Best Educational Toys for 3-Year-Olds (20+ Ideas for 2020)

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Educational toys are important for a number of reasons. In today’s busy landscape, many parents do not have time to engage their children in constant learning experiences, despite the pressure to do so. Educational toys offer children a way to work on their problem-solving skills and learn about the world around them in a largely independent fashion.

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Related post: Best Science Kits for 3-Year-Olds

Our Top Picks for the Best Educational Toys for 3-Year-Olds

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
LogicRoots Feed My Pet Math Games for Kindergarten and up, Toddlers Toys - Number Recognition, Counting and Sequencing for Kids. 80 Magnetic Tiles and Big Magnetic Board
Best Gadget
REMOKING Robot Toy, Educational Stem Toys Robotics for Kids,Dance,Sing,Speak Like You,Recorder,Touch and Voice Control, Gifts for Kids
Budget Option
LiKee Wooden Pattern Blocks Animals Jigsaw Puzzle Sorting and Stacking Games Montessori Educational Toys for Toddlers Kids Boys Girls Age 3+ Years Old (36 Shape Pieces& 60 Design Cards in Iron Box)
Name
Logic Roots Feed My Pet Math Game
REMOKING Robot Toy
Likee Wooden Pattern Blocks
Features
Your little one will have the opportunity to practice valuable math skills and plan out your next family pet with this exciting new addition from Logic Roots
Begin your child’s interest in robotics from a young age with this smart robot toy option
Thirty-six wooden pieces and sixty pattern cards, all of which fit neatly within a slick metal box that can be contained on any shelf
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
LogicRoots Feed My Pet Math Games for Kindergarten and up, Toddlers Toys - Number Recognition, Counting and Sequencing for Kids. 80 Magnetic Tiles and Big Magnetic Board
Name
Logic Roots Feed My Pet Math Game
Features
Your little one will have the opportunity to practice valuable math skills and plan out your next family pet with this exciting new addition from Logic Roots
More Info
Best Gadget
Our Top Picks
REMOKING Robot Toy, Educational Stem Toys Robotics for Kids,Dance,Sing,Speak Like You,Recorder,Touch and Voice Control, Gifts for Kids
Name
REMOKING Robot Toy
Features
Begin your child’s interest in robotics from a young age with this smart robot toy option
More Info
Budget Option
Our Top Picks
LiKee Wooden Pattern Blocks Animals Jigsaw Puzzle Sorting and Stacking Games Montessori Educational Toys for Toddlers Kids Boys Girls Age 3+ Years Old (36 Shape Pieces& 60 Design Cards in Iron Box)
Name
Likee Wooden Pattern Blocks
Features
Thirty-six wooden pieces and sixty pattern cards, all of which fit neatly within a slick metal box that can be contained on any shelf
More Info

Best Overall – LogicRoots Feed My Pet Math Game 

Best Overall
LogicRoots Feed My Pet Math Game
A toy for toddlers constructed from magnets made with three difficulty levels for an exciting game

The LogicRoots Feed My Pet Math Game is built to teach one to one correspondence, successive counting, and skip counting. Best of all the toy is constructed from magnets, which will minimize your odds of having to deal with those pesky lost pieces.

This game comes with three levels, as well, which means that your family will get extra gameplay mileage from it as your little one moves up in skill. Of this toy, reviewers have discussed their love for multiple levels, and how much this toy helped their child begin operating the switch from using fingers and manipulatives for performing manipulatives. We appreciate any toy that has the ability to help children make academic switches like this!

Best Gadget Option- REMOKING Robot Toy

Sale
Best Gadget Option
REMOKING Robot Toy
Begin your child’s interest in robotics from a young age with this smart robot toy option

The REMOKING Smart Robot Toy can sing, dance, walk, and talk back to you! Your little one can practice their speech with it, as with a touch of a button, the REMOKING robot toy can repeat everything you said. This toy provides hours of fun and education, with the potential to give children experience with robotics and advanced technology.

