These days, educational electronic toys can both teach and be fun for parents and kids alike. They can light up, make sounds, move around, teach ABCs and 123s, and more for even the tiniest of tots. But if electronic educational toys have you thinking your little cutie will turn into a couch potato camped out in front of nothing but tablets and video games, think again. We selected some of the best educational toys, from toddler picks to big kid gadgets, that will get your kids doing everything from creating art and playing pretend to loving to read and learning to code. Stock up on those batteries, pack the chargers, and let’s start learning!
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Around the Town Learning Table
Ages 6 to 36 months.
With nine different lights and over 120 songs, phrases, and tunes, the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Around the Town Learning Table is one of the best educational toys for toddlers and infants. It takes kiddos from the zoo and local market to the nearby farm and back home again. This interactive learning and role-playing toy helps teach children things like the alphabet and numbers, as well as shapes and colors. It even features Smart Stages Technology, which helps youngsters 6 to 36 months of age and up explore the tiny town in front of them in Level 1. Next, at Level 2, children ages 1-year-old and up are encouraged to navigate further by responding to and following simple questions and commands. Lastly, at Level 3, tiny tots ages 18 months and older can begin to pretend with fun features of the table such as the play phone in which they can call their puppy friend. Thanks to the optional table legs, this learning table is perfect for babies who are just starting to explore the world while sitting to those who are interested in standing and cruising around. Bonus: The table even teaches baby’s first Spanish words. ($24; target.com)
VTech Touch & Swipe Baby Phone
Ages 6 to 36 months
Whether you’re at home, on the road, or waiting at the grocery checkout, the VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone is one of the best educational toys for kiddos ages 6 to 36 months, especially when on-the-go. Through its two-way sliding feature, 12 pretend apps that light up in different colors, and 15 songs, this pretend phone encourages discovery exploration, hand-eye coordination, imaginative play, and language development. You can even personalize the phone to have your family’s phone number included for fun as children pretend to call home. Easily toss it in a diaper bag, car counsel, or purse for instant entertainment while traveling. ($15; buybuybaby.com)
LeapFrog My Own Leaptop
Ages 2 to 4 years
If you’re looking for an educational laptop for your 3-year-old, look no further than the LeapFrog My Own Leaptop. It’s geared toward children 2 to 4 years of age and incorporates a kid-friendly laptop into pretend play. Toddlers and preschoolers can explore the alphabet, sing along with fun music, learn about different animals with 26 animations, and even learn how to spell their name (parental customization required). This kid-tough device allows children to pretend, learn, and play in four different modes including ABCs, messages, games, and music. Parents can connect to The LeapFrog Learning Path online to see what their child has been learning. The LeapFrog My Own Leaptop is perfect while on-the-go thanks to its convenient handle, packable size, and hours of fun. ($22; amazon.com)
Wicked Cool Toys Teddy Ruxpin
Ages 0 to 4 years
Remember Teddy Ruxpin from the 1980s? This storytelling bear has been reinvented to be more lifelike, thanks to over 40 LCD eye expressions and an animatronic mouth that moves with the audio. Teddy Ruxpin shares his love of reading, singing, and storytelling with kiddos ages 2 and up, and his cuddly nature makes him the perfect friend. Teddy Ruxpin comes with more than 45 minutes of content, including three original stories and seven sing-along songs, and can pair via Bluetooth to smart devices where you can download hours of additional content. Teddy can be played with or without the app, and this cuddly guy can go anywhere (Wi-Fi not needed). For many parents, Teddy Ruxpin is not only a throwback to the good old days, but it’s also one of the best toys for 18-month-olds to tots because it’s the winner of the 2018 Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year. Not only that, it was named one of the top 100 toys of all time by Time magazine. ($99; walmart.com)
LeapFrog Mr. Pencil’s Scribble & Write
Ages 3 to 7 years
Learning to write the ABCs is such a thrill in a young child’s life. The LeapFrog Scribble and Write is one of the best learning toys for toddlers because it allows them to explore various activities that help them practice writing letters and numbers, and even draw with their pal, Mr. Pencil. The instruction is sweet, and the audio encouragement helps kids trace the dots and master the alphabet. ($20; amazon.com)
