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Our Favorite Educational Toys

by Julie Friedman |

I have had a lot of requests for a post on our favorite educational toys, so I spent nap time today compiling this list for you guys! I have broken it down by age group, so hopefully it is easy to navigate! I am so over the plastic, noisy, battery-operated junk, and want to share with you guys a list of toys that are not only educational, but won't drive you crazy either!! I kid you not, the one battery-operated toy that is left in our house is a Doc Mcstuffins doctor table that sings "Time for Your Checkup" SO LOUD, basically all day while my kids take the cushions off my couch and bounce/ dance like crazy people. I want to get rid of it soon bad, but I just can't take the soundtrack of their lives away/break their little hearts just yet. Anyways, back to what I was saying... all of these toys have stood the test of time, and my kids continue to go back to these over and over again. Lots of them require you to interact + play with your kiddos, but there are also quite a few for individual play! Ok, so here it goes!

6-18 months

Shape Box - This is our favorite shape sorter for little hands- it also grows with your kids. My older two still like playing with this! Plus.. I just love wooden toys! They last longer and look way cuter displayed!

Shape Matching Eggs - This is a great toy for little ones to work on matching & learning shapes. Younger babes will just put them in their mouths and roll them around, take them all apart, and sooner or later learn how to match them back up! Love this one!

Pound and Tap Music Bench- There are so many pounding toys, but what I love so much about this one is the musical aspect! Counteract the annoying pounding with some sweet, sweet music! haha! Also, its wooden and super cute!

Cupcake Shape Matching- I put this one in the younger category, but it definitely is a toy that grows with your child! Rhett (6m) loves to chew on these and pull the tops off. Kerr (2) likes taking the tops off and matching them all back up. Evie (5) still puts these to use in her toy kitchen! I love that these cupcakes hit all the age groups in our house!

Tactile Dog House- This is a WONDERFUL sensory toy for little hands to learn and explore different textures. It has two of each bone, so it's great for matching as well! 

2-3 years

positional words - We use this as a speech tool to learn positional words. It provides great visuals and cards that have all of the different actions on them. It can be used as early as 2 years old to start learning these tricky words! "Put the duck in the pool" "put the car under the bridge" Put the frog next to the lilly pad"...

magtiles - These are by far our all time favorite toy! My kids play with these almost daily! You really have to get the 100 pack or there just aren't enough tiles to build! My kids play with these starting around 18m-2 years old and Evie, 5, is still going strong with them! Her creations get more amazing every time! I LOVE playing these with my kids, its seriously therapeutic! They aren't cheap, but its definitely a very long lasting toy!

magformers- These are very similar to the magtiles, but a little easier to maneuver for younger kids. We play with these a lot as well! We just don't have as many of them, so we are kind of limited with what we can build! We really love these!

Practical Life Skill Set- This is the cutest way to teach your kids how to zip, lace, button, and snap! These practical skills are necessary for independence, and what better way to teach them than a set completely dedicated to these skills! 

Jumbo Stringing Beads- These are perfect to teach kids how to string beads and keeps them busy time and time again! They are extra big beads, so you don't have to worry about choking- these can be used with the younger age group as well, but the stringing concept usually isn't mastered until age 2, so I put it in this age group!

ice cream counting- This is the most adorable and fun way to learn how to count! This set includes tongs to scoop the ice cream with, so it doubles up as a fine motor skill activity as well!

Sorting Pie- This has been a fan favorite of my kiddos for several years now! I got this for Evie on her 2nd birthday and she and Kerr play with it weekly! It has several different cards to place in the bottom i.e. (Colors, shapes, numbers, etc) and your kids use the included tongs to sort the fruit pieces into each category! We love this one so much!!

3-5 years

ABC Locks- a current favorite of Evie's! She uses the keys that have the lowercase letter on it to match with the lock that coordinates with the uppercase letter! HOW cool are these!! It's pretty trick to teach the upper and lowercase letters, but this activity has definitely been a winner!

Counting Cars- This is an amazing, hands on way to learn how to count! It comes with 10 cars (1-10) that each have a coordinating amount of holes for the counting people! You pop the little people in each car-- 2 people in car #2 and so forth! My kids LOOOVVEE this!!

Science Lab- This is what I am getting evie for her 5th birthday and I cannot wait to do this with her! I just know she's going to have so much fun with this!

Magnet Kit - This is always a winning activity for my kids and keeps them busy for long periods of time exploring with magnets!

Snap and Learn Alligators- A less expensive way (than the ABC locks) to learn upper and lower case letters! BUT also easier because of the color coordinating pieces! 

letter tracing

Alphabet Magna Tab- We love this for learning how to write letters! Great for on the go as well- car rides/airplanes!

Le Toy Van Doll House-This isn't necessarily educational, but it is Evie's favorite! This is the only toy that I keep in her room. 1- because it's really cute, and 2- because it is a great quiet time activity to do during her daily "room time" This is by far the best brand on doll houses on the market! The quality is amazing and all of the coordinating accessories are just adorable! I love that everything is wooden and can withstand toddler play! Kerr (2) loves when Evie invites him to play doll house with her!! haha! This would make an incredible birthday gift for your 4,5, or 6 year old little girl! 

Animal Matching Cards/ Figures - really love this Montessori concept of matching objects with coordinating picture cards! We created a similar activity for my younger son using puzzle pieces and picture cards that we already had! check out my past blog post to see how to do that yourself!

Pattern Blocks- Evie could do these over and over again! These do take a bit of concentration, and I would recommend them for ages 4 and up! 

Scissor Skills- How cute is this! Evie loves to cut and this booklet is the perfect guide! 

Object/Card Matching Set - Another matching set! These are just so amazing, but I think theres only one in stock! ugh.. hopefully they restock!

Spelling Board Puzzles- My mom gave Evie this for christmas this past year and the kids still love playing with this. Even kerr (2) can do it! They love filling in the words with the letters, and it has been a great tool to use for learning letters and sounds.

Upper & Lower Case Letter Matching- A very simple and straight forward set to teach upper and lower case letters. Completely Montessori concept right here, but hey, we love Montessori over here! Evie goes to a Montessori school and it is just the best!!

Bug Discover Bin- This is a cute and fun way to explore with bugs! We use the bug play dough boxes that I have in my shop instead of this one, but I thought this was a great alternative!

A few of our favorite games ages 3+

Hungry Hungry Hippos 

Hi Ho Cherry-o

paw patrol racing

Perfection

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