Stimulate little minds with these amazing learning and educational toys, all hand-picked by the team at Mum Central. Designed to educate and entertain tiny thinkers and little learners, if you’re after an educational toy or gift for your child, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve got STEM toys and puzzles, toys designed for literacy and numeracy and so much more. Some are ideal for toddlers all the way up to teens so there is something for everyone.
But before we get to our top educational toys, let’s have a look at why children need educational toys.
Why educational toys are so important
- They can nurture their love of learning by bringing learning into play. Educational toys are designed to be fun and engaging but also to stimulate children’s minds and advance their learning.
- They develop all sorts of skills – literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, coordination and fine motor skills, just to name a few!
- They encourage creativity and concentration. Many educational toys are designed to inspire kids to use their imaginations and think outside the box.
- They encourage both independent and social play. Educational toys can be ideal for both quiet and independent learning as well as group or social work. For example, puzzles are perfect to do alone or as part of a team.
- They can make kids question how it works. This is an important one. Look for educational toys that encourage them to ask “how” and “why”. Experiment and science kits are ideal for this.
- They encourage exploration of the real world. A great educational toy will motivate your child to explore more in real life. Again, science kits are a perfect stepping stone for this.
What to look for in an educational toy
- Challenging, but not frustrating. Educational toys that are too hard to build or do can lead to frustration. A good rule of them is to always check the recommended age to ensure you’re buying for the right ability.
- Matches your child’s interests and abilities. For example, if your child loves cars, look for a toy that allows them to learn about the various car parts or teaches road rules, perhaps.
- Something that interests you too! After all, the best educational toy is you by their side so look for toys that you’d like to do too.
- Open-ended. Open-ended toys like blocks, building bricks, and even arts and crafts materials are ideal because they can be used in different ways and over and over again.
- Matches the curriculum. Consider what your child is learning in school (or kinder). If your little one is learning about sight words, a sight word board game is a great choice.
- Stimulates all senses. Sensory toys make excellent educational toys including things like Play-Doh, slime, musical instruments, and Kinetic Sand.
OUR TOP EDUCATIONAL TOYS FOR 2021
Ready for Mum Central’s picks for the best educational toys? Let’s get this learning party started!
For older kids
For older kids
Australian Geographic Science Kits
WHERE TO BUY: Catch, The Iconic, Kidstuff, Mr Toys Toyworld, QBD, Spotlight and all good toy retailers. See more at U. Games Australia
PRICE: RRP $25.00 – $60.00
Let’s start with one of the top STEM picks by one of the leading names in learning – Australian Geographic. These Science Kits are designed by Australian science educators and come with multiple activities within each kit.
All experiments are high quality and stringently tested, plus heaps of fun! Explore the wonderful world of biology, environmental and earth science, chemistry, forensics and physics. These make a great educational gift option too!
Rubik’s Cube 3 x 3
WHERE TO BUY: Big W, Kmart, Target, Myer, Mr Toys Toyworld, Casey’s Toys, Toymate and other selected retailers
PRICE: RRP $16.99
Is there any toy on the market more iconic than the Rubik’s Cube? It’s been a classic since 1980 and continues to challenge children and adults.
The Rubik’s Cube is a colour-matching puzzle that’s a great mental challenge at home or on the move. Turn and twist the sides of the Cube so that each of the six faces only has one colour.
There are over 43 quintillion moves possible – yes that’s quintillion – but only one solution. Can you figure it out? How about your kids? This is a great educational toy for the whole family, especially if you love a challenge!
Smithsonian STEM Science Kits
WHERE TO BUY: Big W, Catch.com.au, Gift Playground, Toys ‘R Us and Toy World
PRICE: RRP $15.00 for regular size, $12.00 for micro
Discover a world of adventure and wonder with the Smithsonian Science Kits! Designed by scientists with the aim of encouraging enquiring minds of the future today, there are several kits to collect, all of which will challenge your budding scientist.
Great for at-home experiments, these kits explore several science subjects including astronomy, geology, physics and more. They come in both regular and micro sizes and include Rocket Science, Magic Rocks, Dino Digs, Rock n Gem, Motorworks, Mega Science Lab and 3D Hanging Solar System.
MEL Science Subscription
WHERE TO BUY: MEL Science
PRICE: Starting at $54.60 per month
MEL Science offers a subscription service that delivers up to three different science experiments every month. Best of all, they’re delivered straight to your door! How cool, right?!
Choose from various subscription packages such as MEL Chemistry (suitable for 10-16+) and MEL Kids (suitable for 5-9+). Along with the first set, kids also receive a Starter Kit, including reusable lab equipment and a VR headset. Kids will also get access to the MEL Kids mobile app with augmented reality lessons.
WHERE TO BUY: Big W, Kidstuff, Kmart, Mr Toys Toyworld, Officeworks, Spotlight, Casey’s Toys, Toymate and other selected retailers.
PRICE: $39.99 (for sound and light characters)
AGES: 4-7 years (can do it with help), 8+ (can do it on their own)
These cute little robots take robotics to the next level and combine hands-on learning and real play value. Kids can build their own robotic pet night light and discover features including light colours, sensors, and refractions. There are heaps of awesome pets in the Build-a-Bot range including bugs, unicorns, ponies and even a snow leopard. There is also now a PAW Patrol version and keep an eye out for the new Colour ‘n Create styles to be released shortly.
