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My one-year-old niece is used to using a smartphone while watching Coco Melon or playing games. One time, I brought my keypad phone with me. She pointed it out to borrow it, and so I let her have it. She pressed the keypad, and when she saw the screen was on, she swiped her little fingers on the screen expecting the icons to move. While watching her, she has this frustrated look and gave the phone back to me. I burst into laughter. Kids nowadays have a different way of learning because of modern technology.

What makes a toy educational?

A toy is educational not because of any supernatural power it possesses when one uses or plays with it. But it is because it promotes and facilitates the development of a child. It helps kids with their intellectual, emotional, motor, and social development. Educational toys challenge and urge a child to achieve particular results while having fun.

Based on a study, one of the significant concepts that greatly influence toy quality is play value[1]. Play value is the usage of a toy as an aid for play which produces varying play opportunities that complement the numerous needs, motivations, and capabilities of a child. Choosing the proper educational toy to go with your child’s age along with your affection, attention, and help is one of the finest gifts a parent can give.

Why are educational toys important?

Kids have a different way of learning and adapting to their environment. The most common thing about them is that they always find time to play. You can see it in their daily activities. They do it while taking a bath, eating, going to school, or simply going to bed.

They want to have fun and explore things because, at their stage, they are one of the most curious beings. They wanted to know why things happen the way they were. They take fancy in satisfying their curiosity and see the results for themselves.

With this in mind, you can use their curiosity as an advantage to teach them to learn certain things without them realizing that they do it. Using educational toys will help you aid in the learning process of your child while they are playing. According to research, playing supports emotional, social, and academic advantages[2].

Investing in educational toys for your child to play with is one of the wisest moves you can make as a parent. Based on a survey conducted, 70% of the respondents (parents) concur that it is essential for a toy that allows their child to learn while having fun. It is one of the most natural ways your child can learn. They will have fun and will not mind the “burden” of learning the things you want to teach them. It is a win-win situation where your child learns while at the same time you can guide and bond with them.

Why children learn better with educational toys?

There was a time that I visited my sister’s house, and I saw my niece playing with his toys. He greeted me with an adorable smile and hurriedly stood up for a hug. I asked him, what are you doing? He replied I was playing with Arlo. He was showing me his dinosaur toy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

As far as I can recall, Arlo is the name of the protagonist dinosaur in the movie The Good Dinosaur. As we approached his play area, I saw more colorful dinosaur toys lying on the floor. He was asking me nonstop if I know what kind of dinosaur he was holding. I was ashamed to admit that I was not able to answer even once. He patiently taught me the names of the dinosaur. Some were difficult to pronounce, but he was able to do so.

Like my niece, kids are always fascinated with the toys’ colors, designs, texture, or sound. All of such are incorporated perfectly into educational toys. It catches their attention while having fun. An educational toy triggers the urge of a child to explore and learn more. While being preoccupied with their fondness for a toy, they won’t feel the weight of learning things.

Because of the modern era, educational toys became an essential part of the child’s development and learning process.  Based on a study, toys and play provide a natural way for children to enhance their thinking and problem-solving skills[3]. Such activities make learning more fun and natural. From the parent’s point of view, it is an excellent tool in teaching their child.

How do educational toys help child development?

One of the most crucial parts of your parenthood journey is your child’s development. It is the progress or changes in the emotional, language, skills, and physical aspects of a child. As a parent, you will have a significant role to play in this stage of your child’s life. It is essential to guide your child as they go along in this continuum. Child development comprises the following:

Cognitive

Cognitive is the ability to grasp and analyze things.  It is the progress in the learning, knowledge, and problem-solving skills of your child. The improvement of such aspects is a vital part of child development. It will help your child to think about and understand the things around them.

Parents need to foster cognitive development for their child as this will help him in the long run. One way of cultivating such is through the help of educational toys. Based on a study, toys and play give opportunities for running through different thinking, logical, and reasoning skills of a child, like imitation, problem-solving and symbolic thinking[4].

