Educational Toys That Are Actually Fun to Play With

Playtime is the best time. And the greatest toys are ones that not only keep our kiddos engaged, but also help them think and learn. Whether you’re shopping for motor-skill-promoting options for your wee one or brain-teasing games for your tween, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best educational toys that are actually fun to interact with.

For Babies, 0 to 2

Babies take in everything around them. They learn by doing, touching, feeling and exploring. Help foster that spark of creativity early on with these educational toys.

J'adore Wooden 2-in-1 Math Beads and ABC Animal Abacus, $29.99

This classic and colorful wooden toy helps babies learn their colors, numbers and letters. It’s a two-in-one option that offers counting beads and flip-over alphabet-related pictures.

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog Rainbow Stacker, $10.99

Let’s get those fine motor skills working! This stacking toy gives kids two ways to play: They can build up the hedgehog vertically or horizontally. Plus, the tactile ridges stimulate sensory recognition.

For Toddlers, 2 to 4

Toddlers are curious creatures. Encourage their natural love of learning (and mischief-making) with these keep-them-out-of-trouble toys.

LeapFrog LeapStart Preschool Success Bundle, $29

This interactive learning system grows with your developing child, offering touch-and-talk games and puzzles that build math, reading and problem-solving skills.

Melissa & Doug 200-Piece Wooden Blocks Set, $39.99

Build, build and build some more. There’s a reason wooden blocks are a staple in preschool classrooms. Building gets kids thinking outside the box—it expands their minds and opens up new possibilities. It’s a way for them to express their creativity and test their limits. This set of 200 colored blocks is a great starter kit for future architects.

For Little Kids, 4 to 7

Play all day! Little kids want constant engagement and entertainment. Turn off the screens and get them a few fun toys that will keep them thinking, developing and, above all else, occupied!

Learning Resources Beaker Creatures Monsterglow Lab, $24.99

It’s aliiive! This working kids’ lab fosters STEM skills with real biology, chemistry and astronomy experiments. It comes with a 20-page booklet of activities—everything from DIY slime to glow-in-the-dark cobwebs!

MindWare Q-BA Maze, $29

The options are endless with this DIY connectable zigzagging marble maze set. Kids will have so much fun they won’t even realize they’re thinking creatively while learning about motion, gravity and engineering. 

For Big Kids, 8 to 10

Older children like to exert their independence and play with friends. Here are some options for your free-spirited big kid.

Smithsonian Eco Space Science Kit, $53.99

Have an imaginative, space-loving kiddo? Send their creativity skyrocketing with this STEAM-inspired buildable toy. They can construct a solar-powered spaceship, robo-dog and rover with this set.

Stomp Rocket Dueling Rocket Kit, $19.99

To be honest, stomp rockets are fun for all ages. But this dueling option is especially fun for slightly older kids who have a bit of strength and a competitive streak.

For Tweens, 10 to 12

Tweens can be tricky to shop for. They claim they don’t like toys anymore, but they still benefit from play. Here are some educational game and puzzle options that are made for their maturing minds.

Scrabble, $17.99

That budding vocabulary will come in handy during a game of Scrabble. This classic board game is fun for older children and adults—play together for some quality parent-tween time.

Fold: Origami Brainteaser, $14.95

If your tween likes confounding puzzles and Rubik’s cubes, this origami-inspired challenge will put their brain to the test and keep them engaged for hours. With 10 patterns to accomplish, it takes logical thinking and supreme patience.

Toys can be entertaining and educational! They’re the best of both worlds, and one of the reasons playtime is so important to kids’ developing bodies and minds. Don’t forget to shop for all those gadgets, gizmos and STEAM essentials with Rakuten to earn Cash Back on your purchases.

Lauren is a digital editor, freelance writer, and Instagram aficionado with a feisty five-year-old boy and a sassy two-year-old diva at home. With a passion for family, travel, style, and alliteration, she spends her days chasing children, chugging coffee, and daydreaming about sleep. As a veteran lifestyle editor and media mom, Lauren loves to find ways to make the aspirational attainable for all the overwhelmed parents out there—because we really need to stick together! Lauren lives with her husband and kiddos in the suburbs of New York City.

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