Toddlers are interesting people. They are always psyched about literally everything, which is fascinatingly funny. You can harness their natural eagerness to explore and learn stuff to set the foundation for excellent social skills.
These interactive toys are cleverly designed to engage all the senses of your kids which is very important in this early developmental stage. A lot of interactive toys require them to team up and take turns which encourages them to effectively communicate with other kids.
I’m a big fan of toys that allow the kids to match patterns, identify shapes, and recognize colors will hone their cognitive abilities.
To help you pick the perfect interactive toy for your preschooler, I have carefully vetted a bunch of options and narrowed it down to 8 options.
Reviews of the Best Interactive Toys for Toddlers in 2021: Top 8 Picks
If you are here for a quick suggestion, I’m more than happy to oblige. Here are the highlights that will hopefully nudge you in the right direction (keep scrolling if you intend to do a deep research to ensure you’re getting the right kind of toy for your tot) –
- Best Overall: BEST LEARNING Mushroom Garden
- Best Whack-a-mole Toy: BEST LEARNING Whack and Learn Mole
- Best Toy for Social and Emotional Development for Toddlers: BEST LEARNING My Spin & Learn Steering Wheel
- Best Toy for Teaching Letter Recognition and Word Association: Just Smarty Electronic Interactive Toy
- Best Robot Toy for Toddlers: AT Educational Robotic Interactive Learning Toys
- Best Geography Learning Toy for Kids: BEST LEARNING i-Poster My USA
- Best Toy for Homeschooling: Osmo – Genius Words
- Best Toys for Group Playing: YEZI Store Car Adventure Toy
1. BEST LEARNING Mushroom Garden- Best Overall
Interactive educational toys like Mushroom Garden are designed with clever tech to make learning fun. This one has four modes – color, number, music, and QnA games. All the modes and settings can be controlled by the central mushroom.
There are icons for every mode which lit up, followed by a woman’s voice announcing the mode when you tap each icon. My personal favorite will have to be the music mode in which all the mushrooms act like a piano.
There are even two volume levels to choose from, which is a huge relief since these toys can get pretty loud. Let’s face it, kids don’t possess a great attention span (can you blame them), so the music does help to make sure they don’t lose interest quickly while learning the colors and numbers.
The colors of the mushrooms are very bright and commendably accurate. The game setting (represented by the star icon) might be a bit advanced for one-year-olds. But as they progress, they will gradually find themselves more and more hooked to the memory games.
The learner-centric game focuses on the use of logical thinking and reasoning. Having to quickly find out which color and dot to press greatly encourages hand-eye coordination, which is very critical in the early developmental stage.
Bonus points for including 3 AAA batteries in the box, which allows them to get cracking immediately. It doesn’t look cheap at all as all the parts are made of sturdy plastic.
2. BEST LEARNING Whack and Learn Mole – Best Whack-a-mole Toy
The next entry on this list is a multi-functional interactive toy that acts as a soft, color-changing night light and lullaby player. The Sleep Music Mode plays soothing classical music instead of those annoyingly loud and short blips commonly found in kid’s toys.
Shaped light Kung-Fu Panda, this beautiful-looking toy uses lights and songs to teach alphabets, colors, and numbers. It’s much easier to memorize and process learning tasks with music. It also has a bunch of
Nonetheless, the most interesting aspect of this whack-a-mole toy is (unsurprisingly) the whacking part. Kids love whacking stuff and this toy actively encourages them to whack it to change the sounds and colors in an effort to develop fine motor skills.
It also has a gaming mode involving simple questions about colors and numbers – something preschoolers will highly benefit from. Included AA batteries in the box are always a plus.
The design is as good as it can get. The plastic used in the making is BPA-free, non-toxic, and totally capable of withstanding rough handling.
3. BEST LEARNING My Spin & Learn Steering Wheel – Social and Emotional Development for Toddlers
The special design of this toy focuses on helping your wee one with emotional regulation and soft skill development. The different emojis printed on the toy, combined with corresponding songs subtly fosters the child’s socio-emotional development.
Apart from that, the interactive toy also stands out for having super catchy learning songs for colors and shapes built into its memory. On top of it, you can mute the vocals and make your junior sing along to the music to help him learn even faster.
And who knows? Maybe these little sing-alongs will eventually lead him to discover her innate passion for singing. This toy requires the user to spin the little wheel part to light up the colors and switch songs.
Toddlers can spend hours spinning the toy to change colors, allowing the parents to keep them focused while they do chores. It even comes with batteries to get your junior started playing right away.
My only issue with the toy is that it’s decidedly loud, even on the lowest setting. If you can ignore this minor downside, this fun interactive toy is worth every penny you spend on it.
4. Just Smarty Electronic Interactive Toy- Best Toy for Teaching Letter Recognition and Word Association
Shaped like a wall poster, these interactive talking and quizzing toys are a perfect space-saver. The ABCs and 123s version is for toddlers. As they grow older, you could introduce them to the more advanced variants containing shapes, colors, zoo animals, and bed night stories to prepare them for preschool.
If you are a kindergarten teacher or work in a daycare, looking for educational toys that’ll ramp up the curiosity of kids, these posters would be a nice start.
Apart from teaching alphabets, spellings, numbers, it also helps tots to learn word associations to individual letters as well as pronunciation of basic words.
