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If you have a young child of toddler age, it can seem like all the educational toys are designed for children older than yours. Don't worry! There are in fact plenty of educational toys for toddlers and even for babies, but you need to know where to look. Here are my top recommendations.
The InnyBin is one of my favorites of the educational toddler toys available at Fat Brain Toys. I've shopped there for toys for my kids, and it's also been a favorite place for relatives to buy gifts from, as it offers the option of a gift bag in the shipping options.
The InnyBin above lets your child push the shapes that come with it through the elastic bands of the cube. Unlike shape sorters for preschoolers that only allow a specific direction of shape, the InnyBin's elastics allow flexibility, making it ideal for a younger child such as a baby or toddler. This is a toy that encourages your child to experiment, explore and discover.
Another toddler option for fun tactile learning from Fat Brain toys is the ZigZag Racetrack:
Let's move on to some toys from other great places, and you can always come back and take a look later at the toddler toy collection at Fat Brain Toys.
Simple multicolor name puzzle
A name puzzle with a simple design is another great option. The Wood Name Puzzle for Toddler you see in the image above is from Child Universe, which uses organic materials and safe non-toxic paints. I recommend avoiding designs with complicated backgrounds until your child is older. With any puzzle, your toddler will need some help from you at the beginning, but that's OK. The tactile feeling of slotting the wood pieces into the puzzle, even with you helping hand-over-hand at first, will help your toddler's senses and fine motor skills.
For a slightly easier puzzle with more of a Montessori approach from Child Universe, you'll want to take a look at the Rainbow Stacker.
If you're seeking something your child can do fully independently, you'll love my next option! Let's take a look...
The First Bead Maze from Melissa & Doug is especially designed for 12 months and up, making it ideal for your toddler. There is plenty to do on it that will keep little hands busy. Your child won't need any help with his - he or she will have plenty to do moving the chunky beads around on the maze, and the guided paths mean that your child can't go wrong. Besides moving the beads, he or she can have fun spinning them around too.
When most people think of Melissa & Doug they think of puzzles for slightly older children, but you would be pleasantly surprised at the large number of other toys they have especially for toddlers. I especially love the Frolicking Frog wooden pull toy for teaching co-ordination and gross motor skills as your child pulls it along as he or she walks:
If you want something for your toddler to wave around with their hand and to roll along, then you'll love this cute rain maker from The Tot. It's great for teaching cause and effect as the colorful balls cascade down. Best of all, it's made from sustainably sourced wood.
Looking for another idea from The Tot? I love this Doug the Dog hand puppet pictured below. Hand puppets are a great way for your child to start pretend play. To cap it off, this toy is hand-knitted from certified organic cotton yarn by artisan women in Turkey.
There are plenty of educational toys out there for toddlers 1 and 2 years of age when you know where to look. Above I've shown some wonderfully fun options from Fat Brain Toys, Child Universe, Melissa & Doug, and The Tot, and you can find plenty more at each of those places.