Christmas Gift List - Best Educational Toys for Toddlers


This year for Christmas we are really focusing on buying toys for Ethan that have the most educational value, and to balance out the toys that he already has.  We've been very lucky throughout the year to receive some fantastic toys to review, as well as buying lots of toys and all the toys that Ethan has received as gifts from family and friends.  We now have a house full of toys, so we really have to be choosy about what we buy Ethan from now on.  We've compiled a list of all of our favourite educational toys and divided into the different areas of learning. We are aiming to buy things for Ethan this year that cover all of the areas to help him to develop in a variety of ways.

Communication, Language and Literacy Toys

LeapFrog Leap Reader
We recently reviewed the Leap Reader (click above for review) and really enjoyed it.  It makes books come to life and could really help early readers to improve and increase their knowledge.  There is also a Junior Leap Reader that is available for younger children who are not yet reading, which we have not tried but looks to be equally as good.

A bit obvious really, but we are absolutely obsessed with books!  Ethan is constantly bringing books over to us from his bookshelf to read to him.  His current favourites would have to be The Tiger Who Came to Tea, The Gruffalo, Peepo, and The Jungle Book, but it changes all the time.  He'll be getting 12 books in the lead up to Christmas as well as a few new books on Christmas day, I just can't help myself!

LeapFrog Scribble & Write
We reviewed the Scribble & Write (click above for a link to the review) and Ethan has played with it every day since then.  It's great because it's small and portable, we can bring it in the car and to friends' houses.  Ethan loves to try to write the letters on the screen, and even though he's not yet at a stage to start writing properly he is really enjoying having a go.

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy Toys

Counting & Numbers
Learning Resources - Snap n Learn Counting Elephants
We reviewed these elephants back in June, and Ethan still really enjoys playing with them. Please read the review (click above) for all the details of how they can be used in a variety of ways for counting and number recognition, learning colours and sizes.

Number Puzzles
Ethan has a few different number puzzles that he's received as gifts, they are great because they are helping him to learn to count the number of objects as well as learning to recognise the numerals.

Ethan has a variety of different shape sorters that he still enjoys playing with, in varying degrees of difficulty.  They are great for identifying shapes as well as matching the shape to the corresponding opening.

Creative Development Toys

Drawing, Painting and Making other Creations
Art Supplies
We have many art supplies that we absolutely love; Crayola paints, Melissa & Doug paintbrushes, Crayola crayons and markers, and a variety of other bits that we pick up all over the place for general crafting.  For non-messy creating we love the Aqua Doodle and magic drawing pads, brilliant inventions for travel and days when you just don't feel like cleaning up paint and glitter!

Musical Instruments
Ethan could never have too many musical instruments!  He has a little guitar / ukelele that he loves (see our post about it here) as well as a variety of shakers, a xylophone, drums and tambourines.  

Role Play
Dressing Up Clothes
Ethan has got lots of dressing up hats (no outfits yet as most are from ages 3 and up) but he does love his hats!  We found a pirate hat, policeman hat, fireman hat, construction hat, and cowboy hat at the pound shop and have collected various others along the way.  

Physical Development Toys

Fine Motor Skills
Learning Resources - Gears! Gears! Gears! - Movin' Monkeys
We recently reviewed the Movin Monkeys Gears set (click above to see the review) and really like it.  It is aimed at older children, but Ethan loves turning the gears and watching them all move.  Building toys like this are great for fine motor skills as children have to place things in specific places and often snap them into place to be able to build.  (Lego and wooden building blocks are also great for this, and are favourites in our house)

Gross Motor Skills
Mini Micro Scooter
Ethan got the Mini Micro Scooter from Santa last Christmas.  It's great because it comes with the seat for him to use now while he's little, and then we can convert the handle and take the seat off when he's a bit older and able to use a proper scooter.  It's great for his coordination as he learns to push along with his feet to make the scooter go.  Ethan absolutely loves his!

Personal, Social and Emotional Development Toys

Zapf Creation - Baby Born Interactive
We recently reviewed the Baby Born Interactive (click above for the review) because I wanted to prepare Ethan to be a big brother.  It would also be really helpful to teach children to play gently and how to use the potty.  Ethan really likes his and picks up the 'baby' all the time to give it cuddles and feed it, it's really sweet.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World Toys

Galt Toys - Where's my Mummy?
We reviewed the Where's my Mummy? game (click above to see the review) and absolutely loved it.  It's a perfect first game for toddlers, to teach them about turn taking as well as mother and baby animals.

Kindle Fire HDX
We just got the new Kindle Fire HDX to review the other day (click above for review) and I'm adding it to the list just in case you're looking for a tablet for another member of the family, and thinking that you might like something that your toddler can play with as well.  Because of the Kindle Free Time feature, I think it makes an excellent choice of tablet that the whole family can use.

This year Ethan has asked Santa for a camera, and that will be his main present as he does love photos and I think he'll really like having his own camera (as I'm always taking photos of him and he's trying to grab my camera!)  We can't wait for Christmas this year it's going to be fantastic, hope yours is too :)

* This post contains reviews of toys that we were given for free from various companies, as well as toys that we purchased ourselves.  There are also affiliate links.  To read more about reviews on the blog please click here *

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