As parents, we often create negative associations between kids and electronics - games, TV, screentime, oh my! The truth is, electronics can also have a very positive impact on children's growing minds when they are used properly. There are plenty of nifty electronic toys on the market that are designed specifically to make learning fun. These are some of the best you'll find for a variety of different age groups.
LeapFrog LeapReader System (opens in new tab)
Best for reading and writing
Both of my kids learned to read on the LeapReader system before they were reading at school. The smart little pen works with specially designed books to help young children learn letter sounds, sound out words, and practice reading comprehension. The books also come with lots of fun games and information on subjects from science to math and beyond.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy (opens in new tab)
Best for babies
Babies love this soft interactive plush puppy. The Laugh & Learn Puppy talks, sings, and interacts with babies with a variety of soft buttons in the ears, feet, hands, and tummy. Great for babies that are just learning to speak, the puppy teaches them words for different parts of the body, as well as colors and songs. Classic kids' songs like "If You're Happy and You Know it" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" keep babies entertained well into toddlerhood.
OMWay Kids Digital Camera (opens in new tab)
Best for tiny photographers
Here's a great gift for budding little photographers that are always asking to use their parents' cameras. Kids have a blast shooting photos and videos that are actually of decent quality. Over time, they will develop photography and creative skills as they play. The best part? This camera is built for kids so it will weather a bit of rough treatment.
VTech Write and Learn Creative Center (opens in new tab)
Best for learning letters
Is your preschooler ready to learn their letters? This cool Write and Learn Creative Center is simple to use and understand, so even young toddlers can use it. Kids can practice writing letters and drawing different types of shapes to improve hand-eye coordination.
Shifu Plugo Count (opens in new tab)
Best for math
Math lovers rejoice! Here's a fun, interactive way for kids to practice math skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The system offers a variety of different games that kids love to play, but there's a catch. Math activities are integrated into the gameplay so kids learn as they play - the best way to learn!
Kidzlane Color Matching Egg Set (opens in new tab)
Best for learning colors
Another great learning toy for babies, this egg carton will keep little ones occupied for hours as they open each egg to reveal its contents. As they play, babies learn to recognize colors and understand basic counting skills. It is simple, but entertaining and effective even for young babies.
Wonder Workshop Dash (opens in new tab)
Best for little coders
It may look simple, but Wonder Workshop's Dash robot is capable of all sorts of interactive activities! Using companion apps, the robot can be coded to perform a wide variety of commands. Learning how to use and code the Dash robot is an excellent adventure in coding and problem-solving.
Electronic Learning FTW!
Be sure to take a careful look at manufacturer age recommendations for each electronic toy on this list. Some are suitable for babies while others are targeted at older children. This will have a significant bearing on which you decide to buy. My favorite is the LeapFrog LeapReader System (opens in new tab) for younger kids because I saw first-hand how much this system helped my kids learn to read. It's a fun, comprehensive learning system that includes a variety of subject matter besides just reading.
If you're looking for educational toys for babies, definitely take a look at Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy (opens in new tab) because it's entertaining and encourages little ones to start speaking. It's also super cute!