Best Toys for Cognitive Development for Preschoolers in 2023



Best Toys for Cognitive Development

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Seeking the best toys that not only entertain but also foster cognitive growth in 2023? You’re in the right place. The contemporary toy market has evolved significantly, offering a plethora of options designed to challenge and stimulate a child’s mind, all while being engaging and fun.

Fortunately, with advancements in technology and a deeper understanding of child development, 2023 has seen the emergence of toys that cater specifically to cognitive skills, from problem-solving to memory enhancement.

Drawing from my expertise in child development and the latest trends in the toy industry, I’ve rounded up a comprehensive guide spotlighting the top toys in 2023 that are making waves for cognitive development.

Let’s journey through this curated list, unveiling toys that promise to ignite curiosity, enhance cognitive skills, and ensure a blend of learning and play for the young minds of today.

Best Cognitive Development Toys For Toddlers

Editor’s choice

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Hahaland Busy Board

  • Educational Value (4.6/5):
  • Durability (4.2/5)
  • Design and Aesthetics (4.5/5)

Runner Up

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Train Building Block Toy

  • Skill 5/5
  • Engagement 4.5/5
  • Problem Solving 5/5

Best budget

Pipes Bath Toy

  • Skill 4/5
  • Engagement 4/5
  • Problem Solving 3/5

1. Hahaland Busy Board – Editors Choice

Gift your toddler the universe of learning with the hahaland Busy Board! A perfect blend of fun and education, this board offers seven distinct learning modules ranging from life skills to cognitive learning activities.

Every detail, from buckles to buttons, alphabets to animals, is crafted meticulously to ensure comprehensive development.

Whether it’s for a quiet time at home or a long journey, this board promises endless hours of engaging, beneficial play. A perfect gift to light up those tiny eyes and curious minds!

  • Educational Value (4.6/5):
  • Durability (4.2/5)
  • Design and Aesthetics (4.5/5)
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  • Enhances fine motor skills and cognitive abilities.
  • Offers a multisensory experience with varied textures and colors.
  • Designed with child-safe materials, ensuring safe play.
  • Portable and easy to carry, perfect for on-the-go learning.


  • Limited in size, which restricts the range of activities.
  • Some elements may show wear with extensive use.

The Hahaland Busy Board is a great way to help your toddler develop their cognitive skills. It’s also portable and can be taken on the go, making it a great option for airplane or car travel. Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and educational toy for your toddler, the Hahaland Busy Board is definitely worth considering.

Educational Value (4.6/5): The Hahaland Busy Board excels in fostering early learning and development. It’s packed with various activities that enhance fine motor skills, cognitive learning, and sensory exploration. The inclusion of zippers, buttons, and ties is a smart way to introduce everyday skills. It falls slightly short of a perfect score because it could benefit from more activities that encourage number and letter recognition.

Durability (4.2/5): This busy board is constructed with child-friendly materials that withstand rough handling. The stitching is robust, ensuring elements stay intact with repeated use. However, there is room for improvement in the durability of some attachments like the buckles, which may wear out with extensive use.

Design and Aesthetics (4.5/5): Visually, the board is a delight with vibrant colors and varied textures, which are great for sensory development. The layout is intuitive, making it easy for young children to explore. The board misses a perfect score due to its size, which, while portable, limits the inclusion of more diverse activities.

2. UNiPLAY Train Building Block Toy – Runner Up

All aboard the UNiPLAY express to a world where imagination reigns supreme! Whether your child is the next great architect or just a dreamer with a wild imagination, the UNiPLAY Train Building Block Toy is the ticket to their next adventure.

Crafted with precision, these soft blocks unlock a realm of cognitive development and motor skills, all while ensuring hours of creative play.

Watch as your little one constructs trains, tracks, and a world full of possibilities. With UNiPLAY, every play session is a journey of discovery, innovation, and sheer fun!

