfect for pretend play and imaginative role play. This neutral look also makes it very inclusive for both gender and cultural background. In addition, the texture of the real fabric clothes and the wooden dolls is a great stimulation.

The play value is also high because it appeals to the imagination and leads to open-ended play. With multiple dolls, it encourages social interaction with other children and they are easy to use. The dolls can be bent and are a very nice addition to your dollhouse.

The replayability is also high, they are easy to combine with other toys and you can easily take them with you in the box with compartments that comes with it. That way they can go anywhere.

Best hands-on toy for 3 year olds

Spin Master Kinetic Sand

Product image
8.8
Edu score
Play value
4.6
Price/ quality
4.4
Replayability
4.6
Best for
  • Great fun for endless replayability
  • Lasts a long time, actually infinite unless you get it dirty
Less good
  • It's not really magnetic
  • Difficult to build structures
  • From 3 years
  • Best: 3 – 6 years
  • Until: 8 years
  • Material: Sand
  • Theme: Arts and crafts, Art
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €24,99 – $15,76
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: Physical development, Fine motor skills
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety components: Non-toxic materials
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Kinetic Sand is often referred to as magnetic sand because it kind of sticks together, but it's not really magnetic. This gives it extra educational value because it feels good and you can model anything with it. Perfect for fine motor skills and creativity.

It feels really weird the first time you hold it, like wet sand but dry and like it should move differently than it does, sliding through your hand. This composition ensures that it does not dry out like clay and has a long life. If you take good care of it, it will last forever. It is also perfect to combine with sandbox toys or dinos or cars, all of which benefit the replayability.

The "magnetic" properties of the sand make it ideal for indoor use as it will not go all over your floor as loose grains, but will stick together more like loose slices or balls of sand. Good for ease of use and play value. In addition, it is perfect for open-ended play.

When you start with magnetic sand I would advise to start with just a basic set like this one from Spin Master, just sand colored and you probably still have a container somewhere where they can play with it.

In any case, I would use a large plate or container with a little raised edges so that it doesn't fly all over the room.

Spin Master Kinetic Sand at home in bin

The material is made of non-toxic polymers and is even free of wheat, gluten and casein.

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for 4 Year Olds

Best educational interactive toy for a smart 4 year old

Osmo Coding Starter Kit

Product image
9.2
Edu score
Play value
4.5
Price/ quality
4.4
Replayability
4.6
Best for
  • Very good basis for learning to code for 4, 5 and 6 year olds
  • Just a really fun game to play
Less good
  • Each add-on is very expensive
  • You need an iPad
  • From 4 years
  • Best: 5 – 7 years
  • Until: 8 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Technology and science, Puzzle
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €114,99 – $54,21
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: VOICE/ STEAM, Coding
  • Storage: Storage compartments
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playtime: Extended (30+ min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

This is an app for the iPad and iPhone that teaches kids how to code, but what makes Osmo different are the physical pieces you get with the game. By making it tangible, this Coding Starter Set manages to explain a complicated concept in a simple way. My son loved playing with it at 4 years old.

The base game, Coding Awbie, has a high play value. It's pretty open-ended, but it excels especially at appealing to the imagination. The system with the blocks with moves and numbers to set the coding steps also encourages more social interaction than just a separate app.

The OSMO Coding Starter Kit can be divided into 3 parts; Single player to learn to code, coding duo with more difficult puzzles and music to learn to think in sequences. This gives it more versatility and greatly improves replayability. It's just nice stand-alone and difficult to combine, so the game has to have it all on its own.

The pieces are in a handy lockable box so that it is easy to take along with your iPad. This also helps in replayability because you can easily take it with you on family visits.

A small drawback is the fact that you can only play it with an iPad. Not everyone will be happy with the extra screen time. But we've made a distinction here at home between screen time and educational games and apps. The latter is almost always allowed. A slightly bigger disadvantage is that you have to take the iPad out of the protective cover to use it in the supplied base. This resulted in a number of situations where the iPad almost fell.

The material is great, from the sturdy box with pockets to the pieces that snap together with magnets. It feels a bit like the convenience and simplistic design of Apple products. It has won several awards, including Time Magzine's Best Invention Award.

 Osmo Genius vs Osmo Coding Starter Kit

The Osmo Coding Starter Kit is for the very youngest with an ambition to learn more about code and writing it. Kids learn more about β€œsequencing" and "loopβ€œ. The Osmo Genius, on the other hand, focuses on language, math and geometry. The kit therefore feels a bit more extensive as it has different themes and options to choose from.