Educational toys stimulate the thinking and understanding ability of your child thereby, supporting brain development. A child learns through seeing and doing rather than reading and listening[5]. Play is an important “work” for children. The primary function of plays is to ease children’s adaptation to the real-world environment. They handle unwanted and unfavorable situations by playing.

These educational toys are beneficial for enhancing the cognitive development of your child. It is an effective way of developing your child’s various cognitive skills that will come in handy as he grows.

Coogam Wooden Blocks Puzzle
It is a perfect toy for building up the critical thinking skills, artistic sensibility, color, and shape recognition of your child. It is also helpful in your child’s fine motor development, communication, and collaboration skill as it is also perfect for team play.
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Geometric Stack Sort
It is a perfect toy for encouraging your child's imaginative play, hand-eye coordination, and intellectual skills. Likewise, it enhances color and shape differentiation skills as well as the sorting skills of our child.

Speech and Language

Speech is the verbal output of language, whereas language is the conceptual conversion (understanding) of communication. The speech and language development of children is fascinating in itself. Kids tend to understand more from spoken words than saying or speaking words, especially during infancy and toddlerhood.

I remembered my niece since she’s still a toddler. Her elder brothers were able to enunciate and say few toddler words at almost two years old while she, on the other hand, still can’t utter common toddler words like mama or papa at the same age. She can understand when you talk to her, but she can’t respond. Her speech and language development may be a bit behind compared with her brothers.

According to a study, speech and language gap interval in children is related to growing difficulty with reading, writing, awareness, and socialization[6]. The speech and language delay includes problems with expressive or receptive language skills. As a parent, it is essential to help your child in this particular aspect of child development as this will considerably affect him in the long run.

Developing this aspect of your child can begin with sounds and gestures, then words and sentences. My niece is at this stage already. She can understand and recognize what you mean with your gestures. She can also recognize her name when someone calls her but cannot utter any words as a response. It will just be a matter of improving this skill before she can say common toddler words.

One way of enhancing this skill is through the aid of educational toys. Parents can use educational toys as a tool for play and interaction. It can be a remarkable and ideal chance to connect with your child at this developmental stage. It is now widely accepted that a child learns to talk through interaction with adults they spend most of the time[7].

Regular interaction with your child provides an opportunity to enhance your child’s ability to practice their hearing, observation, and imitating skills. At such times, there are moments for your child to emulate what you say or do. It implies that speech and language learning also incorporates your child’s social, physical, and cognitive development.

Here are some toys you can use to interact with your child and help them develop their speech and language ability.

Words Book
It is a perfect toy that enables children to understand what they hear and read. It is also an interactive educational toy that helps children, especially if they are at the stage they want to start talking. It is an incredible way of learning while having fun and being entertained.
Learning Inno Pad
It is a perfect toy for encouraging your child to learn through exploring and engaging with words and fun sounds. It helps your child develop his speech and language skills by engaging with the alphabet, numbers, music, animals, and many other features.

Social and Emotional

The social and emotional skills help a child to understand who they are and what they are feeling. It is vital for connecting and building relationships with other people. It lets them feel empathy and sympathy for others.

As parents, you play the most significant role in your child’s social and emotional skills development. You provide most of the consistent and steady relationship with your child. Persistent encounters with family members and other adults help your child learn and explore emotions in various forms of interaction. Engaging in quality interactions is essential to nurture such skills in your child.

Educational toys come into play where it is a tool to foster such engagement with your child. Simply engaging regularly with them enhances their social and emotional skills. The environment, the quality of relationships, and the communication children are exposed to influences their feelings and emotions[8]. They will grow to understand social interaction and emotional regulation, having experienced and expressed it themselves.

Using gadgets and other electronic toys won’t give them the engagement and interaction with you, as parents, which is significant to healthy development. Here are some educational toys that will enhance the social and emotional skills of your child.