Your child can use buttons to turn the robot, adjust the volume, and change modes. This robot is build to specific safety standards to ensure no small pieces fall off in your child’s presence. Equally, it is only a few inches tall, rendering it perfectly portable.

Best Budget Option – Likee Wooden Pattern Blocks

Best Budget Option
Likee Wooden Pattern Blocks
Contains thirty-six wooden pieces and sixty pattern cards, all of which fit neatly within a slick metal box that can be contained on any shelf

We love Likee Wooden Pattern Blocks for the sheer depth of activities that they provide. Instead of purchasing one puzzle that your child memorizes and then leaves in a closet to collect dust, purchase this option, with sixty puzzles for them to construct up front!

Additionally, you can use the pattern cards as sight word practice cards. For the art-minded among us, you can allow your child to use the pattern blocks as tracing tools to create visual art masterpieces. 

If you find that your child likes this toy, you can extend the learning for some time with Likee sets. This company provides sets that align with a variety of themes and interests and will grow with your child in difficulty as they age.

Best Reading Toys for 3 Year Olds

Best for Blending – Youwo See and Spell Learning Toy

Best for Blending
Youwo See and Spell Learning Toy
Made of long-lasting, wooden blocks and comes with a variety of sight word practice

This toy is a reading teacher’s dream and definitely one of the best learning toys for 3 year olds on today’s market.

The Youwo See and Spell Learning Toy is made up of puzzle cards, made up of three and four-letter words, that are durable and tear-resistant. They contain sight words and words made up of common blends and digraphs, which will allow your child to begin building words that will be the foundation of their pending reading skills.

This product is quality made and will grow with your child. As they begin on their phonemics awareness journey, this game may play more like a matching game than anything. However, as they get older, you will be able to begin practicing more advanced pre-reading skills, such as omitting the first and final sounds by removing the corresponding blocks. 

Best for Hand-Eye Coordination – Coogam Wooden Magnetic Fishing Game

Sale
Best for Hand-Eye Coordination
Coogam Wooden Magnetic Fishing Game
An adorable and simply constructed game, your child will feel as though they are at the carnival with this fun, old school game

The Coogam Wooden Magnetic Fishing Game is made of natural wood and will have your child fishing for all letters of the alphabet in no time. Not only will they be practicing their letters and sounds, but they will be developing their hand-eye coordination as they align the magnets to make their catch.

We recommend you extend the learning by asking your child to eventually fish for sight words, and grab all of the letters they need to construct the word at hand. Up the letters to raise the rigor! 

Best for Low Storage Space – Just Smarty Electronic Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart

Sale
Best for Low Storage Space
Just Smarty Electronic Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart
Better than your average alphabet chart, this will have your child practicing their alphabet long after your flashcard sessions have ended

The Just Smarty Electronic Interactive Alphabet Wall Chart will teach your child the alphabet in no time, as it offers interactive play options and quizzes designed to test their knowledge!

This mat also comes with nine pre-programmed songs that your children can play at the push of a button – they will love dancing along to favorites like Five Little Monkeys, Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, and The Wheels on the Bus.

This toy is a popular option because it takes up so little space. Rather than adding to the bins or making additional purchases that will demand you buy new containers, this toy just hangs on the wall for your child’s convenience.

Best Writing Toys for 3 Year Olds

Best for the Water Lover – Honeysticks Beeswax BathTub Crayons

Best for the Water Lover
Honeysticks Beeswax BathTub Crayons
A great way to have your little one practice their handwriting without going through reams of copy paper

Honeysticks Beeswax BathTub Crayons are completely non-toxic and developed to the grip range of toddlers. They are handmade from completely sustainable ingredients. 

The best part of these reviews is that those who have tried them tell us that their longevity is unparalleled. Get some serious bang for your buck with these long-lasting, perfectly safe bathtub crayons.

Best for Multiple Kids – Melissa and Doug Standing Easel

Best for Multiple Kids
Melissa and Doug Standing Easel
Your little one can express their creativity and practice all of their writing skills with this awesome toy

The Melissa and Doug Deluxe Standing Easel is two-sided and features a dry erase board, a chalkboard, a locking paper roll holder, a child-safe paper cutter, four easy-clip grips, and two plastic trays.

