Best Electronic Educational Toys TechnoBuffalo 2021
Today's electronic learning toys are full of adventures, challenges, and fun. My top choice, LeapFrog My Own Leaptop is designed to look like a laptop but holds the joy of a toy. This well-engineered first computer teaches kids everything from the alphabet to spelling and is just as much fun for adults as it is for kids. If you're looking for an electronic learning toy, you've come to the right place. I've tested and played with the best, and these are my top choices.
- Best Overall: Leapfrog My Own Leaptop
- Best Value: Fisher-Price Smart Stages Piggy Bank
- Best First Tablet: VTech Little Apps Tablet
- Best for Older Kids: Snap Circuits Snaptricity
- Best First Pet: VTech Paw Patrol
- Best for Future Travelers: Oregon Scientific Smart Globe
Best Overall: Leapfrog My Own Leaptop
LeapFrog's My Own Leaptop is built to resemble an actual laptop. Though it doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard layout, it does include a colorful large button keyboard laid out alphabetically, a display, speakers, and a carrying handle. Available in pink or green, this well-engineered kids' laptop is built for small hands and growing minds.
Kids 2 years of age and up can use the Leaptop to learn the alphabet and spell their name, send and receive pretend emails, discover the names of animals and new vocabulary words through interactive games and animations, and sing along with 16 songs. The Leaptop is a superb tool for introducing young kids to the alphabet, words, and computer literacy.
- Big buttons are easy to press
- A good introduction to computers
- Games and activities are fun and challenging
- Helpful carrying handle
- The screen isn't backlit
- Volume is loud
Best Value: Fisher-Price Smart Stages Piggy Bank
Part of the wildly popular Laugh & Learn line from Fisher-Price, the Smart Stages Piggy Bank is structured to help your child learn at their own pace. Level one, best for most babies 6-months and older, sparks curiosity with activities that encourage interaction. Pushing on the pig's nose, for example, causes a door to open or songs to play. In level two, geared toward children older than 1-year, kids develop counting skills, learn Spanish words, and memorize songs about colors and numbers.
This Piggy Bank includes 10 brightly colored coins that display animals on one side and numbers on the other. The pig can also can play more than 40 sing-along songs, say phrases in English and Spanish, teach counting and thinking skills, and help in the development of hand-eye coordination.
- Excellent for introducing kids to Spanish
- Young children learn at their own pace
- Good for hand-eye coordination
- Priced right
- Goes through batteries quickly
- Phrases tend to repeat often
Best First Tablet: VTech Little Apps Tablet
Kids 2-5 will love having their very own tablet. And unlike the time suck and mindless activity of kids' games designed for adult tablets, this learning toy has some lessons up its sleeve. With an onboard alphabetical keyboard, children work on fine motor skills while learning the alphabet and how to spell. A piano-style miniature keyboard lets kids create tunes, and built-in apps are a mixture of learning and gaming.
The VTech Little Apps Tablet is also a favorite with parents for its responsive volume controls, automatic shut-off that saves battery life, and pleasing price tag.
- Two color choices
- Parent-friendly volume controls
- Progressive learning levels
- Automatic shut-off
- Display quality is reminiscent of 90s era games
- Screen brightness cannot be adjusted
Best for Older Kids: Snap Circuits Snaptricity
Snap Circuits Snaptricity Electronics Exploration Kit holds the keys to more than 75 STEM projects. Children 8-15 will learn problem-solving while being playing with the magic that is electricity and magnetism. Lessons include understanding how electricity in the home works, how switches control lights, and the basics of circuit function.
This 40-piece kit includes a meter, electromagnet, motor, lamps, switches, fan compass, and electrodes. A big plus: this kit is compatible with other Snap Circuit kits.
- Compatible with other Snap Circuit Kits
- So much fun!
- Active, practical learning
- Color-coded project manuals
- Doesn't included needed batteries (3AAA)
- Requires some adult supervision
Best First Pet: VTech Paw Patrol
Designed for kids 2-5, PAW Patrol Treat Time Marshall is loaded with lessons and entertainment. When a bone is placed in Marshall's mouth, he immediately recognizes each piece and responds by identifying that bone and speaking letters, colors, numbers, phonics, or playing music. Marshall can also take kids on rescue missions, move his eyes and ears, and be toted around with a carry handle.
VTech's Paw Patrol Treat Time Marshall never makes a mess and even has an attached pack to store all of his treats. And parents will dig the volume control features and battery auto shut-off.
- Auto shut-off
- Volume control
- Treats can be difficult to put in dog's mouth
- Has the tendency to tip over
Best for Future Travelers: Oregon Scientific Smart Globe
Travel virtually to distant lands with Oregon Scientific's Smart Globe Discovery. Kids use a SmartGlobe pen to touch locations on the globe while the toy responds with fun facts, plays each location's national anthem, and recites more than 2,000 bits of information about places near and far.
The Smart Globe operates on three AA batteries, which are included, and has no cords, so it can travel from room to room or house to car. Perfect for kids and adults 6 and up, this is a fun, interactive way to learn about the world around us.
- Portable fun
- Inspires learning
- Can choose areas you wish to learn more about
- Entertaining way to learn geography
- Volume is loud and not adjustable
- The base is a little flimsy
It's an exciting time to be a kid! Electronic toys have turned mundane lessons into creative, engaging activities that make learning a heck of a lot more fun than flashcards and wooden blocks ever did. In our opinion, the best overall electronic learning toy out there in 2019 is the LeapFrog My Own Laptop.
This laptop lookalike features a keyboard lined up in alphabetical order that assists young children in learning words, the alphabet, and how to spell their name. A built-in messaging app shows toddlers how to send and receive mock emails, while games and music provide hours of interactive learning that feels more like fun than school lessons.
If you're looking for a toy that's a blast to use, small enough to carry in the car or on a plane, and will provide a powerful learning experience, you'll be delighted with the LeapFrog laptop.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jodi Owan is a freelance writer and photographer who has been published in print and online. When not hiking through the backwoods with a camera, she can be found testing and writing about technology. Find her on Instagram and her website.
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