Best science gift for a 4 year old

Learning Resources Primary Science Lab

Product image
8.6
Edu score
Play value
4.1
Price/ quality
3.9
Replayability
4.0
Best for
  • Good first experimental set
  • Activity cards make it more than just a set
Less good
  • Maps get boring quickly
  • From 3 years
  • Best: 3 – 5 years
  • Until: 6 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Professions, Science
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €58,73 – $29,99
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: VOICE/ STEAM, Science
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playtime: Short (<10 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

This award-winning experiment set is complete with all the supplies a scientist needs, including test tubes and vials and goggles to spark the imagination and complete the role-play. The experiments have a huge educational STEM value because they teach everything about mixing with household materials.

A big downside is that these materials aren't included, so they might have to wait to play with until you get to the store, although the experiments are based on cleaning supplies and the like that you probably already have at home. As a result, the ease of use could have been a bit higher than it is now.

The 12 activity cards feature fun experiments your child can perform to learn about science in an entertaining way. These are fun to perform and most will probably want to repeat them many times. The replayability suffers a bit from the fact that there is only limited choice, but the role-playing part means that it can be combined with other fantasy play even after everything is gone.

Sturdy with safe materials, this lab set is highly recommended for 4-year-olds interested in science!

Best building toy for 4 year olds

Desire Deluxe Magnet Tiles Construction Set

Product image
8.3
Edu score
Play value
4.6
Price/ quality
4.3
Replayability
4.6
Best for
  • Sturdy and safe
  • Made for building houses and castles
Less good
  • Colors are not as bright as advertised
  • Scratches fast
  • From 3 years
  • Best: 3 – 5 years
  • Until: 7 years
  • Material: Plastic, ABS
  • Theme: Building and construction, Blocks
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €32,99 – $29,99
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: STEM/ STEAM, Architecture
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety Components: Non-toxic material
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Building and constructing with magnet tiles requires problem-solving thinking and engineering skills. Children should think about how to connect the tiles correctly to create sturdy structures. This stimulates their spatial skills and improves their ability to plan and build and gives it a high educational value.

Desire Deluxe are a cheaper variant of Magna Tiles (the original magnetic tiles) with a very good price-quality ratio and fit on any of these types of magnetic tiles. In addition, it is also great to combine with almost any kind of game, because you can make all kinds of things with it. From houses for animals or dolls to robots to beat. This gives it tremendous replayability.

Scratches on a Desire Deluxe magnet tile

These types of tiles may look a bit cheap, but they are safe. I tried to break the case by throwing it and hitting it with a rock, but the magnets wouldn't come out. The toy score could have been slightly higher if the material used and the lifespan had been slightly higher, but in the end this only has a small impact on the fun.

The play value is also very high, especially due to the open-ended game where children can use their imagination. In addition, a large set like this gives the opportunity to build together and seek social interaction.

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for 5 Year Olds

Best science toy for smart 5 year olds

Learning Resources Tumble Trax

Product image
8.9
Edu score
Play value
4.1
Price/ quality
4.6
Replayability
3.8
Best for
  • great educational and learning about gravity
  • Multiple assignments make it challenging
Less good
  • You must have a plate or refrigerator to hang them on
  • From 4 years
  • Best: 5 – 7 years
  • Until: 8 years
  • Material: Foam
  • Theme: Building and construction, Marble track
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €38,95 – $24,99
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: VOICE/ STEAM, Science
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety Components: Non-toxic material
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Play value: ease of use, degree of open-endedness, imagination, social interaction, interactivity, versatility, aesthetics, ability to combine, portability, longevity, durability, safety, materials. Educational: +awards and educational value

In terms of play value and replayability, this Tumble Trax set scores above average, but not great. The ease of use is ok, but it is difficult to get started. And the fact that you can almost only stick it on the refrigerator where the balls can easily roll under the refrigerator or other equipment is also not ideal. It is not particularly versatile or easy to combine and does not encourage social interaction very much.

Where the set does excel is in educational value. Many children enjoy learning about physics and how the world works. With these Learning Resources kits they can pick this up in a playful way.

It is of course also fun to build a good marble track, but hanging it up with the help of magnets and the challenging assignment booklet also means learning about gravity. And the assignment booklet is very good. It is not without reason that it has won several awards, including the Toy Industry Association 2016 Specialty Toy of the Year Award.

Best educational learning toy for 5 year olds

TickiT Rainbow Blocks

Product image
8.9
Edu score
Play value
4.6
Price/ quality
4.2
Replayability
4.6
Best for
  • Fun and interactive way to learn about colors and shapes
  • Made of sturdy wood and have a sturdy construction
Less good
  • A bit more pricey compared to other building blocks
  • From 1 years
  • Best: 3 – 5 years
  • Until: 6 years
  • Material: Wood, Rubberwood
  • Theme: Building and construction, Blocks
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €59,89 – $35
  • Sustainability: Sustainable production
  • Learning objective: Cognitive development, Expression: creative play
  • Storage: Tricky
  • Safety Components: Non-toxic material
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

These TickiT Rainbow Blocks are amazing and a great way to learn colors. Children can simply stack them in front of the window and the light will shine through. You can also use a separate light table. This makes it extremely educational and versatile.