We love that your child will be standing while working with this toy. Additionally, we appreciate that this easel folds into two for easy, convenient storage when needed and the fact that it’s both stable and compact. Sometimes that can be quite hard to find in something as large as an easel!

Best for the Future CEO – VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk

Best for the Future CEO
VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk
Featuring five unique pages, this desk offers a full writing curriculum full of letters and numbers.

The VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk includes a wide curriculum with one hundred vocabulary words, twenty activities, and twenty songs. Additionally, the desk transforms from a desk into an easel and a chalkboard with storage space for art supplies. It also comes with a stool for your kiddo to sit on while engaging in their play.

There are some unique additional features with this desk. It comes with a toy phone, a music display, and a light up display. We love this light up display because it shows the letter or number your child is working on writing with the early handwriting directions they need to be successful. 

Best Motor Skill Toys for 3 Year Olds

Best for Travel – deMoca Montessori Busy Board for Toddlers

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Best for Travel
deMoca Montessori Busy Board for Toddlers
This adorable wooden busy board will help your child develop fine motor skills anywhere, anytime

deMoca’s Montessori Busy Board for Toddlers features all of the colors of the rainbow on a board that hosts zipper snaps, clasps, shoe tying practice, and more. Overall, this toy has ten different busy activities designed to get those little hands moving! 

This product is made from wood and other sturdy materials and is especially safe as not a single piece on this board is detachable. Of this product, reviewers have commented how much they loved using it in the car – since the pieces are detachable, they cannot get lost in the car. One reviewer goes on to say that this toy is actually what convinced her children to give up their iPads on their morning commute – in our book, that is a tremendous win! 

Best for Length of Use – Pegcasso Build and Drill Educational Construction Set

Best for Length of Use
Pegcasso Build and Drill Educational Construction Set
With more than three hundred pieces, this set definitely takes the cake in activities that stand the test of time

Looking for a way to keep your child engaged for hours on end? The Pegcasso Build and Drill Educational Construction Set comes with more than your average peg set. This set features brackets, which allows your child to build completely three-dimensional sets. While this kit comes with a number of patterns for your child, the set can be expanded through PDF downloads found on Pegcasso’s website. 

We love that this toy features a latching lid to contain all of the pieces – no bare feet on pegs during late-night kid checks! 

Best for Kindergarteners – Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie

Best for Kindergarteners
Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie
If you are preparing your child for kindergarten success, this toy is the one for you

The Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie allows children to implement their fine motor skills while practicing early number skills, patterning, problem-solving, visual processing, and more. This set includes sixty counters, a plastic pie plate with a cover and removable divider, three double-sided sorting cards, two jumbo tweezers, and an activity guide. 

Reviewers love the interchangeable pattern cards, which allow children to practice a variety of tasks within the same toy, ensuring that they never run out of room to play with this one! 

Best Math Toys for 3 Year Olds

Best for Continued Use – CENOVE STEM Toys Monkey Balance

Best for Continued Use
ICENOVE STEM Toys Monkey Balance
Combine the love of old school toys with your child’s need to develop preliminary math skills

The CENOVE STEM Toys Monkey Balance introduces numbers in the highly tactile manner present in a balance. This toy improves memory, visual, and spatial processing as your child manipulates the scales to practice one to one correspondence, addition, and subtraction.

The monkeys in this set are all weighted deliberately so as to ensure that the scale really works, allowing your child an easy hands-on representation of basic math operations. 

Best for Addition – Hand2Mind Rekenrek Dry Erase Answer Paddle Whiteboard with Twenty Bead Counter

Best for Addition
Hand2Mind Rekenrek Dry Erase Answer Paddle Whiteboard
If you’re looking to instill school readiness by teaching your little one addition and subtraction, this set is exactly what you need

The Hand2Mind Rekenrek Dry Erase Answer Paddle Whiteboard features four math dry erase boards with built-in abacus beads. The abacus beads are made out of silicon, meaning they will stay in place as your child begins practicing subitizing on their own! This set allows children to explore mathematical relationships, number sense, composing and decomposing numbers, and adding and subtracting. 