  • Skill Enhancement 5/5
  • Engagement 4.5/5
  • Problem Solving 5/5
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  • Stimulates cognitive, imaginative, and motor skills development.
  • Enhances color cognition and visual skills.
  • Encourages creative play with versatile block designs like cars, trucks, trains, and more.
  • Educates about balance, colors, measurements, patterns, shapes, and sizes.


  • Recommended for ages 3 and up; not ideal for younger children.
  • Some children may lose interest quickly.
  • Limited to 41 pieces, primarily for building one train. Additional sets may be needed for other designs.

The UNiPLAY Train Building Block Toy is a great toy for children who are looking for a fun and educational toy. It is designed to stimulate your child’s cognitive development, imagination and motor skills. The different colored stacking blocks help to enhance a baby and toddler’s color cognition and visual development. The rounded-edge design is for your children’s development.

Skill Enhancement and Learning 5/5:

This toy offers multifaceted learning opportunities. The blocks come in various colors, promoting color cognition and visual development. The act of building and stacking improves motor skills. The various shapes and sizes of the blocks can also introduce the child to concepts of balance, measurements, patterns, and spatial reasoning.

Engagement and Adaptability 4.5/5:

With the potential to construct various transportation-themed structures, this toy offers vast engagement opportunities. It caters to the child’s imagination and can be used in multiple ways, making it adaptable to the child’s growing interests.

Problem Solving and Creativity 5/5:

Building blocks inherently foster creativity. Kids can explore different ways to assemble the blocks and can be introduced to problem-solving when trying to construct specific structures or when figuring out how different pieces fit together. The versatility of the toy means kids can create a multitude of structures, fostering their creativity.

3. Nuby Wacky Waterworks Pipes Bath Toy – Best Budget

Dive into the wonders of water mechanics with Nuby’s Wacky Waterworks Pipes Bath Toy. This interactive playset is more than just a splash of fun; it’s a cascade of cognitive development opportunities.

From refining hand-eye coordination to unraveling the mysteries of cause and effect, this vibrant and versatile toy transforms bath time into a whirlpool of learning.

With twisting valves and dynamic water flows, every bath becomes a new adventure, pushing boundaries and soaking in knowledge. Who knew getting clean could be this enlightening?

  • Skill Enhancement 4/5
  • Engagement 4/5
  • Problem Solving 3/5


  • Encourages imaginative and interactive play with interactive pipes and valves.
  • Stimulates senses with vibrant colors and engaging characters.
  • Aids in developing hand-eye coordination and understanding cause and effect.


  • Suction cups might not adhere securely to walls.
  • Might be too complex for younger children.
  • Potential concerns regarding durability over time.

The Nuby Wacky Waterworks Pipes Bath Toy is a great way to make bath time more fun and educational for your child. The interactive pipes and valves encourage imaginative and interactive play, while the bright colors and fun characters stimulate your child’s senses. You can also use the toy to help your child develop hand-eye coordination and learn about cause and effect.

Skill Enhancement and Learning 4/5:

The toy is designed to foster hand-eye coordination, a crucial cognitive skill for young children. The manipulation of valves and pipes not only offers tactile exploration but also introduces the concept of cause and effect, as children can see the immediate outcomes of their actions in the flow and redirection of water.

Engagement and Adaptability 4/5 :

The bath toy is inherently engaging due to its interactive nature and the setting it is used in – the bathtub. The vivid colors are sure to captivate young minds. The variety of outcomes, as the child controls the water pressure by twisting the valves, provides adaptability. This feature ensures that the toy remains interesting over time, as children can experiment with different water flow combinations during each bath session.

Problem Solving and Creativity 3/5:

While the toy primarily focuses on cause and effect, the feature that allows children to control water pressure by adjusting the valves offers a problem-solving aspect. Children will need to figure out how each valve affects the water flow. The multiple combinations of play can also stimulate creativity as children come up with new ways to interact with the toy.

