The Best Educational Toys for Preschoolers
You’re the parent of a bubbly and vivacious preschooler. Whew, hat’s off to you – Your hands are definitely full and most likely your toy box is too. It’s true what they say about your little one being like a sponge and taking it all in. Avoid all the toys with the lights, bells and whistles that only keep the child distracted. Why not take advantage of their curiosity? Invest in toys that will have your little one captivated as well as educated.
This list was compiled with your preschooler at heart and not just what sells. We thought about what we see in action every day – sticking to what works to compile a list of the top educational toys for preschoolers.
Board Games That Teach Cooperation – Let’s Work Together
At our schools we encourage children to play together to achieve a goal. It’s not just about winning individually. There are lots of educational toys for preschoolers that teach the skills of color matching, dexterity and teamwork. A favorite is Peaceable Kingdom’s Hoot Owl Hoot, where kids have to work together to get the owls back to their home before daybreak.
Where To Buy and Cost: You can easily pick this up at any of the online or retail big box stores. Walmart has this game for $11 as well as other similar and fun cooperative games.
What People Are Saying: Amazon customers give this game a hoot of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars. Parents suggest playing this game with an adult at first so that children get the hang of working together to get the owl back to their nest.
Cons: If you want to call a “con,” this toy doesn’t teach competition!
VTech’s Starshine The Bright Lights Unicorn – Teach Your Child Spanish
This awesome toy unicorn teaches children English and Spanish words when they correctly place the plastic gems in the hearts of the unicorn. Full of musical sounds and songs, this magical unicorn also encourages imaginative play.
How to Capture the Unicorn for Your Pre-Schooler: You can find Starshine at various internet and walk-in stores including Target.com.
Price: Target has this item for $19.99.
What Are Parents Saying About Starshine: Parents love the toy and rave that they have purchased for children with great results.
Cons: One parent on Target.com had an issue with her toddler putting one of the small plastic gems in her mouth. Be careful with this toy if your preschoolers still put things in their mouths that they shouldn’t.
Puzzles – The Best of an Old-Fashioned Toy That Never Goes Out of Style
Your child can learn so many things through puzzles – counting, colors, geography – the options are limitless. We find that preschoolers just love to put together a cute, chunky wood puzzle. A favorite is the Gybber & Mumu Colorful Shape Puzzle. You can make this a cooperative brainteaser, as well.
Where To Buy: You can find this online or in some retail outlets.
Price: Amazon sells this off the shelf for $7.99.
What People Are Saying: Amazon customers have rated this gem at 4.5 stars out of 5. Parents rave that the puzzle is not too big or too small and is just right for little curious hands.
Legos – The Tried and True Crowd-Pleaser
Just open up a bunch of these and watch your preschooler’s eyes light up.
These wonderful pieces of plastic, along with other building block toys, are the quintessential intersection of imagination and fine motor skill development.
Where to Buy: You can find them online, at all the big box stores and at Lego stores.
Price: A small box begins at about $7; more elaborate sets can run into more than $100.
What People Are Saying: Parents have always held this as a fave. A great online resource for comprehensive Lego set reviews and buying guides is ttpm.com.
Ideas: When it’s time for cleanup, a game you can play with your child is “Count The Legos” as you guys toss them back into a container. This helps with their hand-and-eye coordination. (Your aim can use a little work as well.)
Cons: Some sets have smaller pieces and if you have a preschooler who’s still interested in putting everything in their mouths, consider buying the larger Legos.
Dress-Up – Imagination Overload
When preschoolers are introduced to a big box of pretend characters tucked away in your old fancy or work clothes, the sky is literally the limit in their educative play. From toy doctor kits to cowboy get-ups your child can learn so much as they simply pretend to be.
Where To Buy and Price Points: Your closet or a local thrift store. You can be creative here and put a great box together. If you’d rather buy something, our favorites include: Top Tie Doctor Nurse Role Play Set, which you can find at Walmart or online for about $18. Target has a Melissa & Doug Veterinarian Role Play Costume Dress-Up with nine pieces for $24.99.
What People Are Saying: The Melissa & Doug Set receives rave reviews at Target.com with a 5 out of 5 for broad age appeal, quality and value.
Hand and Finger Puppets – Sesame Street, You’ve Got Competition!
Rounding out our list of the best preschool toys are puppets. Again, there is no boundary on a child’s imaginative play. Once in hand, children just love to imitate and learn about their world through pretending. Parents and teachers alike can get creative and teach their children a myriad of things through the “mouth” of a puppet. A top choice is iMagitek’s The Three Little Pigs.
How to Get Your Hands or Fingers on It: Any online retailer or store that sells preschool toys, such as Amazon, Target or Walmart.
Price: Amazon sells this item for $9.99.
What Parents Are Saying (Aside from “I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff….”): Parents are raving about this item and review it with 3.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Cons: One parent felt the holes were too small for her daughter to fit her tiny fingers in. Another parent chimed in that she cut and pasted the slits for a quick fix.
The Family of Faith Preschool
Our preschools put kids first. We appreciate you trusting us with your precious little one. We promise to provide a loving and educative experience each and every day that they come to school.
Learn more about our school and consider making your child a part of this enriching and nurturing place to grow by contacting us or scheduling a tour.