What’re The Best Educational Toys for Toddlers? A Top 5 List of Toys for Dads and Their Kids that Combine Fun and Education

What're The Best Educational Toys for Toddlers

It’s no great secret that I’m as fond of toys, especially educational toys, as my three-year-old son Benni. But the best toys aren’t just educational, they’re FUN too. So I thought I’d compile a top 5 list of toys for Dads and their kids that combine fun and education.

Here I give you my answer to the question “What’re the best educational toys for toddlers?”, all are award-winning and available on Amazon.

The following toys are all “hands-on” toys and no board or card games. If you are looking for educational board and card games, please check out my article about Top 5 Learning Games for Children here.

1. My First Railway Beginner Pack

Manufacturer: Brio

Age range: 18 months and up

Current Price: Click here to check!

This is a high-quality wooden train set, specially designed for younger toddlers from 18 months. Brio is well known for making wooden train sets and the beauty of this is that you can expand the basic set as your child grows. Don’t be mistaken into thinking this is only for boys either, girls also love playing with this brightly colored fun-filled train set.

By the way: I have also mentioned Brio railway sets before in my article about Top 10 Toys For 3 Year Olds And Their Dads because Benni and I really love playing with it. Besides the Hubilo Marble run, that I have reviewed here, it is one of our absolute favorites!

What I like about it:

  • Brio is 100% committed to safety and this train set is no exception. Strong wooden construction, safe paints, metal parts and other components are assured. Brio toys are subjected to 1,000’s of safety tests to ensure safety and conformity to all US and European safety standards.
  • The track slots easily together and there is a fun rainbow colored suspension bridge and one of the train carriages contains beads that rattle.
  • This set doesn’t require batteries! But as your kid gets older, you can buy battery powered trains to add even more fun.
  • Teaches fine motor skills, creative thinking, construction, coordination and physics.

2. Magbuilder – Intelligent Magnetic Construction Set

Manufacturer: Simbans

Age: 3 years and up

Current Price: Click here to check!

There are many similar magnetic construction sets on the market, but this one is a bit different. It contains the regular magnetic shapes but in addition, has alphabet letters and wheels, which can add an extra element to the constructions. There are 66 pieces in total, 22 squares, 12 triangles, 2, rectangles, 2 hexagons, 2 pairs of wheels and 26 alphabet pieces. Kids spend hours constructing different shapes and designs and it is just as addictive for their parents and grandparents too!

What I like about it:

  • Fun and educational STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning.
  • Helping to develop fine motor skills, problem-solving, construction, design, letter recognition, shape and color recognition
  • Made from safe, non-toxic materials that adhere to international safety standards
  • No batteries required
  • Can be played with alone or with others

3. Mighty Mini Band

Manufacturer: Hape

Age: 2 to 5 years

Current Price: Click here to check!

If you have a budding musician in the family, then this could be the perfect toy! A high-quality all-in-one wooden percussion instrument that includes a xylophone, drum, cymbal, guiro and clapper. Hape makes its toys from environmentally friendly FSC certified wood (forests for all forever). They use a non-toxic water-based paint and maintain very high international safety standards.

What I like about it:

  • Beautifully made from quality materials
  • No batteries required
  • Compact design
  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Encourages musical curiosity and teaches fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, rhythm and audio skills

FYI: If the Mighty Mini Band caught your attention, you may probably want to check out my article on Best Musical Toys for Toddlers And Their Dads as well.

4. Design & Drill Activity Center

Manufacturer: Educational Insights

Age: 3 to 6 years

Current Price: Click here to check!

This is a fun activity center perfect for creative kids who like using tools. There are various editions of this toy available, some specially made for girls too. You can check out the available options on Amazon or on the Educational Insights website. This is another STEM toy promoting learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

The toy contains 120 plastic bolts a reversible power drill, a combination wrench, screwdriver, 2 drill bits, construction board and activity cards.

What I like about this toy:

  • Award-winning
  • Supports STEM learning
  • Strong chunky pieces
  • Teaches hand-eye coordination, physical dexterity, imagination, creativity and fine motor skills
  • Kids can copy designs from the activity guide or create their own

5. Mushroom Garden

Manufacturer: Best Learning

Age: 12 months and up

Current Price: Click here to check!

If you ever played the very popular electronic game “Simon” that was produced and developed in the ‘70s and played widely until the late ‘80s, then it would be fair to say this is a modern version based on similar ideas. This game is however directed towards younger children but is fun for all ages.

The idea is that the colorful mushrooms light up in a particular pattern that must then be copied by the player. The difficulty increases as the game progresses.