Advanced modes include different types of quizzes about finding numbers and pictures associated with the given letters. All the buttons are solidly built and highly responsive. It also features a dedicated button for music.
The sound clarity is remarkable and the volume is easily adjustable. Having said that, the quizzing part could use some improvement. It just asks to find the pictures of objects associated with a letter instead of finding the letter itself.
5. AT Educational Robotic Interactive Learning Toys- Best Robot Toy for Toddlers
Even though not all kids are created equal, there’s one thing common between all of them – their love for robot toys. And you know they will show real interest in learning when the teacher is none other than a cutesy, interactive robot.
The AT Educational Robotic toys can record and playback short voice clips as well. There are 20 peppy children’s songs saved into its memory and it can do a little dancing to the beats to entertain our toddler. However, it’s the interactive animal guessing game that really takes the cake.
It improves both animal knowledge and cognitive abilities by allowing the kids to understand and respond to the robot’s guesses. There are 20 animal cards included in the box.
The game is pretty simple. The robot will keep making guesses like “is it a mammal?”, “does it have a trunk?”, and you will need to press Y or N accordingly until it correctly guesses the animal on the card.
The sensor buttons on the top let you move the robot left, right, front, and back. The batteries aren’t included, though. I liked the fact that it makes sounds when the battery needs replacement to eliminate guesswork.
It’s a travel-size toy, so you can put in your kid’s bag and let his dancing-quizzing buddy travel with him to the grandparent’s house during holidays.
6. BEST LEARNING i-Poster My USA- Best Geography Learning Toy for Kids
This one here is an ingeniously designed interactive poster to boost the geography knowledge of toddlers, preschoolers, as well as school-going kids. It teaches general information, weather patterns, and tons of fun facts about the 50 states of the United States of America.
And it even has two quizzing modes – basic and advanced to help your junior learn quickly and more efficiently. Ideally, you should also get the world map poster version of this same product to further improve his general knowledge.
It’s a great little toy to familiarize kids with the cities, language, and cultural aspects of various states in their own country and around the globe – it’s a precious knowledge to possess and will definitely come in handy on many occasions.
You can hang the poster to a wall hook or on the floor, making it perfect for tight spaces, daycare, preschool, as well as school playroom. It’s made with thick plastic, therefore, won’t be easy to tear apart by a bunch of overenthusiastic kids.
Also, it’s a large 35.5×246.6 inch poster, so you can see all the states pretty clearly. The 3 AAA batteries it requires are also included to get your kids started right away. Even though it’s a kid’s interactive toy, even adults could use it to brush up on their general knowledge once in a while.
7. Osmo – Genius Words- Best Toy for Homeschooling
Osmo interactive learning games have been quite a rage lately. You will need to separately purchase an Osmo base with reflector (compatible only with iPhone, iPad, and Kindle Fire) to be able to play these games.
The version I am reviewing is suited for both early learners and school-goers. The games are basically word puzzles with the help of the word tiles included in the box and real-time audio/video feedback from the connected device.
If you are dealing with a reluctant learner or someone who struggles to concentrate and gets easily bored by the traditional methods of teaching, Osmo could be just the right solution.
The Genius Words games are focused on letter recognition, spelling, vocabulary building, and pronunciation. The games are short, which is ideal for kids with the attention span of a baby squirrel.
Not just for solo learning, these games can be a part of your kid’s group activity as they team up with other kids to solve the puzzles as quickly as possible.
Having to quickly arrange the tiles in the right order is a great way to boost fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as well. I also loved the fact that it comes with a nifty storage box for safekeeping the word tiles.
8. YEZI Store Car Adventure Toy- Best Toys for Group Playing
This indoor obstacle course for toddlers will let your junior utilize his love for car toys to develop his gross motor skills, problem-solving abilities, and imagination. The two-in-one track offers 8 challenges that are carefully designed to grab their undivided attention.
There are 5 types of cars included in the box to encourage group play. The ABS plastic tracks are well-made with huge buttons and beautifully laid-out patterns. Instead of regular plastic, the cars adorn magnetic wheels which help to keep them on track.
You don’t need any batteries as all the movements will be controlled manually by the kid, putting those little muscles to good use. The only negative worth painting out here is that the cars are a bit too small for my liking.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some of the age-appropriate activities for toddlers?
Pushing ball, playing with musical toys, tracing object lines, finger painting, drawing with crayons, clay modeling, color sorting, indoor or outdoor obstacle course are some of the activities most toddlers would enjoy. These also help with developing fine and gross motor skills, logical thinking, and sparking creativity.
2. What are some sensory activities for toddlers?
Playing with squishy bags, goopy gloop, play safe slime, sorting colors, colorful spaghetti worms, sand art, listening to nature sounds are some of the tried and tested ways to stimulate curiosity and encourage kids to explore the world around them through all their senses.
3. How can I make my toddler interactive?
Create an environment where they can communicate freely and explore what they see. Encourage them to participate in group activities with other kids to build socialization and emotion regulation.
So that was my take on the most well-thought-out, value-for-money interactive toys for toddlers and preschoolers. All these toys are designed to build and strengthen valuable life skills in a fun way.
These will keep your mischievous kids active and engaged, leaving you with some much-needed me-time to unwind and chill. God knows how desperately we need that.
Don’t overthink it. Pick a toy you think your child will love and enjoy watching them have a great time!