Our Moments
It is a remarkable way to connect and reconnect with your child. It allows your child to vent out emotional needs while letting them do the sharing and talking about them. It also gives an avenue for interaction between you and your child.
Soft Foam Emoji Cubes
It is an incredible toy that provides various opportunities for vital social learning. It allows your kid to discuss and know their feelings and emotions shown in the cubes. A dual-purpose toy that is also great for enhancing the communication skills of your child.

Physical Skills

The physical skills of a child refer to his motor skills or any movement made by the body. Fine motor skills are the small movements involving the hands and fingers. It is the ability to grasp and hold objects. Gross motor skills, on the other hand, involve the action of large muscle groups. It is usually associated with large movements of legs, arms, head, and torso.

These skills focus on the coordination of body movement and improvement of physical senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Developing these skills is essential to healthy child development. One way of nurturing these skills is through the use of educational toys.

Based on a study, utilizing toys in physical activities facilitates gross motor development plus self-regulation and peer engagement because of the negotiations that ordinarily happen during a play[9]. Educational toys encourage such set-up and environmental conditions. It lets your child physically engage and enhance not only his physical skills but all other areas of development also.

Developing physical skills is one of the most natural areas to flourish because it is innate to children to engage physically with things around them. They love to explore by scrutinizing stuff with their own hands, eyes, and senses. Below are some educational toys that will help you in developing and enhancing such skills.

BunMo Pop Tubes
It is a perfect sensory toy and for developing motor skills. Not only that, but it also engages with the creativity of your child by offering physical stimulation. Such also helps enhance body coordination and can be used as a physical therapy toy.
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Design & Drill Activity Center
It is an ideal toy for building coordination and fine motor skills. It also allows them to create and build their design thereby, enhancing the creativity and imagination skills of your child.

How can educational toys improve parent-child bonds and relationships?

The relationship between a parent and his child is a distinct and special one.  It is an avenue for the growth and comprehensive development of a child. It lays the foundation of a child’s view of himself and others, beliefs, values, behaviors, and personality. Improving a healthy and positive parent-child relationship is vital as it offers various benefits in the long run.

As reported in a study, the parent-child relationship is crucial for the optimistic development of a child[10]. A child exposed to a healthy and positive relationship with his parents is better at managing his emotions in the face of struggles and difficult situations. A close bond with his parents also develops his intellectual, emotional, and social progress. Thus, allowing him to show positive behaviors towards other people.

There are no perfect guidelines for creating a positive and healthy relationship with a child. Sometimes, it could be grueling than someone thinks. Nevertheless, through the aid of educational toys, you can work it out to improve parent-child relationships and bonds.

Quality Time

Time is one of the things in life that once used one can’t bring it back anymore. Spending quality time with your child is one way to build and improve your relationship with your child. Educational toys give opportunities for such an aim and goal.

Because of the features, designs, and usability of an educational toy, both parents and kids love it. Spending time with your child through playing together is an effective way of creating quality time together. Interacting and responding to your child will help you build your relationship with him.

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has recognized play as a right of every child for optimal child development[11]. By playing together, you are also helping him to get through the development process at ease. Your guidance and attention are essential in your child’s view of security and love. It is also significant in creating quality time together with your kids.

Below is a book that can help you further in spending quality time with your kids.

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The Read-Aloud Family
It is a perfect book that helps you develop stronger and deeper relationships with your child through spending quality time with them. It also helps you understand more your child and teach them more important things in life.

Learning While Having Fun Together

Kids always love to have fun even though they don’t realize that it is for learning purposes. Toys, in particular, are designed for such fun and enjoyment that kids would want on any occasion. They always have a knack for finding amusement in almost everything they do.

Teaching them to learn while having fun will make the learning process an enjoyable and exciting one. Using educational toys as a tool for such is a great start. Educational toys’ purpose is for your child’s intelligence, emotional, social, and motor skills development. You are not only teaching your child academically but also about the things that are important in life. These are emotional stability and regulation, pro-social behaviors, and values.

Here is a book that will guide you in fostering a learning environment while having the element of fun and joy.

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Let Them Be Kids
It is an incredible book for imbuing joy and an ideal atmosphere in every special moment of building family values together while learning. It also helps you to be more involved, aware, driven, protective, and adventurous with your kids at the same time.