What I like about it:

  • Multi-award winning in 2018
  • Fun and educational
  • Promotes logical thinking, concentration, problem solving, memory and dexterity
  • Can be played alone or with others
  • Teaches sound recognition, colors and numbers


If you are more of a DIY Dad or Mom, you may also consider building your own educational toys for your kids. To get you started, I looked a bit around on YouTube and found this great tutorial video on how to make a cool, yet simple to build color learning toy for your children.

I think that makes a pretty cool toy for a pricetag pretty close to zero bucks! What do you think?


In this article, I’ve tried to stay away from the mainstream educational toys from big makers such as V-tech and Leapfrog. Instead, I’ve focused on simpler toys that don’t require batteries or are made by less well-known brands. I’m sure you and your little ones will have hours of educational fun playing with these toys and Benni and I look forward to sharing more of our insights with you soon.

Now it is your turn: What are YOUR favorite toys you as a Mom and Dad enjoy playing with together with your kids? What did bring the most value? How and when do you like to play with them? What do they teach your kids? Please let me know in the comments below. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for reading!



  1. My mom is a babysitter. The Brio toy train is the most simple. Children love to play with it and it is hard to break. Sometimes they might fight for it but they will take turns on who gets to hold on the train. Most boys like to have some action type of toy. The other types will interest the girls.

  2. My daughter and I love the MagBuilder. We have spent countless hours building and designing all sorts of things.
    This list is truly helpful for fathers trying to find the right toys the help with more than just play time. I love to get my daughter toys that are not only fun but educational as well.
    There is definitely a lot out there and you have given great recommendations! I look forward to finding my daughter more educational toys from this list!
    Thanks you,

  3. I remember playing with Brio as a kid. I like the simplicity of these kinds of toys as they are open-ended enough to allow for a lot of creativity.

    Did you cover Kapla blocks somewhere yet? These where probably my favourite building toys. I think there’s something about the material, maybe the fact that wood feels more genuine than plastic.

    I wonder where those Kapla blocks went… Maybe I should go dig them up. =)

  4. My granddaughter just lover her Brio train set. She loves watching the cars go together and gets the cutest look on her face as she tries to figure them out. I really liked being able to read through your comprehensive review of these educational toys. I will be checking out the others on your list as she grows. Great web site! Clay

  5. Thank you for sharing this great review on the best educational toys for toddlers. I really enjoyed reading this article. Based on the heading, I was actually expecting to see more of my childhood toys such as a rubix cube or lego. It really surprised me to see modern toys on this list such as Mushroom Garden & Design & Drill Activity Center. I was just wondering which toy was a personal favourite of your sons? My sons have always loved the My First Railway Beginner Pack. Cheers

    1. Hey Glenys! 

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I can see where you are coming for and I can totally see what makes toys like a rubix cube great. However, the idea behind this post was to show some toys beyond the “obvious ones” that kids and their dads (and moms, obviously) would enjoy together 🙂 Hope I was able to nail that 🙂 Benni and I totally love the Brio Railroad – just yesterday we played with it and it was tons of fun. Another toy that we really enjoy is our Hubelino Marble Run which I have also reviewed over here. Make sure to check it out. It’s really awesome!

      All the best and much love,


  6. Hi Chris,

    Seeing Carrera Race Track cars brought me back to my own childhood. I guess there are some toys that never get old ! Lego was around then, too.

    Lego Minecraft looks like a great toy for me to get for my 4 year old grandson. I think he’s old enough for it now. Lego makes great learning tools.

    1. Hi John! I totally love reading these kinds of comments. Bringing back good old childhood memories to adults is exactly what this blog’s mission statement is all about. Now go out there and share these memories with your kids and/or grandkids 🙂

      Much love to you and your family,


  7. I appreciated this list for introducing me to toys I hadn’t come across before. As it happens, my granddaughter is turning one soon, and I’m looking for a high quality toy that is fun, but also has some educational value. I personally love the Mighty Mini Band for her (but will her parents appreciate the “music”? ha ha). Mushroom Garden also looks like a fun toy that promotes learning. I can see that being a real hit with her!

    1. Hi Laurie and thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m so glad I could give you some inspiration for your granddaughter’s birthday. I bet that Mushroom Garden would be great, but if you are really into the Mighty Mini Band, you may probably want to check out my recent post about the “Best Musical Toys for Toddlers And Their Dads“. For a one-year old, you might also find some great toys in my article about “Best Bath Toys for Toddlers“.

      All the best to you and your family. Enjoy that first birthday party with your granddaughter!!! 🙂


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