4. Tiny Land Montessori Toys

Unearth the magic of multi-faceted learning with Tiny Land’s 4 in 1 Montessori Toy Set. Crafted meticulously for the curious 2-year-old, this set promises a blend of fun and foundational skills. From color recognition to spatial reasoning, each activity is a step towards cognitive prowess. Safe, durable, and brimming with learning opportunities, it’s a toy that grows with your child, ensuring hours of engaged play.

  • Skill Enhancement 5/5
  • Engagement 5/5
  • Problem Solving 4/5
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  • Four toys in one set targeting cognitive development and fine motor skills enhancement.
  • Perfect for 2-year-olds to progress in handling diverse shapes and objects.
  • Encourages self-expression and confidence through independent play.


  • Not recommended for kids under 18 months.
  • Potential for reduced interest over time.

The Tiny Land Montessori Toys set promotes cognitive development and refines fine motor skills through a Color Matching and Sorting Board, Lacing Beads Toy, Shape Sorting and Matching Toy, and Seasons Shape Puzzles. These toys support critical brain development and encourage communication and fine motor development while promoting cognitive and visual perception skills.

Skill Enhancement and Learning 5/5 :

The toy set offers a 4 in 1 Montessori approach, which inherently promotes independent learning and skill enhancement. The Color Matching and Sorting Board introduces color recognition. The Lacing Beads Toy emphasizes hand-eye coordination and sequencing. The Shape Sorting and Matching Toy introduces geometric shapes and spatial reasoning. Lastly, the Seasons Shape Puzzles teach about the different seasons, introducing early science concepts.

Engagement and Adaptability 5/5 :

The 4 in 1 combination ensures that children remain engaged with multiple activities. As each activity can be approached at varying levels of difficulty and in different sequences, the toy adapts to a child’s growing abilities. The toy set is designed to be inviting and visually stimulating, ensuring prolonged engagement.

Problem Solving and Creativity 4/5:

The toy set provides opportunities for problem-solving, particularly with the Shape Sorting and Matching Toy and the Seasons Shape Puzzles. These activities challenge the child to think critically about where each piece belongs. The Lacing Beads Toy offers open-ended play, allowing children to create patterns and sequences, fostering creativity.

5. Coogam Magnetic Fishing Game

Dive into the enchanting world of alphabet and colors with the Coogam Wooden Magnetic Fishing Game! Crafted meticulously with child safety in mind, this game serves as both an entertaining activity and a splendid learning tool.

Whether it’s mastering the art of ‘fishing’ or associating letters with colors, every moment with this toy is a step closer to academic and motor skill mastery.

Challenge, learn, and play – this magnetic fishing game is more than just a toy; it’s a doorway to holistic development, perfect for every curious mind!

  • Skill Enhancement 5/5
  • Engagement 4.5/5
  • Problem Solving 4.7/5
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  • Crafted from high-quality solid wood with eco-friendly paint, ensuring safety.
  • Dual-purpose: fun activity and an educational tool for alphabet and color learning.
  • Comprehensive set with magnetic fishing poles, sorting box, and wooden fish for extended playtime.


  • Might not be engaging enough for older kids.
  • Magnets might lack the strength to lift all fish.
  • Younger kids may need adult supervision for safe play.

The Magnetic Wooden Fishing Game is a great teaching tool to develop your child’s hand and eye-coordination as well as their motor skills. The game is challenging enough to keep kids entertained, yet easy enough to promote confidence. To play, simply find the fish that match the color and letter, using the wooden fishing pole.

Cognitive Skill Development: 5/5

The toy not only provides fun but also teaches the alphabet and color recognition, a key element for cognitive growth. It also challenges kids while building confidence, which is vital for cognitive development.

Sensory Development: 4.5/5

The toy offers tactile experiences with its wooden fish and magnetic poles. The act of fishing provides a sensory experience of touch, sight, and hand-eye coordination.

Motor Skill Enhancement: 4.7/5

Picking up fish with the magnetic poles aids in refining fine motor skills. This game requires precision, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity, which significantly enhances motor skills.

6. Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog

Meet Spike, the friendly hedgehog that’s more than just a cute face! With his vibrant quills and interactive design, Spike introduces toddlers to the world of fine motor skills, color recognition, sorting, and counting.

Each quill offers a delightful challenge, designed perfectly for those tiny hands learning to grasp, place, and sort. This isn’t just a toy; it’s a journey into skill enhancement, wrapped in a fun, engaging package.

Whether it’s a rainy day indoors or a moment of quiet play, Spike promises hours of constructive, imaginative fun. A must-have for every toddler’s toy collection!

  • Skill Enhancement 5/5
  • Engagement 4/5
  • Problem Solving 4/5
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  • Helps build fine motor skills
  • Helps with color recognition, sorting, and counting
  • Easy to store


  • Some pieces might be too small for younger children
  • Might not hold the attention of older children for very long
  • Might not be as durable as some other toys

This fine motor skills toy is designed to help kids build hand muscles and fine motor skills development as they replace the chunky, peg-shaped “quills” within the holes that dot the smiling hedgehog’s back. It’s a great way to help your child develop their hand-eye coordination and other important skills.

Spike’s colorful quills also lend themselves well to lessons in counting, sorting, and color identification skills. Kids can arrange quills by warm or cool colors, work on sequences and patterns by alternating colors, or count the quills with numbers printed on this fine motor toy for Toddlers.

Skill Enhancement and Learning 5/5 :

This toy is designed to hone fine motor skills, with chunky, peg-shaped pieces that are easy for little hands to manipulate. By placing these pegs onto the hedgehog, children improve their hand-eye coordination. The colorful quills also introduce children to color recognition, sorting, and counting.

Engagement and Adaptability 4/5 :

With its friendly hedgehog design, this toy is likely to engage young kids. The peg-shaped pieces can be organized in various ways, allowing for open-ended play and adaptability to the child’s growing interests.

Problem Solving and Creativity 4/5:

While the primary focus of this toy is on fine motor skills, the act of sorting and placing the quills can introduce basic problem-solving. Children might figure out which peg fits where or how to sort the quills by color. This can also stimulate creativity as kids come up with their own ways to use and organize the quills.

7. BonBon Kids Flash Cards

Peek into the kaleidoscope of early cognitive development with BonBon Kids BrightVision Flash Cards. Tailored for tiny tots, these cards harness the power of high-contrast visuals and rapid stimulation to kindle the flames of right brain activity.

But it’s not just about flashing patterns; it’s about nurturing instantaneous memory, fostering creativity, and laying the foundation for holistic thinking.

Crafted meticulously with baby-safe materials and a dash of love, these cards promise a world where learning is as natural as a child’s curious gaze. Unlock the doors to a brighter vision with BonBon!

  • Skill Enhancement 4/5
  • Engagement 4/5
  • Problem Solving 3/5
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  • Unleashes the power of right brain activation
  • Nurture your child’s rapid memory skills
  • Prioritizes your baby’s well-being


  • Not suitable for children over 3 years
  • Only contains 16 cards
  • May not be as engaging for older childre

Designed to stimulate the right brain, these flashcards can help cultivate your infant’s ability to remember visual information in an instant. By introducing these flashcards at an early age, you can foster the growth of your child’s instantaneous memory. The BonBon Kids Visual Stimulation Cards are crafted with your baby’s health in mind, featuring a double-sided film with a matte surface that undergoes anti-glare treatment, ensuring the utmost safety for your little one’s delicate eyes.

Skill Enhancement and Learning 4/5:

The primary focus of these flashcards is to stimulate the right brain through rapid visual stimulation. This unique method aims to activate the right brain, which is associated with creativity, intuition, and holistic thinking. By introducing high-contrast visuals, the cards also cater to infants’ visual preferences, potentially enhancing their visual attention and recognition skills.

