Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.
Learning toys have a special way of making learning fun so that children don’t even realize that they are working at something. A quality learning toy can be used for years and in different capacities as a child grows. The best learning toys for preschoolers are good quality and versatile so that they can be used even as your child enters their elementary years.
Children can and will learn without any fancy learning toys and I fully support the use of every day items for a child to experience hands-on learning. However, it can be a lot of fun for parents and kids to sit and play with quality learning toys.
Since I personally love some of the learning toys that are available for children today, I want to share some of our favorites with you. I have really appreciated other people putting together those handy dandy lists of their favorite toys or books because it gives me a starting point for doing some searching and research. Those lists have helped me find some awesome materials that I probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise. So, I am putting together my own handy dandy list for you with our 10 favorite learning toys, mainly for preschoolers but can be appropriate beyond that.
Our own children have enjoyed these learning toys and based on our experience with various learning toys I would declare them the best learning toys for preschoolers. They are appropriate for both girls and boys, are learning toys with educational value, and pass the 10-point checklist. These toys have also received positive reviews by other parents so we know that many other children are enjoying and learning with these toys too!
Here are 10 Best Learning Toys for Preschoolers that parents love too!
Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie– This is one of our favorite learning toys because it can be used in many different ways. The pieces are fruit-shaped and have different colors. The pie can be sorted by color, number or type. The fruit pieces can be used for doing patterning, sorting and pretend play on their own. The set also comes with large tweezers so your child can work on their fine motor skills.
Munchkin Bath Letters and Numbers – These letters and numbers are inexpensive and can be used both in and out of the bathtub. When they are wet they stick to the bath walls which is so much fun. We have a few of these sets so we have enough letters to create words and names with them. These hold up very well as long as you make sure they are dry before storing them.
Various Learning Resources Counters – Learning Resources has a wide variety of different types of sets that can be used for sorting, patterning and play. While you can certainly use the super sorting pie fruit pieces, if your child likes bugs, dinosaurs, safari animals or something else, you can get these little figures to match their interests.
LEGO DUPLO Blocks – Although Legos of any kind are very pricey, they are also extremely versatile and can be used for years. Our seven-year-old mostly plays with the smaller Legos, but he is more than happy to build with the Duplos when we get them out. We’ve gotten all of ours from rummage sales and have a large bin of them. The kids will spend hours at a time building and playing with them and since we didn’t pay full-price for them, I feel more comfortable writing on them for activities, such as putting the months of the year in order.
Melissa & Doug 60-Piece Standard Unit Blocks – This a wonderful set of wooden blocks that I wish I would have bought sooner. This is the type of set that can be used from very young all the way into the elementary years. Your child can build all types of things with the blocks, from a racetrack for their cars, to a zoo for their animals, or a house for their little dolls there are so many things for them to create. Additionally, the blocks are very sturdy and good quality, and come in a nice wooden box. The children can have as much fun figuring out how to fit all the pieces into the box as they do building things with them. Our children use these every week.
Alphabet Floor Puzzle – Our son learned the alphabet and letter sounds from putting together a large alphabet floor puzzle and pointing to the letters together and then telling him the sounds. We would do this together over and over again and he loved it. It was one of his favorite things to do. Since then we have acquired a couple additional floor puzzles that the girls have really enjoyed. With so many awesome choices of alphabet floor puzzles available you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
The one we have (our girls are putting it together in the photo above) is made by Frank Shaffer Publications and has been greatly loved by my nieces and all of my kids. It really is the most awesome puzzle we’ve had. It is similar to the Melissa and Doug version I’ve recommended and the reason I didn’t link to the Frank Shaffer version is because it is hard to find. However, if you are interested, once in a while it shows up on Amazon here.
Fisher-Price Travel Doodler Pro – Sometimes referred to as the Magnadoodle, although we actually have the Fisher Price version called Pro Doodle, our magnetic doodle pad has gotten more usage than just about any other toy that we have in the house. And since we have many toys to choose from that is saying a lot. The magnetic doodle pad can be used to practice writing letters, numbers, words, to create drawings and stories to go along with those drawings. And since it can be easily erased it can be used over and over again. It saves on paper too which is a major bonus. There is both a large and travel-sized version available.
Melissa & Doug Band in a Box – Your children will get many years of use out of this band set. We’ve had ours for six years and although it is showing some wear our children still use it on a fairly regular basis. It’s especially a favorite for when friends and cousins come over and they can make a ton of noise together.
Learning Resources Smart Snacks Counting Fun Fruit Bowl – This set has gotten so much use in our home which I wasn’t really expecting. I bought this several years ago so that I could meet the threshold to get free shipping on online order (have you ever done that?!). Looking back I can now say this was a great purchase because our girls love playing with the fruit pieces in various ways and also pretend feeding them to their dolls. I love that the pieces have numbers on them so you can easily demonstrate fractions, even to a preschooler.
Little People A To Z Learning Zoo – This set includes 26 animals and each animal has a corresponding letter on it, such as an “A” on the alligator, a “B” on the bear and so on. Children can learn the names of the animals, the letters and beginning sounds of their names, they can pretend play with them and sort them. This is such a fun and cute set and the songs and sounds of the mat are pleasant. Although the mat requires batteries to operate, you can use the animals without the mat.
Note: I debated whether or not to add this item to the list because it is discontinued so the price of purchasing it new is very high. However, it is such a fun and useful learning toy that I am including it because you might see it at a rummage sale or you can purchase it on eBay.