The best educational games for toddlers are the ones you, as parent or teacher, play together with them. Children can learn from computer games or phone apps, but whenever they’re using an electronic device a part of their brain is turned off. If they’re playing educational games in real life with a real person, they get to use all their senses to learn, think, and develop in the fullest way possible.
What games for toddlers are both fun and educational? Toddlers don’t know that educational is supposed to mean boring, so if you introduce it as fun, any educational games for tots you bring in the house are sure to be a big hit.
For the youngest toddler, there’s the Hello Sunshine Game: a very simple game that teaches your toddler propositions and how to follow directions. The game pieces consist of a plush, smiley faced sun and 18 cards, each with a picture on both sides and describing text. These pictures all have to o with space—for instance, one might show the sun under the table, with the words “under the table’, another might feature the sun on top of someone’s head, with the caption ‘on top of my head’.
The actual game is one which grows with your child, and it begins very simply. You and your toddler pick a card, you hide sunshine at the place given by the card, and then you find sunshine! Once you’ve been successful at doing it together, you get to pick the card and hide Sunshine while your toddler looks the other way; then he or she is given the card as a ‘secret map’ or hint and gets to go find Sunshine. Once your toddler completely understands the game, you will be able to take turns being hiders and seekers.
Another fun educational game for little people is Roll and Play. Here you get an oversized, plush, multi colored cube (the dice) and forty eight cards in six different color groups. The dice is rolled, and the player picks a card which matches that color; then he does the action on the card. The actions are varied, but all fun for toddlers, and this is an especially exciting game to play with a group of toddlers, as in a playgroup setting. It will also help your toddler learn to follow directions, and is a wonderful way to work on color names.
What about educational games for toddlers that one child can work on semi-independently? Dinosaur Friends My First Match it Game is a set of 15 2-piece self-correcting puzzles that will get your toddler excited because he can do it all by himself! Of course, he will probably want you sitting behind him to applaud his every move, but that comes with being a parent. The illustrations are colorful and fun, simple but not overly simple, and the cardboard is sturdy.
If your toddler isn’t into dinosaurs, there are also other options. Some of them are:
These three games should get you started with educational games for toddlers, and you won’t be done till you and he are playing some intense scrabble or chess when he’s in college!