Engagement and Adaptability 4/5:

The cards are designed with high-contrast patterns, a feature known to captivate infants’ attention. As the child grows, the method of flashing the cards can be adapted, allowing for prolonged use. The full-color illustrations further add to engagement, providing variety and visual interest.

Problem Solving and Creativity 3/5:

While the primary focus of the flashcards is on visual perception and right brain activation, there is an indirect influence on creativity. By emphasizing right-brain activities, the cards may foster holistic thinking and creativity. However, direct problem-solving skills are not a primary feature of this product.

For babies cognitive development toys see here:

5 Best Toys for Infants Cognitive Development in 2023

Buying Guide

When shopping for toys that boost cognitive development, it’s crucial to ensure that they are not only fun but also beneficial for your child’s mental growth. This guide will provide an overview of the essential criteria to consider and how to evaluate them when selecting the perfect toy.

1. Skill Enhancement and Learning:

What to Look For:

  • Toys that specifically target cognitive skills such as memory, attention, logic, or reasoning.
  • Educational elements that introduce new concepts, ideas, or knowledge or even sensory toys for sensory stimulation and help develop new cognitive skills.
  • Self-guided learning opportunities where a child can engage with the toy independently. Look for developmental toys that can help develop fine and gross motor skills as well as social and emotional skills.

2. Engagement and Adaptability:

What to Look For:

  • Features that captivate a child’s interest and can keep them engaged for long durations.
  • Adjustable difficulty levels that grow with the child, offering new challenges as they progress – ideal for board games. If these can help to express emotions – check out our emotional development toys.
  • Multiple play methods or learning modes to cater to different preferences and learning styles. Does the toy have anything to help with physical development such as pull toys?

3. Problem Solving and Creativity:

What to Look For:

  • Elements that push the child’s development to think, make decisions, or solve puzzles.
  • Opportunities for imaginative play, creativity, and innovation.
  • Scenarios or features that allow the child to experiment or craft their own narratives.

While this buying guide offers a detailed roadmap to evaluate cognitive development toys, always remember that each child is unique. Their interests, strengths, and areas of development will vary.

Use this guide as a foundation but allow the child’s individual needs and preferences, along with their developmental milestones, to steer your final choice. Remember first and foremost, children learn most when having fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some age-appropriate toys that promote cognitive development?

Toys that promote cognitive development vary depending on the age of the child. For infants, toys that encourage exploration and sensory experiences are ideal, such as soft toys, rattles, and textured balls. For toddlers, puzzles, shape sorters, and stacking toys can help with hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills. Preschoolers can benefit from toys that promote creativity and imagination, such as building blocks, art supplies, and pretend play sets.

How do educational toys support cognitive development?

Educational toys are designed to promote learning and development in specific areas, such as problem-solving, language development, and fine motor skills. By engaging in play with educational toys, children are able to practice and develop these skills in a fun and interactive way.

What are some examples of toys that improve problem-solving skills?

Toys that improve problem-solving skills include puzzles, building blocks, and games that require strategy and critical thinking. These toys encourage children to think creatively and find solutions to challenges.

What are some ways to encourage cognitive development through play?

Encouraging cognitive development through play can be done by providing children with a variety of toys and activities that promote learning and exploration. Parents can also engage in play with their children, asking questions and providing opportunities for problem-solving and critical thinking.

What are some toys that help with memory and concentration?

Toys that help with memory and concentration include memory games, matching games, and puzzles. These toys require children to focus and remember information, helping to improve their concentration and memory skills. Toy suggestions include the manhattan toy modeling clay.

What are some benefits of using toys to promote cognitive development?

Using toys to promote cognitive development can have numerous benefits, including improved problem-solving skills, increased creativity and imagination, and enhanced memory and concentration. Additionally, playing with toys can help children develop social skills and build relationships with others.

Our No. 1 Recommended Product

Hahaland Busy Board

Gift your toddler the universe of learning with the hahaland Busy Board! A perfect blend of fun and education, this board offers seven distinct learning modules ranging from life skills to cognitive learning activities.

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