Kids and toys go hand in hand. But how can you ensure playtime is filled with fun and educational value that can help with your child’s development? Here’s where educational toys come in! Find out more about educational toys and discover some of the best toys for kids 3-year-olds and below.
What are educational toys for kids?
Let’s be honest, even Barbie dolls and toy cars are educational in one way or another. Think pretend play, fine motor skills development and creativity enhancement. However, as parents, we feel better keeping our kids engaged in educational toys that are specially designed with overt education value. Educational toys for 3-year-olds and below aim to stimulate learning in a particular subject or skill through a fun and engaging manner. In addition, they enhance problem-solving skills, social skills and help to boost your child’s confidence in the process of play.
How to choose educational toys for kids 3 years old and below?
Picking out toys for kids can be harder than it looks, as toys can be subjective — one that attracts a child may seem boring to another kid. In addition, different toys cater to different learning stages and styles. Hence, a good rule of thumb is to pick an educational toy based on your kid’s age group and his or her personality.
|12 months and below
|1 year old
|2 years old
|3 years old
Educational toys for babies 12 months and below
1. Bright Starts Teethe & Read Toy
Recommended for age: 3+ months
Rather than a simple teether that only helps to soothe your child’s gums, pick the Bright Starts Teethe & Read Toy (available on Infantino Enterprise) that features bright and attractive illustrations! The vibrant pictures in this fabric book introduce concepts such as colours and shapes. This educational toy in Singapore also plays a part in building language skills and boosting social-emotional learning. On top of these, the fabric pages come with textured teether corners and crinkle pages to make reading (or chewing) fun! Keeping your babies’ toys hygienic is important — especially for toys that they put in their mouths. Thankfully, this fabric teether book can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth and mild soap to keep clean.
2. Combi Tag Ball With Sound
Recommended for age: 6+ months
As simple as rattle toys may seem, they help to teach babies many new skills. Take the Combi Tag Ball With Sound (available on BABYTODDLY Official Store) for example. The Combi Tag Ball produces a bell sound when shaken, encouraging your little one to grab, swing and shake the toy. In addition, it’s designed with three baby-friendly fabric types — towel, cotton and satin — so your little bub can experience different textures.
Pro Tip: Parents can help to amp up the fun for their kids by moving the rattle toy from side to side. This enhances your babies’ ability to visually track and coordinate their eye movement.
3. Skip Hop Explore & More Hello Hedgehog Crawl Toy
Recommended for age: 6+ months
At around seven to 10 months old, babies start to crawl and develop more interest in their surroundings. Crawling helps to build strength in your babies’ limbs and develop their self-awareness and coordination. Encourage your little ones to embark on a crawling adventure with the adorable Skip Hop Explore & More Hello Hedgehog Crawl Toy (available on First Few Years Official Store)!
This educational toy in Singapore contains two modes — one for beginner crawlers and one for advanced crawlers. When on beginner crawler mode, the hedgehog moves in a circular pattern and stays close to your baby so there’s no need to crawl too far to catch up with the toy. In advanced crawler mode, the hedgehog moves in a random pattern to encourage your kid to crawl faster and change directions. This engaging crawl toy also comes with lights and music to keep your baby entertained for hours on end!
Educational toys for 1-year-olds
4. Babycare Baby Activity Box
Recommended for age: 12+ months
There are so many things to explore on the Babycare Baby Activity Box (available on Little Kooma), your little one will never be bored! This six-sided educational toy for 1-year-olds is a pretend play toy, problem-solving toy and musical toy all rolled into one. On one side, the little ones can learn about association through sorting different shapes and sizes into the box. On another, there are music buttons to punch for different sound effects and ringtones to enhance your babies’ musical sense. At the top of the box is where you will find a bead maze which helps to boost problem-solving skills as well as hand-eye coordination. There’s even a phone on one side of the box for pretend play! Made from safe ABS material that’s durable, and shock-absorbent, this is an all-in-one entertainment and learning hub for your little ones!
5. Fisher Price Musical Lion Walker
Recommended for age: 6 – 36 months
Gear up for another exciting milestone for your little bub — walking! The Fisher Price Musical Lion Walker (available on Mattel Official Store) is a great walking companion for babies who are taking their first steps. This sturdy educational toy for 1-year-old toddlers will walk your baby through two stages of development. In the sit and play mode, the walker lights up and produces lively sounds and music to grasp your child’s attention. It also features fun toys such as a peek-a-boo flip page, rollerball ears, colourful spinning dial — all designed to help your little one improve fine motor skills and strengthen muscles to stand up steadily. In the stand and walk mode, your little bub can rely on the walker for stability and encouragement as every step is accompanied by rewarding tunes!
6. Fisher Price Tap & Turn Double-Sided Bench
Recommended for age: 12+ months
Baby pegboards are some of the most common yet effective educational toys for 1-year-old toddlers. With educational toys in Singapore like the Fisher Price Tap & Turn Double-Sided Bench (available on Mattel Official Store), kids learn fundamental maths skills including matching, sorting and placing pegs in sequential order. This builds a foundation for future maths skills development. In addition, children also get to hone their fine motor skills when they grab, twist and pound the pegs down with the play hammer.
Educational toys for 2-year-olds
7. LEGO DUPLO Town 10943 Happy Childhood Moments
Recommended for age: 24+ months
LEGO bricks are a staple in every childhood, and for good reasons. Not only do kids pick up fine motor skills to construct their creations, LEGO toys also encourage cooperative play to enhance social skills. In addition, kids can choose to create their own structures out of imagination using the blocks, allowing for freedom of creativity and expression while improving their problem-solving skills. Through LEGO toys, kids also learn simple math concepts via quantity, symmetry and patterns.
