Our Favorite Learning Tools for Tots

Favorite Learning Toys

I get asked all the time about learning tools and toys for tots.  I have had this post in the works for awhile now, making sure I was remembering our very favorite items. 

Before I begin, please know that although I am sharing many ideas, I believe LESS is better!  I have a lot of stuff that has been accumulated through various methods {former teaching days, generous grandparents, blog review items, hand me downs, and consignment/thrift}. I am always simplifying and giving away school tools, and I love that I can bless others, but it does get overwhelming at times to have a lot.  So, I definitely recommend having less and not over-buying/collecting too much!

First, I highly recommend using what you already have!  I consider it “free” if it is already in your home.  Below is a list of items that my tots have enjoyed, all items I gathered from within my house! I am sure I am forgetting many items, but this should get you started!

Favorite FREE Tools {since you probably already have it at home}

  • A bin of rice, beans, or something fun to dig little hands in!
  • cups for pouring
  • cardboard boxes
  • straws, stirring sticks, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks
  • empty containers {of all sorts}
  • lids
  • tubes Use What you Have!

    Be creative when you browse through your house, so many items can be used for tots.  You can see more about using household items in my Tot Trays series! There’s even a PDF download with a list of things to collect!

    Tot Trays for Tot School

In order to make this list below,  I narrowed it down to a few requirements.  All toys on this list have been:

  • played with by my children for more than 3 years {meaning one child enjoyed the same toy for at least a 3 year span}.
  • at least 2 out of 3 of my children consider this a favorite and have chosen it on many occasions.
  • no characters are involved {or lights, noise, batteries}
  • largely open ended and encourage creative play
  • durable, can easily be handed down even after my kids have enjoyed it for many years.
    Favorite TOYS
    {Disclaimer: links below are affiliate links}

All of these toys can be bought early on {even if they are labeled for older kids} and used for Tot School fun, under adult supervision. I searched back through my photos to find images showing Ladybug using these toys when she was a young tot. All of these toys are still played with and used on a regular basis by her and the boys today!  If you click on the image, it will take you to Amazon.

Foam Blocks

Stacking Pegs




Learning Links


Wooden Blocks

I did a survey of my kids {currently 4, 7, and 11} asking them which was their VERY favorite from the toys pictured, here’s what they said…

  • Ladybug, age 4 ~ foam blocks
  • Krash, age 7 ~ small wooden blocks
  • PacMan, age 11 ~ foam blocks
  • Mom, age 37 ~ my personal favorite is foam blocks, partly because they are quiet, and because we have simply used them SO much for so many things! I am in good company with my selection too!

All toys shown above were purchased personally or given as gifts to my children, with the exception of the small wooden blocks {they were a review item that we fell in love with}.

Supplies to have…


Each year before Christmas time I update our gift ideas posts for tots, preschoolers, & boys. You can see more toys and tools we love in these posts!

Gift Ideas for Tot School

This post is #9 in my series for the iHomeschool Network Spring 2013 Hopscotch. Visit other bloggers participating here!


Links will be added as the series progresses!

Homeschooling-Tots-and-Preschoolers_Day 1 ~ Where to Begin with Tot School eBook

Day 2 ~ You Don’t Have to Do it All!

Day 3 ~ Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Day 4 ~ Time Invested in Tot Schooling

Day 5 ~ 10 Tips for Studying Nature with Tots

Day 6 ~ Exposure vs. Mastery

Day 7 ~ Why Themes?

Day 8 ~ Teaching Tots in a Large Family

Day 9 ~ Our Favorite Learning Tools for Tots

Day 10 ~ Early Childhood Theme Printables A-E