They are ideal for group play and can promote children's social and emotional development. In addition, they are also suitable for children with special needs, as they can help with focus and language development.

The play value is high because they are easy to use and appeal to the imagination in open-ended play where you can build anything or mix colors and it encourages social interaction because it is almost irresistible not to interfere with the colors .

The replayability is also very high because you can combine the blocks in all kinds of games, for example as houses in fantasy play, and the durability of the material is very good. They are just a bit difficult to carry because of their size.

The blocks are made of sturdy wood with a translucent acrylic plastic in the middle, and we haven't been able to break one of them, even after six months of playing. They are designed for children from one to three years old, but I think four and even five years old can learn even more from them by combining the colors and going deeper into how colors work.

Best STEM robot for 5 year olds

Learning Resources Botley 2.0 Activity Set

Product image
9.3
Edu score
Play value
4.4
Price/ quality
3.5
Replayability
4.5
Best for
  • Different interaction options and can be transformed into different objects
  • Screen-free play
Less good
  • Limited accessories
  • Remote control does not always work well
  • From 4 years
  • Best: 5 – 6 years
  • Until: 7 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Games and puzzles, Robot
  • Play Mode: Cooperative
  • Price at time of writing: €97,40 – $75,19
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: VOICE/ STEAM, Coding
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playtime: Extended (30+ min)
  • Gender inclusiveness: Gender stereotyping

The Botley 2.0 has multiple ways to program and learn from it. Programming is done using the supplied controller, so the child can learn sequences and even start learning loops.

Botley does not actually learn to code, after all, the programming is done on a controller, but they do learn the basic skills of thinking like a programmer, and is therefore also a robot for 5 to 7 years.

The 78-piece activity set allows young programmers to build coding sequences of up to 150 steps.

The Botley 2.0 not only helps children learn coding, but also encourages important STEM skills such as science, technology, engineering and math by counting and measuring everything correctly. And even the light sensor that makes Botley glow in the dark is educational, but also just fun.

My son places the Botley coding cards on the floor

There is a lot going on here and that is good for the versatility. You can really do anything with it and that also makes it easy to combine with other toys such as Duplo that you have lying around or to build something from magnetic tiles that it has to go through without knocking it over.

Botley was a lot of fun to play with, but the play value could have been higher if the ease of use had been better. My son is now 5 years old and having the patience to play with it properly is sometimes difficult. I also think playing with it under 5 will be a challenge. The play value is still very high due to the enormous interactivity, from coding to secret cheat codes.

Botley 2.0 has also won several awards, including Innovative Toy of the Year, Best of CES from Reuters and Best Toy of the Year 2018 from Parents magazine.

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for 6 Year Olds

Best educational STEM toy for 6 year old

Engine Creative Builder Work Vehicles

Product image
8.5
Edu score
Play value
4.2
Price/ quality
4.1
Replayability
4.4
Best for
  • Many different building parts
  • Multiple constructions possible
Less good
  • After a few builds you've seen it
  • From 5 years
  • Best: 6 – 8 years
  • Until: 9 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Building and construction, Excavator
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €37,99 – $37,99
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: STEM/ STEAM, Architecture
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Play value: ease of use, degree of open-endedness, imagination, social interaction, interactivity, versatility, aesthetics, ability to combine, portability, longevity, durability, safety, materials. Educational: +awards and educational value

The educational value in the field of STEM and engineering is great with this set, Engino's biggest advantage compared to, for example, LEGO blocks. Although LEGO Technic comes close, it is really focused on developing skills and problem-solving thinking. The included app is very educational and shows children how these vehicles work.

The play value is also good with a high level of ease of use and interaction with the app, although it does not really appeal to the imagination and social interaction is less stimulated. Due to the small set, it is mainly solo building.

The replayability is slightly higher than the play value, mainly because you can play well with what you have built. This makes it easy to combine and the versatility of the toy great. The durability is also very good, the plastic is sturdy and will not break easily.

This building toy from Engino has won several awards, including the Cyprus Innovation Award and the Toy Russia Most Innovative Toy.