With so much to gain from a set of LEGO bricks, there’s really no reason not to get your kids started early on this fun educational toy for 2-year-olds. We suggest going for the LEGO DUPLO Town 10943 Happy Childhood Moments (available on LEGO Official Store) which contains 227 pieces to create two different relatable scenarios — Chinese New Year celebrations at home and first day at the kindergarten.
Pro Tip: Parents are encouraged to enjoy this playset with their kids to help enact family reunions, traditions and soothe social anxiety for their little ones.
8. Crayola My First Crayola Touch Lights
Recommended for age: 24+ months
Drawing for kids is important as they learn to make meanings and express their thoughts. In addition, it helps with the development of fine motor skills as they control their finger movements to illustrate on the canvas. However, creative educational toys (think paint and crayons) in Singapore are all fun and play until your child makes a mess at home. To avoid cleaning up after them, we suggest an equally fun alternative — the Crayola My First Crayola Touch Lights (available on Crayola SG Official Store)! Draw, scribble and go wild, this mess-free toddler tablet contains a sealed gel surface for creative doodles. The portable tablet also lights up with different colours and accompanying music to make your child’s Picasso moment fun!
Pro Tip: If your kids love to draw, these colouring books for kids may be right up their alley when they are older!
9. Interactive 3D Cloth Book for Baby
Recommended for age: 3 – 36 months
At two years old, kids begin to recognise colours, shapes and short words. Hence, rather than educational toys like picture-only books, we suggest giving your child a book with simple texts. The Interactive 3D Cloth Book for Baby (available on MumChecked) comes in different themes such as farm, ocean, jungle and dinosaur. In each children’s book, your little one will find attractive illustrations accompanied by simple words like ‘cat’ or ‘dog’ to help establish word associations.
The best part about this educational toy for 3-years-old and below is the injection of different textures into every page. A corresponding 3D tail is attached to the page of the animal so your little one can fiddle with it to experience different textures and shapes.
Educational toys for 3-year-olds
10. Galt Reusable Sticker Books (Farm)
Recommended for age: 36+ months
Stickers are more than just a hobby — they provide legit benefits for your child’s development. As an educational tool, stickers are a fun and engaging way for your kids to learn alphabets, colours, shapes, plants and animals. They also help your child to practice hand-eye coordination and strength control to set the stickers down in the desired position.
However, in the beginning, toddlers may find it challenging to control their hands and end up placing stickers all over the place. Here’s where the Galt Reusable Sticker Books (Farm) (available on BABYTODDLY Official Store) comes in handy. The reusable stickers in this pack can be stuck on over and over again, allowing re-positioning and shuffling of the stickers onto different scenes. With over 150 reusable stickers, the possibilities are endless with this educational toy for 3-year-olds!
11. Galt Fun Buttons
Recommended for age: 3 – 6 years
The Galt Fun Buttons (available on BABYTODDLY Official Store) is another educational toy in Singapore that can grow with your kid. For 3-year-olds, this educational toy helps to develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and concentration as they thread the string through each and every button. This can help improve your child’s ability to tie laces and do up buttons. As your child grows up and learns about colours and numbers, this button toy set can become a fun mathematical game. Challenge your kid to thread only yellow buttons, or give a specific number of buttons that they have to string — there are so many ways to play!
12. Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Sushi Play Food Set
Recommended for age: 36+ months
Sensory play is important for kids of tender age — and Play-Doh offers this and more! The sensory nature of this educational toy for 3-year-olds allows kids to be curious and explore the world around them using their five senses. By shaping the dough, kids develop strength in their hands that are necessary for writing and daily activities.
With an array of colour options included in the Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Sushi Play Food Set (available on Hasbro Singapore Official Store), your kids can stretch their imagination! While you can enjoy Play-Doh without an agenda, the Sushi Play Food Set gives your kids an end goal in mind — creating a delicious Japanese bento that they would like to eat! The kit comes with all the tools needed to create pretty sushi rolls. Think rice grinder, veggie cutters, rollers and molds for an imaginary culinary experience! Once the ‘food’ is ready, kids can train their chopsticks skills as they plate their creations in the bento box.
13. LeapFrog Scribble & Write Writing Pad
Recommended for age: 3 – 5 years
Improve your kids’ early writing abilities! The LeapFrog Scribble & Write Writing Pad (available on Leapfrog Official Store) encourages your child to practice writing upper- and lowercase letters as well as numbers by tracing the lights. In fact, LeapFrog Scribble & Write is an educational toy designed to grow with your kids, delivering challenges tailored to a variety of writing abilities — Level 1 simply focuses on scribbling whereas Level 2 promotes greater stroke accuracy. Its new instant accuracy feedback mode has been thoughtfully designed to teach proper stroke order and letter shapes by providing verbal feedback and the option to try again. The best part? Your kids can learn on the go with a retraceable surface and tethered stylus for easy portability!
Learn and have fun with the best educational toys for 3-year-olds and below
There is an extensive range of educational toys available, you just have to experiment to see which works the best with your little ones. While toys can help to boost your child’s development, heading out to explore the world will also greatly benefit your little bub. Check out these fun activities for kids and equip yourself with the best baby strollers and best baby car seats to make the trip as enjoyable as possible for the entire family!
This article was updated on 10 October 2022. Additional research was done by Shermyn Tan.