If you are looking for a no-prep way to teach number sense to your little one, this toy is the way to go. We love that it is built to begin teaching children the importance of showing their work – they can’t just get away with writing any old numbers on their boards, because they will have to show their work using the beads! 

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Keep the kids learning and having fun with engaging activities. No need to brainstorm ideas or hunt for materials – it’s all done for you!

Get a STEM box delivered to your door for hassle-free kids activities. View our guide to the Best STEM Subscription Boxes available in 2020!

Best Science Toys for 3 Year Olds

Best for the Future Lab Scientist – Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set

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Best for the Future Lab Scientist
Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set
Most recommended STEM toy to promote developing skills on toddlers

If you are interested in building problem-solving skills, fine motor skills, multi-step directions, sequential thought, math concepts, making a prediction and observation all at once, then this is the toy your family needs.

The Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set comes with two test tubes with a stand, a dropper, two funnels, safety glasses, adjustable stands, two connector tubes, three stoppers, sensory tubes with lids, a ViewScope with a case, and twenty activity cards. Children can follow the step-by-step instructions on the included activity cards and record their findings in the journal that is included with the set. 

This toy is meant to be the type of toy that instills learning without children even realizing it. Your kiddo will begin imagining themselves in the role of a scientist without ever realizing that they are doing work. Begin their career today with this inspirational set!

Best for the Outdoors Enthusiast – 9-in-1 Explorer Kit for Kids

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Best for the Outdoors Enthusiast
Nine in One Explorer Kit for Kids
Best option if you want your child to spend more time in the great outdoors while still gaining a great science education

The Nine in One Explorer Kid for Kids includes kids’ binoculars, a fan, a magnifying glass, a crank flashlight, and a five in one multi-tool in a beautiful tin case for kids who are going camping and exploring. We love that it all stores within this classic, vintage-style tin case.

We love that this kit will get your little one outside and moving. We can practice STEM without staying in our seats all day! As you can see, this kit will offer you all of the joy of science with none of the temptation to stay indoors.

Best for Future Programmers – Fisher-Price Code and Learn Kinderbot

Sale
Best for Future Programmers
Fisher-Price Code and Learn Kinderbot
A smart, programmable robot that moves and plays music via a control system that is built into the robot

The Fisher-Price Code and Learn Kinderbot is a smart, programmable robot toy that keeps kids engaged and offers a fun and inspirational way to play. It offers gesture control, intellectual programming, singing, and dancing, and LED eye lights. 

We love that this robot is built specifically to target Kindergarten readiness skills! This robot friend will drill your little one on colors, shapes, and more, without them even recognizing that they are doing schoolwork.

Best Subscription Box – KiwiCo Koala Crate

Best Subscription
KiwiCo Koala Crate
Looking for a brand new adventure for your little one to embark on every month? Look no further!

The KiwiCo Koala Crate is built specifically for budding innovators! We love how well-considered these crates are – each one includes an instruction manual, a book for you to read with your child, a craft kit, and all of the supplies needed to engage in the world’s greatest imaginative play session. This type of dramatic play will build your child’s early literacy skills, so it’s certainly not to be overlooked.

If you are shopping for this item as a gift, rather than as something for your own child, never fear! You can opt to give this item as a gift in one, three, six, or twelve-month shipments. You’ll definitely gain favorite aunt or uncle status with this birthday gift that keeps on giving! 

Best Dramatic Play Toys for Toddlers

Best for the Environment – FunzBo Flower Garden Building Toy

Best for the Environment
FunzBo Flower Garden Building Toy
This toy greatly develops creativity and imagination in children, as they play with this manipulative toy flower playset

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The FunzBo Flower Garden Building Toy greatly develops creativity and imagination in children, as they play with this manipulative toy flower playset.

They can learn more than just primary colors as they build a flower garden playset with a number of details including flowers, stems, and leaves. Folks who have reviewed this set love how sturdy it is as well as how open-ended – they even say that their child’s gameplay never looks the same from session to session! 