Best interactive coding robot for 6 year olds
Wonder workshop Dash
Product image
9.7
Edu score
Play value
4.7
Price/ quality
4.6
Replayability
4.6
Best for
  • Solidly built
  • Very educational in the field of programming
  • Winner of the β€œBest Toy Award”
Less good
  • Programming with an app can be a disadvantage for target groups from 6 years old (screen time, supervision)
  • From 5 years
  • Best: 6 – 8 years
  • Until: 9 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Games and puzzles, Robot
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €189 – $149,95
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: VOICE/ STEAM, Coding
  • Storage: Normal
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playtime: Extended (30+ min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

Dash is a colorful robot designed to make coding fun. It comes with 4 educational apps, each focused on a different type of game, that take your child through lessons to create increasingly elaborate functions. Taking this by hand makes the educational value extremely high.

The play value is good because it is extremely easy to use. At the push of a button he can explore all his surroundings right out of the box. It will automatically see where the edges of a table or room are, although sometimes the table can pose challenges and it can fall off. The interactivity is also very high with, for example, speech recognition and the multiple apps.

The robot encourages social interaction, another important part of the play value. They are toys that interact with each other, so your children and their friends can even complete missions together.

The replayability is also very good, especially due to the versatility of the game options, but they have also thought about the possibilities of combining it. For example, there are LEGO connectors with which you can use LEGO to personalize Dash. Dash can be programmed to follow a race track, dance, light up, make sounds, joust or play a variety of other games.

Dash is extremely sturdy and can take a beating and is the winner of the Parent's Choice and the Oppenheim Award.

Best imaginative building toy for 6 year olds

Magformers Basic Set Line

Product image
9.5
Edu score
Play value
4.7
Price/ quality
4.8
Replayability
4.8
Best for
  • Strong magnets that rotate so it always sticks
  • Great examples book
  • Greatly stimulates spatial insight
Less good
  • Very hard to build with
  • Won't be fun for every kid
  • From 3 years
  • Best: 5 – 8 years
  • Until: 10 years
  • Material: Plastic, ABS
  • Theme: Building and construction, Tiles
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €49,49 – $47,97
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: STEM/ STEAM, Architecture
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety parts: Rounded corners
  • Playing Time: Longer (10 – 30 min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

The tiles with open interiors are quite challenging to build with, just like the Geosmart tiles. This makes it more educational than other magnetic tiles and building toys, because it mainly concerns making geometric shapes.

The recommended age is 3 years. Although a 3-year-old child can already play with it, this set only really becomes fun at the age of 4 to 5. I think the recommended age of 3 is more about the safety of the toy than the age at which it is fun.

Laying out a flat shape like a cube or ball and then picking it up to 3D shape it is a lot of fun.

Magformers shape learning VOICE

The replayability is also high because you can also build nice buildings with them (and robots like my 4-year-old son likes to do) so you could buy them for a 3-year-old so that you have toys that they will not quickly outgrow.

The play value is also enormous. It is easy to use, completely open-ended and appeals to the imagination, and making shapes also encourages social interaction, where our children looked at what someone else had made to copy it (or even make it better). ).

The material is extremely sturdy and cannot be broken, so the magnets remain safely in their housing. It is not without reason that these are prize-winning toys from, among others, the NPPA Award.

Top 3 Best Educational Toys for 7 Year Olds

Best unique gadget for 7 year olds

Joylabz Makey Makey

Product image
9.6
Edu score
Play value
4.6
Price/ quality
4.3
Replayability
4.6
Best for
  • Teaches electronics and how a gaming console works
  • Learn with real world objects
Less good
  • They must have an interest in electronics
  • From 7 years
  • Best: 7 – 10 years
  • Until: 14 years
  • Material: Plastic
  • Theme: Technology and science, Crafts
  • Play Mode: Solo
  • Price at time of writing: €65,95 – $49,95
  • Durability: None
  • Learning objective: VOICE/ STEAM, Logical reasoning
  • Storage: Compact
  • Safety parts: None
  • Playtime: Extended (30+ min)
  • Gender inclusivity: Gender neutral

The Makey Makey is an educational tool for children. The electronics kit consists of three parts - input cables that bring in inputs from the world to make it a single one, a processor that takes those inputs and translates them into the code you programmed, and an output cable that transfers that code to the computer.

Its strength is its versatility. Whether you're making a musical instrument out of bananas or a game controller out of Play-Doh, anything is possible. This makes it a very inventive set with high educational value.

The play value and replayability are also high. It's small, fun and easy to use. All factors that contribute to these scores. In addition, it encourages social interaction and is easy to combine, because you can connect just about any other type of toy to try out.

It may still be a bit too difficult for 7-year-olds (recommended from 8), but if your child has a special interest in how computers or technology work, they may already be able to handle it at their 7th birthday.

Winner of the Best of Toy Fair Award, among others, Makey Makey will be a favorite toy for years to come.

Best solar system space learning set for 7 year old

4M Solar System Planetarium

Product image
8.0
Edu score
Play value