Best Electronic Educational Toys TechnoBuffalo 2020

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

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.

Pros:

  • Big buttons are easy to press
  • A good introduction to computers
  • Games and activities are fun and challenging
  • Helpful carrying handle

Cons:

  • The screen isn't backlit
  • Volume is loud

Best Overall

Leapfrog My Own Leaptop

Fun first laptop

Kids 2 and up will be enamored with this adult-like laptop that teaches the basics in a fun and engaging manner.

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.

Pros:

  • Excellent for introducing kids to Spanish
  • Young children learn at their own pace
  • Good for hand-eye coordination
  • Priced right

Cons:

  • Goes through batteries quickly
  • Phrases tend to repeat often

Best Value

Fisher-Price Smart Stages Piggy Bank

This little piggy is a hit

This self-paced learning pig introduces the young ones to Spanish and English phrases, colors, letters, and numbers and delivers on value.

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.

Pros:

  • Two color choices
  • Parent-friendly volume controls
  • Progressive learning levels
  • Automatic shut-off

Cons:

  • Display quality is reminiscent of 90s era games
  • Screen brightness cannot be adjusted

Best First Tablet

VTech Little Apps Tablet

Total immersion tablet

Kids will immerse themselves in the creative learning environment, and parents will be thrilled with the volume control and auto shut-off.

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.

Pros:

  • Compatible with other Snap Circuit Kits
  • So much fun!
  • Active, practical learning
  • Color-coded project manuals

Cons:

  • Doesn't included needed batteries (3AAA)
  • Requires some adult supervision

Best for Older Kids

Snap Circuits Snaptricity

Advanced lessons

Older kids and adults will enjoy the challenge of learning about magnetism and electricity while building 75 challenging STEM projects.

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.

Pros:

  • Cute
  • Entertaining
  • Auto shut-off
  • Volume control

Cons:

  • Treats can be difficult to put in dog's mouth
  • Has the tendency to tip over

Best First Pet

VTech Paw Patrol

The dog you never have to walk

This plastic pup is a fun toy for young children to play with and learn the names of colors and letters.

Best for Future World 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.

Pros:

  • Portable fun
  • Inspires learning
  • Can choose areas you wish to learn more about
  • Entertaining way to learn geography

Cons:

  • Volume is loud and not adjustable
  • The base is a little flimsy

Best for Future World Travelers

Oregon Scientific Smart Globe

Learn about the world

An excellent hands-on toy that teaches all age groups about geography. The included SmartPen and small size will appeal to the whole family.

Bottom line

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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