LeapFrog Magic Adventures Globe
WHERE TO BUY: Big W, Target, Myer, good toy stores and online retailers
A great educational toy for young the LeapFrog Magic Adventures Globe allows your kids to travel the world and experience new places from the comfort of home.
Using the stylus, your little explorer can tap on the 26cm interactive learning globe and experience new places, languages, cultures, animals, geography, habitats, and more through high-quality BBC videos.
The Magic Adventures Globe comes with an integrated video screen, five hours of videos to explore, and three interactive games called Around the World, Quiz Show and Where in the World.
For younger kids
Aussie Road Signs
WHERE TO BUY: Lucas Love Cars
With so many cars on the road, it is important to teach kids about road safety. Add some road rules to pretend play with this large assortment of wooden road and traffic signs. With Aussie Road Signs, kids will recognise the signs they see in their local neighbourhood and be able to incorporate these important road safety lessons into everyday imaginative play.
We just love this idea, and it’s a perfect gift for any car or train-obsessed child! Check out all the beautiful educational toys at Lucas Loves Cars.
WHERE TO BUY: Connetix Tiles
PRICE: RRP $115.00
Get those creative juices flowing with Connetix Tiles. Build 2D or 3D castles, towers, pictures, while encouraging cognitive development, spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills.
Made using non-toxic, ABS plastic that is BPA and Phthalate-free, all tiles are scratch-resistant and include ultrasonic welding and rivets for extra safety.
Miniland Pegs Mosaics
WHERE TO BUY: Kidstuff.com.au, Lime Tree Kids and additional educational stores
Build their coordination and inspire their creative nature with Peg Mosaics. We call them patterns in our house and my daughter LOVES this educational toy. Kids can complete the designs or make their own patterns and pictures – so many hours of educational play ahead!
The Miniland Pegs set comes with a transparent pegboard, 6 fun designs to complete and 150 pegs in six bright colours. They also come in 10mm and 20mm peg options.
Design & Drill Activity Centre
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon
Let’s get building with this STEM educational toy for little drillers! Little ones can power up their imaginations and build coordination skills as they drill and play with a toy drill, and chunky, kid-sized bolts onto a sturdy activity board.
Aim the toy drill, twist the screwdriver or turn the wrench from your Design & Drill Activity Center to develop fine motor skills. This clever kit comes with 60 bolts in 5 colours, 3 bits, an electronic screwdriver, an activity guide with 10 patterns, and an activity board that doubles as a carrying case – perfect for home and out-and-about.
PRICE: From $25.00
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon and Geomag World
AGES: 12 months+
Magicube is another educational toy must for your budding builder … a construction set combining the magic of magnets with colourful, connecting cubes. There are several different kits to choose from – insects, vehicles, robots, animals, princesses, castles, fruit, to name a few.
Each set comes with 4 magnetic cubes and six building cards and blocks that all attach through magnets. Kids can follow the instructions to build the various objects or they can simply make their own combinations.
ThinkFun Zingo! Sight Words
WHERE TO BUY: Catch.com.au, David Jones, Amazon, Office Works and most educational resource stores
PRICE: From $34.95
Think Bingo, but with sight words! This is what Zingo! Sight Words is all about and it’s a game-changer for kiddies learning those tricky sight words. Rather than matching numbers, players need to match Sight Words. So clever, right??
The sight words used in this fun word game have been specially selected by leading educators as the most fundamental for reading development. This game was one of the most successful educational toys I used to help my son learn to read – highly recommend!
Melissa and Doug Alphabet Express Floor Puzzle
WHERE TO BUY: EdResources.com.au and Amazon
PRICE: From $29.95
Melissa and Doug is the master of educational products and we cannot get enough of their range. Our top pick for educational toys this year is their Alphabet Express Puzzle because it’s big, bold, bright, and, best of all, the pieces are huge so you hopefully won’t lose any of them!
Climb aboard and discover 26 zany animals on this bright train. The puzzle is over 3 metres long, designed to help little learners with literacy and features 27 extra-thick pieces with an Easy-Clean surface to keep them looking like new.
LOGICO Learning Game
WHERE TO BUY: EUtoys
PRICE: $84.95 for 1 Primo board and 3 books
AGES: 3-6 years old
One of our favourite learning games on the market is LOGICO Primo. This clever set comes with a plastic board, 8 different books each with 16 learning cards for hours and hours of quiet, independent play.
There are plenty of different games to discover, all of which are also teaching your preschooler about colours and shapes, logical thinking, concentration and perception, numeracy, sorting and classifying.
Fisher-Price Slide Writer
WHERE TO BUY: Target & Amazon
A great educational toy for literacy, the Fisher-Price Slide Writer lets kids practice writing, work on their letter recognition and learn how to spell – all invaluable lessons for little learners! Best of all? It’s mess-free and great for home or on the go!
With the moveable tiles, kids can touch each of the letters and slide them around to make a word. Then they can use that word as a model to practice writing, letter by letter, on the erasable screen. And there are printed guidelines on the screen too, so preschoolers know where to cross their T’s and dot those I’s. Love this!
Even more great educational toy ideas
Of course, these are only 15 of the countless educational toys and learning gifts out there.
There are amazing coding and robotic toys, puzzles and games, books and activity sets, building kits such as Lego, Meccano and Duplo, creative activities, musical and imaginative toys that all double as educational toys as well.
You can check out a few more of our top educational toy picks here.