Special Mention

Lovevery Play Kits
Monthly subscription service provides fantastic learning toys carefully researched and tailored to the changing needs and abilities of your baby/toddler/child. A must have!

Early Years

Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether Grasping Toy
Classic, multi-sensory wooden rattle encourages reaching and holding. Pleasant rattling sound enhances infants' enjoyment and learning.

Soft Books
Tough plastic or cloth pages teach babies and toddlers that books and stories are colorful, fun things to enjoy with Mom and Dad.

Sorting Cube
Classic ways for toddlers to learn about size, shape, color, and correspondence. Can you name the polygons? The other shapes? Advanced version here.

Pots, Pans, and Nesting Plastic Containers
Add a large spoon for banging, and kids learn about size, shape, nesting, cause/effect. Best pots/pans are those noisy ones found at home! Earplugs not included.

Jumbo Lacing Beads
Lacing builds fine motor skills in young children. Beads, buttons can be used to learn colors, shapes, sorting. More jumbo beads here. Really Big Buttons here.

Mega Bloks
Light weight plastic nesting blocks, safe for toddlers one year and up. Think huge Legos crossed with classic wooden building blocks.

Large Colored Blocks
Very young children don't yet have the fine motor control to handle a smaller set of blocks; these large colored blocks do the trick nicely in the interim.

Classic Wood Building Blocks
Nothing teaches young children about 3-D better than a set of traditional building blocks. A must-have for young children. Small, colored blocks here.

Alphabet and Number Blocks
Another must-have learning toy. These alphabet blocks teach upper and lower case letters, numerals, and much more. And who doesn't love a good wagon toy?

Numbered and Lettered Wooden Puzzles
Colorful, wooden snake and elephant puzzles teach youngsters numbers and puzzle-solving while having fun plenty of fun. Giraffe combo version

Magnetic Letters and Numerals
Finger-tracing, recognizing and sounding-out letters, and naming numerals are great early learning activities. Classic refrigerator magnets blend learning with everyday life.

Shape Sorting Clock
Reinforces counting, numerals, shapes, colors, multiples of five, early puzzling, and introduces analog clock reading.

Learn the Alphabet & Letter Sounds
A inventive two-stage learning/puzzle game that teaches lower and upper-case letters and basic their letter sounds. An excellent supplement to other pre-reading activities.

A Bit Older

Enormous Cardboard Boxes
Appliance boxes can make some of the best total-immersion toys imaginable. Involve kids in the planning and execution, and it's a fabulous learning opportunity, too.

Our World Puzzle
Toddlers experience delight and accomplishment by completing a large 24-piece puzzle revealing a colorful map of the world with continent names and native wildlife.

Hidden Picture Puzzles
Those of a certain age will fondly remember Highlights Magazine's hidden picture puzzles. A fun activity for building attention span, focus, patience.

Connect the Dots
One of the best ways for young children to learn numbers and counting. Play online or print out worksheets to complete and color offline.

Color by Number
Another way to introduce kids to learning while having fun with numbers. Use on-screen paint tools or print hard copies for offline coloring with crayons.

Tinker Toys
For generations, Tinker Toys have endowed youngsters with an instinctive sense of 3-D design and construction through play. Classic wooden set here (buy two).

Matching Game
48 card "Life on Earth" memory challenge sharpens recognition and focus. Inspires healthy competition. Fun, raucous family entertainment. A favorite learning game.

Magnetic Building Blocks
With this 48-piece set of magnetic blocks, kids exercise their imaginations and quickly produce all kinds of interesting 3-D creations. Also helpful in teaching early math.

Shape Shifting Box
Wonderfully ingenious magnetic toy that folds/unfolds into a myriad of surprising shapes and beautiful geometric configurations.

Lego Chain Reactions
Lego meets Rube Goldberg and fun meets gravitational physics in this one-of-a-kind Lego set for curious and inventive kids.

Wooden Pentominoes Puzzle Game
Puzzle-solving game for precocious kids and parents. Beautiful wooden pentominoes with Chinese zodiac symbols on reverse (a nod to the ancient origins of pentominoes).

Kids K'nex
Future designers and engineers create early works and prototypes with K'nex. Takes Tinker Toys to the next level..

Rubik's Solids Set
Easy, medium, and hard Rubik's Solids. 2x2x2 and 3x3x3 cubes plus 4x4x4 pyramid takes puzzle solvers from the rudimentary to the sublimely complex.