The following is a selection of some of my favourite play and learn toys. They are toys that children love to play with, and they also help children develop and learn. We have some of these at home and others I’ve used in school and nursery. Not only are they lovely learning toys, but they also make lovely presents!
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Play & Learn Toys
Imaginative Play Toys
Children love using props in their play, and this Doctor Kit is perfect for stimulating children’s imaginations. We have an older version of this, and our children still love playing with it!
Pretend Tool Sets are great for imaginative play, and this set is ideal for children who like to play construction. We had this in my nursery class, and it is a very popular toy.
This Wooden Pizza Party Set is ideal for children who enjoy pretend play and pizza, of course! It’s perfect for children in the Early Years.
Children love acting out things they see adults do, so they will enjoy serving lots of tea with this Wooden Tea Set. Children love pretending to make everyone tea with their tea set.
Peg Dolls are lovely for small world play. Children can play with them in many ways and act out different scenes. As they are made of wood and painted with non-toxic paint, they are also lovely for younger children who might still put toys in their mouths.
Reading & Writing Toys
This Self-Correcting Letter Puzzle is a fun way to help children learn letter sounds for reading and writing. It’s ideal for preschool & Kindergarten age children.
Match and Spell (and Match and Spell Next Steps) is a fun game to help children learn to spell and is perfect for children ages 4+. If children aren’t quite ready for this, you may want to try Alphabet Lotto to help children learn initial sounds of words.
Washable Window Markers are fun for children who love to draw on things other than paper. My children love drawing on the windows, and it’s a great way to get children writing and drawing.
Maths Play & Learn Toys
Tangram Picture Blocks are a fun way for children to make pictures using different shapes. They can use them to solve puzzles or come up with pictures.
Ten Frame Towers is a game where children can practice mathematical skills such as sublimising, adding and number bonds. This is an excellent game for children ages 5 and up.
This Large Number Board can be used in many ways to support children’s understanding of numbers. It can be used to practice counting, as a 100 square, for skip counting, as a multiplication board or they can also be used to make number sentences. There are many different ways to use this as children grow, and they can practice new mathematical skills.
Orchard toys have many fun maths games such as The Game of Lady Birds. This is one of my children’s favourite counting games, but there are many other great games to help children learn to count such as Counting Caterpillars, Catch and Count, Dirty Dinos, Spotty Dogs, Incy Wincy, and more!
This Play Cash Register is a fun way to add in some math into a play kitchen or other role-play activities. Cash registers are great play and learn toys as they will enhance children’s play and help them learn about money and counting.
Science & Engineering (STEAM) Toys
Botley the Coding Robot is a great learning toy for children ages 5 and up. It will help children learn basic coding, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Artie 3000 is a great programming toy for children ages 7 and up. They can use it to draw pictures, and it is excellent for further developing coding skills and programming skills.
Magformers are a fun way for children to make a variety of 3D objects using 2D shapes. They are also a fun way to experiment and play with magnets.
Bugnoculars are a fun way to be able to see minibeasts and other garden creatures up close. Children love being able to be able to see all of the up-close details of minibeasts. They also work as binoculars!
This Microscope is great for allowing young children to observe things close up! This is great for developing children’s early scientific skills.
Outdoor Play & Learn Toys
Target games are fun outdoor activities for children. The whole family can join in, and it also helps children develop gross motor skills and coordination.
Quoits are a traditional game for the garden and can be enjoyed by both young and old. It is a fun way to practice math skills, and it also helps develop coordination.
Mud Kitchens are great for open-ended play. My children love using their mud kitchen for imaginative play, and it also provides opportunities to develop fine motor skills and practice early measurement.
Water and Sand Trays are a wonderful open-ended activity where children can play in so many different ways. They are lovely for sensory play, but they also offer the opportunity to use mathematical and scientific thinking.
Skittles and Bowling Games are fun games to play with young children. Not only are they great for developing motor skills, but they will also allow children to identify numbers and practise counting and subtracting.
Giant Chalks are a fun way for children to write and make marks in the outdoors.
Tuff spots are great for containing children’s play! They are excellent for messy play activities.
Toys to Develop Motor Skills
This Four Elements Puzzle and Building Set wonderful for constructing and developing mental rotation. This toy can be used and played with in multiple ways, so children will be able to enjoy it for years.
These Large Wooden Beads and Lacing Set are great for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They also include numbers and dots. They are ideal for children in the Early Years and helping them develop skills that will be needed for writing.
Balance Boards are a fun way for children to develop coordination and balance. Children can also use them to make bridges, slides and more.
This Montessori Sensory Bin is a lovely sensory toy for very young children and babies. They can scoop, fill and empty containers.
Weaving Looms are great for developing children’s fine motor skills. This type of activity is also good for building children’s focus and concentration.
Construction and Stacking Toys
Grimm’s Stacking Rainbows are beautiful toys that are fun to use as tunnels for trains, arches with blocks or for balancing. They also have a Pastel Rainbow, smaller 6 piece Rainbows and Rainbow Semi-Circles.
This Fort/Den Set is a fun way for children to be able to construct a fort where they can play either indoors or out. Children can work collaboratively to build it, and they will also need to plan and use spatial awareness in order to able to construct it.
Natural Blocks are fun for children to be able to build and construct. They are great for making a natural scene that children can then use to act out and role play with toys. Adding in some Natural Loose Parts can also stimulate children’s imaginations and help inspire a range of different play.
These Colourful Pyramid Blocks are beautiful and are perfect for children to construct and build. They are lovely open-ended play and learn toys that children will enjoy creating and using in many different ways.