The transition of your baby to a toddler is always an exciting one.
At 2 years old your toddler will know around 100 words, be able to string short sentences together and will be starting to show a lot more independence, whereas 3 year olds may be able to turn the pages in a book on their own, show more empathy towards others, have developed their speech a lot further and may even be ready to start potty training. These toddler years may be short, but they’re extremely important in furthering their communication, physical and cognitive development.
One of the best ways for your toddler to learn is through play, because when your tot is doing something enjoyable, naturally, their attention will be held for longer. Luckily, there’s plenty of educational toys for 2 and 3 year olds out there, so your tot can engage in plenty of playtime, while continuing to learn at the same time. Here, we round up the best learning toys for 2 and 3 year olds to continue expanding their reading, fine motor skills and social emotional learning, while promising hours of endless fun.
Best educational toys for 2 year olds
Encourage your tot to learn colours, numbers, memory matching and develop fine motor skills with this fantastically fun ice-cream cart. The magical ice-cream scoop will enable your tot to learn about different colours and numbers through creating different ice-creams, while also help them to improve walking by pushing the cart around to some upbeat music. With over 600 reviews and rated 4.9 stars, this toy is a must-have.
Verified customer review: “I bought this for my daughter's second birthday & it's been a real hit. Great for little hands to scoop & stack but also learn about numbers, colours & flavours would highly recommend.”
If you’re looking to develop your tots fine motor skills then you need Max the Moose. Watch as your little one challenges themself to grab all of the 12 colourful grabble rings and get them onto Max’s antlers, while building their hand-eye coordination and learning basic colours too.
This interactive talking bus helps to teach your tot phonics, letter names and numbers through four fun modes of play. They can learn the alphabet and numbers by clicking the interactive buttons on the side of the bus, while the fun bus related sound effects and moving doors allow your tot to engage in plenty of role play while learning.
Let your tot learn through the sound of music on this cute and colourful wooden piano. With two musical modes, your child can either make their own music or play along to classical melodies by matching the colour-coordinated notes on the music sheet to the coloured keys on the piano. There’s also a volume button control too, just incase your tot isn’t a natural born Mozart and you need to crank it down at times.
Verified customer review: “My son absolutely loves playing with this piano. He loves the sounds and how easy it is to play with. We especially like the music cards that it comes with. He will be using this for a long time.”
Games are a great way to capture the attention of others, promote concentration and learn how to take turns. This particular game teaches your tot to post the letters through the matching coloured letter box, helping promote colour recognition while also developing their hand-eye coordination. The game can have up to four players, so it’s perfect for parents and other family members to join in too, so you can cheer on your tots development.
Verified customer review: “Teaches children colours and to take turns. Perfect for 2 year olds.”
Best educational toys for 3 year olds
This magnetic board is perfect for helping your 3 year old develop their language and communication skills in a fun and easy way. With 100 magnetic letters and numbers, your tot can learn how to spell, count and string short sentences together. The board can also be drawn on with chalk, so that your child can practice their writing and drawing skills and when the fun is finished all the pieces can be packed up in its compact case.
Verified customer review: “This item has lived up to all my expectations. It has kept my 3 year old grandson's attention and he copies the letters I write on the blackboard with the magnetic letter. Very pleased.”
Let your tot learn about different emotions and how people are feeling by creating different facial expressions on this eye-catching pineapple head. It comes with 26 different pieces, so your little one can create plenty of facial expressions to suit different moods and is brilliant for encouraging them to identify different moods through play.
Verified customer review: “This toy is amazing! Great quality and super easy to use. It's a great tool to teach kids to express themselves and understand their feelings. Super recommended!”
Puzzles have always been a classic toy to help tots develop cognitive and fine motor skills. These particular puzzle cards are also great at developing their vocabulary skills too and letter recognition as they have to try and match the letter of the alphabet to the animal which starts with that particular letter. It’s fun and functional.
Verified customer review: “Wanting something fun and educational for our three year old over lockdown, and these are perfect! Great for learning letters with the fun element of a puzzle. Sometimes we scatter them all over the floor and try to match them up, or I'll pass my three year old a picture and for her to try to find the letter and the other way round too. We sound out the letters and work on recognising them on the pieces. The pictures are clear and vibrant and I like that there are lower and upper case letters. Would definitely recommend!”
This compact game is great to further develop your tots fine motor skills, while also teaching them about different animals, shapes and colours. It comes with 8 different animal cards, which your child then has to try and recreate with the different shape pieces, so it’s good for expanding their problem solving skills too.
Books at bedtime are a great way for your tot to continue learning (and usually makes the process of going to bed a little smoother, if you've got a gruzzly toddler on your hands). The Hungry Caterpillar, with it's intriguing story, fun pictures and easy language, has been a go-to children's book for years. Let your tot snuggle down and develop their reading and talking skills as they point out all the tasty treats the caterpillar guzzles his way through.