VTech DigiArt Creative Easel
Ages 3 to 6 years
Technology and creativity merge in this 3-in-1 easel that can turn from a 5-inch by 5-inch light-up dry-erase board to chalkboard to drawing table. Kids enjoy learning to draw with the help of over 100 objects and shapes, write numbers and letters, and get their creative juices going with the dry-erase board and magic pen. It’s one of the best toddler educational toys because it gets kids away from the screen and engaged in art, continually adapting to whatever creative streak strikes next. ($44; target.com)
LeapFrog LeapReader Reading and Writing System
Ages 4 to 8 years
Electronic educational toys typically don’t seem to include a vast library of books and worksheets, but they do when we’re talking about the LeapFrog LeapReader Reading and Writing System. Help your child learn to read and write, as well as build comprehension and hone their school readiness skills with this handy and oh-so-travel-friendly system. Its unique wireless pen-like device helps your child recognize letters, words, and symbols to make words talk and pictures sing when the point taps pages in the LeapReader series of books. Interacting with the text makes the book come alive and not only makes reading fun but can also motivate even the most reluctant reader. The LeapReader Reading and Writing System includes a sampler activity book, learning paper writing sheet, USB cable, and quick start guide so you can begin the fun as soon as you open the box. Over 150 books and writing activities, audio books, music, and more work with the handheld pen. All the books, activities, and worksheets are mess-free, making it the perfect companion for long rides or flights. ($34; walmart.com)
Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
Ages 3 to 12 years
The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet is full of great content, offers kid-safe web browsing, and comes with an unbelievable worry-free guarantee. And it’ll adapt to your growing child because it’s both a toddler computer and a teen computer. Built and designed for kiddos 3 to 12 years of age, this tablet comes with a free year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited, which includes over 15,000 of your family’s favorite movies, TV shows, educational apps, books, and games. It comes in three fun colors, has a 7-inch screen, is surrounded by a kid-proof case, and can last eight hours on a single battery charge. Going to be somewhere without Wi-Fi? The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Tablet lets you download all the favorites to get you from Point A to Point B. If you’re a little nervous about handing those tiny hands a tablet, have no fear. Amazon has designed this tablet to be able to handle four different child profiles, all of which can have bedtime curfews and screen time and content limits set. While in Amazon FreeTime, kids can’t connect to social media, the internet, or purchase things in-app without your approval. Bonus: If this tough tablet gets damaged, return it, and Amazon will get you a new one with no questions asked with their 2-year-worry-free guarantee. ($100; amazon.com)
Alphie Appropriate for: Ages 3+
Remember Alphie from when you were a kid? This learning robot has been reinvented to be more lifelike, thanks to an LCD screen that shows facial expressions, a friendly voice and a playful personality that entices preschoolers to practice the alphabet, rhyming, counting, color, shapes, animal names, instrument sounds and matching skills. Alphie also has a built-in carrying handle and space to store the 30 included cards on the back of the toy when not in use.
Playskool Alphie, $35.53
LeapFrog Tag Reading System Appropriate for: Ages 4+
Tag is a wireless hand held pen-like device that uses an infrared camera to recognize letters, words and symbols to make words talk and pictures sing when the point taps pages in the Tag hardcover books. Interacting with the text makes the book come alive and not only makes reading fun but can also motivate even the most reluctant reader.
LeapFrog Explorer Appropriate for: Ages 4+
The latest learning gadget from LeapFrog serves as a mobile hub for downloadable Leaplet Learning Apps, which include eBooks, video, games and flash cards featuring favorite characters that can help motivate a child to learn. Games auto-adjust during play according to a child's needs and skills, and add-ons such as a camera can be purchased to add bonus functionality to the device. Parents can track progress towards achieving learning goals by connecting the Explorer to The LeapFrog Learning Path online.
Loopz Appropriate for: Ages 7+
Remember Simon? Loopz is an updated twist on the same concept, as one or more players use memory and quick thinking to wave hands through the loops in the correct sequence. Embedded motion sensors, lights, music and seven different active games make this game a blast for kids and adults.
Loopz Game, $29.99