10 best educational toys for toddlers and preschoolers

Best educational toys

Play based learning

We've updated this list of our favourite educational toys and packs to help you get school ready! Take your pick from Numberblocks blocks, fun card games and CBeebies learning sets. They'll help you feel confident teaching your toddlers and preschoolers maths, phonics and more.

As 2020 takes us from lockdown into the long summer holiday, we thought it was the perfect time to share our favourite educational toys with you. If you’re anything like us, you’re feeling home-schooled out. But you might have September on the brain and be wondering how to keep children up-to-date with maths and phonics without having to open Google Classroom (ever again)! These fun packs featuring favourite CBeebies brands  support your child’s learning in school and nursery. Plus, they’re our bestsellers, so catch them quick before they go! 

What’s inside? This neat set comes with 55 blocks and colourful stickers, so your child can build the Numberblocks 1-10.  It’s perfect for fans of the CBeebies programme, and it’s also a fantastic resource to teach maths.

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5

Why we love it: The friendly colourful blocks make it easy to explain maths. You can use them to add and take away, to learn times tables and even to show odd and even numbers (top tip: make two rows with one Numberblock: an even number will have an even top. An odd number will be uneven).

Don’t miss: The new Numberblocks Block Play magazine is chock-full of clever ideas to try with the blocks. Craft a see-saw to learn measuring, play a blocks race game and try lots of fun ways to add and take away. It’s out now! 

What you say: “FANTASTIC. Bought a few different sets of Numberblocks and my grandchildren love them. I am a nursery practitioner and I also use them at work. Children love them and can relate to the characters making maths fun.”

Price: £10.99

Pssst, we also recommend a Numberblocks maths programme below.

What’s inside? This fun-packed set comes with 5 magazines (each covering a different area of the early years curriculum), a pack of play prompt cards, 2 reward charts and six sheets of stickers.

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5.

Why we love it: If your child is about to start school, you might be wondering what they’re going to be learning and how you can help at home. Well, this fun pack does all of that for you – and then some! The magazines feature all of the characters your kids will know from CBeebies, and they’ve been created with the help of an educational expert so they cover every part of the curriculum in depth – including maths, literacy, finding out (science), feelings and creativity. Add in some play prompt cards, a bugs snap game, stickers and 2 reward charts and you couldn’t be better prepared for whatever this year brings. 

Price: £17.99

What’s inside? A good-sized cuddly Mr Tumble toy (who talks!) and 6 magazines with useful themes for young children, from animals to colours and nursery rhymes.

Best for: Toddlers: age 2+. Children with SEN

Why we love it: It’s hard to find activity packs for younger children and for children with special educational needs. These magazines are pitched just right. They’re colourful and clear with lots of fun stickers. We particularly like the numbers and shapes magazine, for introducing maths, and the nursery rhymes one with actions to sing and sign.

What you say: “Son absolutely loves it, so much to do, entertaining, colourful and a lovely Mr Tumble doll. Very good value for money.”

Price: £14.99

Mr Tumble toy and play pack

What’s inside? 108 letter tiles for building words, 6 magazines that help you to teach your child phonics, plus stickers and certificates.

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5.

Why we love it: We find phonics daunting, but this set holds your hand and leads you through all of the letter sounds your child will learn – in the order they learn them at school. The activities have been created by educational specialists and they cover everything… how to say the sounds, how to blend them, how to introduce common words. If you want to learn phonics, you can’t go wrong with this set.

What you say: “I bought this for my 5-year-old as he was struggling with reading. By magazine 3 his reading and confidence has improved immensely. After just 2 weeks he can now read a level 2 book independently and loves it. The key was the magazines took it step by step and with a mixture of stickers, colouring in, letter writing, colourful illustrations. He was begging me to do more in the magazine . A complete u-turn from the boy who didn’t want to open a book.”

Price: £19.99

What’s inside? 52 Numberblocks activity cards with quick challenges, plus 3 maths games.

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5.

Why we love it: We love the handy format and inexpensive price. You can whip these cards out and find something fun and educational for your child to try, no matter where you are. You know that mid-afternoon hour when you’re stuck for ideas? Have these in you back pocket ready for then. We’ve also taken them to the beach, on picnics and they’ll be perfect for a train or plane (when we can finally travel again).

Price: £3.99

What’s inside? It’s jam-packed with dinosaur-themed goodies, including an Andy’s Amazing Adventures toy set, fact cards game, huge poster and 3 magazines.  

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5.

Why we love it: If you’ve got a dinosaur fan at home, this set will make their year! It’s packed full of facts about weird and wonderful dinosaurs – which make it onto a (really massive ) poster, as well as into a trivia-based card game. It covers different parts of the curriculum, too. We like that there’s a creative magazine – a welcome addition to a dinosaur pack. 

What you say: “My son is a huge fan of dinsoaurs. The magazines are great, they gave him lots of fun activities to complete and work through at his own pace. He particularly enjoyed matching the Dino cards and the pull-out posters.”

Price: £17.99

What’s inside? 52 flashcards with letter sounds and words

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5.

Why we love it: This neat pack of cards gives you the power to do phonics anywhere, anytime. We love that it covers so many levels. You can start by using the letter cards to learn letter sounds, progress to the word cards, and then even build words using the letter cards again.

Price: £3.99

What’s inside? A fun and lively matching game with hilarious pigs in pants

Best for: Toddler and preschool: age 2+

Why we love it: Erm, it has pigs – in pants! And while your kids are giggling about that, there’s an assortment of colours and patterns to look for. It’s classic, “they’re learning but they don’t know they’re learning”. Plus, it’s a game – which means you get to have a nice sit down.  

Price: £7.50

9. Numberblocks Maths Explorer Pack

What’s inside? This value pack combines the set of Numberblocks activity cards plus a magazine and stickers. 

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5.

Why we love it: This set has activities to suit every child and every mood. Need a bit of quiet time? Give them the magazine so they can stick, colour and write. The cards are good for shorter bursts of activity – great for busy kids who like to move around. The challenges on them include things like arranging toys, looking for numbers at home and doing simple experiments. 

Price: £7.99

Numberblocks maths explorer pack

What’s inside? This comprehensive set includes the Numberblocks 1-10 gift set, plus a set of magazines and stickers to help you get the most out of your Numberblocks toy. It follows the EYFS reception curriculum so you can be sure you’re teaching children what they will be learning in school.

Best for: Preschool and reception: age 3, 4 and 5.

Why we love it: You can’t go wrong teaching maths with this pack. The magazine activities have been created by education specialists, so they’re pitched right and easy to understand. Plus, they’re fun! The gold star stickers to reward children are a nice touch, too.

What you say: “I just want to say how amazing the magazines quality is and the Numberblocks to build alongside the magazines are fabulous. You have made home schooling my little boy so much easier. He was so engaged when we used the magazine this morning and couldn’t wait to finish the work on the page to then give himself a golden star! Thank you very much❤️  “

Price: £19.99