Creating Memories

Play is a vital part of child development but creating memories together while having fun is another thing. Memories last even when they grow old. When they look back on their childhood days, it will make them smile while reminiscing the good times you spent together.

I remember one time when my niece had a conversation with his father. Out of innocence, and I think he forgot what it looks like, he asked, what is a castle. His father intuitively replied that it resembles the one they set up when they were on the beach. His father goes on by saying that they use his toys in building them. With a beaming and wide smile, he remembered its appearance. He went on with his reaction by saying he had fun in the sand with his toys and playmates.

Having such an impact on your child will build a close and healthy relationship. Using the appropriate educational toys for your child will also help you make memories while learning and having fun. My niece always remembers that day they were on the beach, building a castle and enjoying the moment whenever he sees one on the books or movies.

Below is a book that will help you further in creating connections and lasting memories with your child.

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Adventuring Together
It is a perfect book for building a healthy relationship with your child through intentional interaction and creating new experiences together. Doing things with them gives room for fun, learning, and growth.

What are the best educational toys for kids?

There are several educational toys available online. However, the best ones are those that complement the interests, age, and preferences of your child. These educational toys are those that your child finds engaging, challenging and that keep on stirring their curiosity. A child may either lose interest if it is too easy for him to solve and play or put the kid off trying if it is too complex. Therefore, educational toys are split up based on age groups because each stage comprises a distinct development level.

Children are attracted to colorful and bright colors. Most of them, at an early age, perceive arts and crafts to be interesting. Exposing your child to such an environment will help them develop their fine motor skills and eventually discover talents or skills that you can further develop. Educational toys are fashioned in such a way that it does not limit the creativity of your child. Kids have a different way of perceiving and interpreting things when they play or use toys.

Choosing the best educational toy for your child does not follow strict guidelines. As long as it is apparent that your child is having fun and finds a toy very engaging, there is no right or wrong educational toy. One thing you can bear in mind is to introduce toys that are unfamiliar to your child so that you can help and facilitate the development of his skills and abilities, as well as his learning process.

Final Thoughts

Kids always love the thought of fun and having fun itself. It is innate in them to be curious about almost anything and discover the answer themselves. My top pick when it comes to the holistic and comprehensive approach in dealing with such impulses in children is The Montessori Toddler book. Taking part in this stage is essential because it is one of the most crucial parts of a child’s life. Let them explore, learn, and have fun but be their guiding star in achieving developmental milestones.


[1] Gielen, Mathieu A. “Essential concepts in toy design education: Aimlessness, empathy and play value.” International Journal of Arts and Technology 3.1 (2010): 4-16.

[2] Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff. “Why play= learning.” Encyclopedia on early childhood development 1 (2008): 1-7.

[3] Guyton, Gabriel. “Using toys to support infant-toddler learning and development.” (2011).

[4] Guyton, Gabriel. “Using toys to support infant-toddler learning and development.” (2011).

[5] Önder, Mustafa. “Contribution of Plays and Toys to Children’s Value Education.” Asian Journal of Education and Training 4.2 (2018): 146-149.

[6] McLaughlin, Maura R. “Speech and language delay in children.” American family physician 83.10 (2011): 1183-1188.

[7] Bochner, Sandra, and Jane Jones. Child language development: Learning to talk. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

[8] Dowling, Marion. Young Children′ s Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Sage, 2014.

[9] Healey, Aleeya, and Alan Mendelsohn. “Selecting appropriate toys for young children in the digital era.” Pediatrics 143.1 (2019).

[10] Cox, Martha J., and Kristina SM Harter. “Parent-child relationships.” (2003).

[11] Ginsburg, Kenneth R. “The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds.” Pediatrics 119.1 (2007): 182-191.

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Author

Vivian Perry

Vivian Perry

Mother of 3 kids. Enjoy reading parenting books and studied child care degree. Vivian loves to learn and write about parenting tips and help her kids to grow positively with grit mindset.

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