20 best educational toys for toddlers and kids 2019

Yes, there are actually toys that can teach kids important skills.
/ Source: TODAY
By Julie Loffredi

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While the holidays are the perfect time to buy your kids with all of the gifts they have been begging you for all year, it's also an opportunity for them to learn.

Whether you have a budding scientist, little engineer, curious bookworm, artist or doctor-to-be on your shopping list, these educational kits and toys will surely get that brain growing at any age.

When we release our 2019 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But prices change frequently, so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.

Educational toys for toddlers and babies

1. Periodic Table Building Blocks

Get a head start on learning the periodic table! This set of 20 blocks contains all the elements. Child development experts also recommend these gifts for 1-year-olds.

2. Melissa & Doug Classic Bead Maze

This first bead maze challenges the mind and boosts creativity, making it a great gift for inquisitive toddlers!

3. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Set

Promote problem-solving skills with this set of 18 wooden blocks. Fit the objects in the right slots to learn colors and shapes in no time.

4. "It's a Busload of Pigeon Books!" by Mo Willems

Give the gift of reading this holiday! This set comes with three picture books from New York Times bestselling author Mo Willems.

5. Teach My Toddler Learning Kit

This kit, geared toward toddlers, has it all: posters, flashcards, books and puzzles!

Educational toys for younger kids (3-8-years-old)

1. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Doctor Kit

The doctor is in! Kids will have fun giving wellness checks to Mom and Dad. You can also add a doctor costume dress-up set to complete the look.

2. Learning Resources Alphabet Island Game

Learning letters is fun with this game! Your preschooler will develop vocabulary skills in a snap while hunting for alphabet treasures.

3. Think Fun Robot Turtles Board Game

Younger kids can also learn programming fundamentals. This card game lets kids ages 4 and up write programs and learn the basics of coding.

4. Little Patient Doll

This toy may remind you of that Operation game you played as a kid. Unzip this adorable character and discover all sorts of organs. The included booklet helps kids learn to identify each one. UncommonGoods also offers a boy version of the doll.

5. Thames & Kosmos Experimental First Botany Kit

Does your child have a green thumb? Grow flowers, beans and cress in these tiny greenhouses and conduct experiments along the way!

6. furReal Proto Max Interactive Pet

Featured as one of Amazon's top gifts in 2017, this tech toy helps kids learn to create and code their own futuristic pups.

7. Elmer’s Glue Deluxe Slime Starter Kit

If your family hasn't tried making slime yet, this kit is a must-have! Elmer's starter pack has everything you need to make gooey slime. Learn to follow directions and experiment, too!

8. Melissa & Doug Smarty Pants Card Set

Great for road trips, this educational card set will keep first-graders thinking! Other card sets for older kids are also available.

Educational toys for older kids (8+)

1. ThinkFun Gravity Maze Game

This maze for kids ages 8 and up uses marbles and puzzles to challenge the mind.

2. K'NEX 70 Model Building Set

Your little engineer will love to snap-fit all sorts of rods, connectors and pieces together. This kit has more than 700 pieces inside.

3. Thames & Kosmos Kids First Chemistry Kit

Introduce young minds to the world of chemistry! This set comes with 25 experiments.

4. SmartLab Lip Balm Boutique

Kids can learn how to create their own lip balm with a little science lesson along the way. Not into lip balm? There's also a Bath Bomb Lab kit.

5. Thames & Kosmos Candy Chemistry Kit

Little chemists and bakers will love to experiment and create rock candy, chocolate, gummy bears and more!

6. National Geographic Break Open Geodes

Geologists-in-training will enjoy breaking open these rocks to find beautiful crystals inside! They may also like the Eduscience Lab Gold Dig Science Kit.

7. Chess Armory Game Board

Older kids will love to test their brainpower with a chess kit. It helps boost cognitive and math skills, too.

Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. Try our interactive gift finder to sort gifts by price, person and interest. And no matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including:

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