Best for Animal Lovers – Battat Dalmatian Veterinary Kit 

Best for Animal Lovers
Battat Dalmatian Veterinary Kit
This portable animal clinic will inspire your children to do the greater good for animals everywhere.

The Battat Dalmatian Veterinary Kit includes everything your child needs to set up their very own veterinary office, right in your home. The kit comes with: a plush puppy, a puppy crate, a stethoscope, a brush, a syringe, a thermometer, a bowl, a medical tray, a pair of tongs, a mirror, a hammer, a blood pressure cuff, a pair of scissors, an ear examiner, and a pair of tweezers. There is a carrying case for your four-legged friend to come with you wherever you go.

Because of this kit’s extensive array of medical tools, people have commented about using it even just to teach their child about trips to the doctor’s office. We can always appreciate a toy that displays some versatility. We love the creativity of this one! Feel free to repurpose this toy to your heart’s content.

Best for Dinosaur Lovers – ToyVelt Dinosaur Play Set

Best for Dinosaur Lovers
ToyVelt Dinosaur Play Set
Best choice if you’ve ever dreamed of being an extra on the Jurassic Park set and want to give your children the same gift

The ToyVelt Dinosaur Play Set comes with fifty full pieces including hand-painted dinosaurs with moving jaws, including a T-Rex, a triceratops, and an alamosaurus. This mat is large enough for your children to stomp right alongside their very dinos while engaging in some fabulous pretend play! 

Your children will be inspired by a set with trees, rocks, and all of the best dinosaurs in one complete package. 

What to Consider When Buying Educational Toys

toddler playing with a learning toy

Different Types of Educational Toys

Educational toys for toddlers can be subdivided by their purposes and the piece of the child they develop. Think about whether you would like a toy that will enhance muscle development, develop sensory understanding, utilize creativity, or develop their intellectual side. Once you have identified the purpose for which you want the toy, find a toy that aligns with your purpose. For example, if you are looking to develop your child’s creative side, you might consider dramatic play toys like costumes or dolls. 

Age-Appropriateness

At this age, children are not looking to sit still for very long. You will want toys that they can rearrange and interact with such as toys with pedals, wooden blocks, pegboards, and balls. However, every child develops at different rates – make your choice based on the individual child in mind, and not what the Internet says is true for every toddler. For example, you might feel that your child is ready for 4-year-old educational toys

Parent Lift

You’ll definitely want to consider whether or not you’ll be asked to assist in utilizing the toy that you purchase. If you are looking for some toys that will give your child independent time while you attend to housework, you will want to opt for things they can use on their own, like blocks. On the other side, if you are looking to be more involved in the process, you might consider something like an easel – let your little one unleash their future Picasso while you observe their handiwork. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What toys are the best for toddlers? 

Because toddlers have a wider range of play than they did when they were younger, you can begin offering them toys with more pieces like shape sorts and larger legos. You’ll want to consider whether the toy has educational value. Can they learn about colors or shapes? With little ones, don’t underestimate physical education – a toy doesn’t have to teach them to read to be constructive. Offer them the chance to use their muscles and hand-eye coordination to begin working on critical skills that they will need for the rest of their lives.

How many toys should a toddler have?

Many mom blogs promote an intriguing rule – the twenty toy rule. These folks posit that your child will be best served by having a small collection of toys that they truly love and that enrich the mind, rather than the clutter of a room full of toys. Interestingly, research backs this – we know that children in organized rooms absorb more information and feel calmer. Offer your child the gift of a clear mind by selecting only the best toys for them, and allowing them to keep just the best.

Do toys affect child development?

Yes! There are four realms of child development: cognitive, linguistic, social-emotional, and physical. The right toys can impact all of these levels of development. Cognitive development is engaged when you ask your children to think. Linguistic development is engaged when you ask your child to talk. Social-emotional development is engaged when your child is asked to play with peers or share successfully. Finally, children utilize their physical development when they are up and moving.

Kaitlin Anselmo

Last update on 2020-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API