Play, Learn, Grow: 12 Toys to Nurture Their Noggin

Your child is always studying the world around them. Nurture that desire to learn by exposing them to toys that teach and encourage their rapid growth! Check out these 12 playroom essentials that prove having fun and learning go hand in hand.

Farm Friends Hand Puppets

Farm Friends Hand Puppets photo

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"Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O …" You and your toddler know the words to this song well, and now you can act them out with the help of plush hand puppets. These soft toys are sure to spark the imagination of children between the ages of 2 and 6, as well as foster their fine motor and communication skills. Major Bonus: The four puppets are washable for when your little farmer puts "piggie" in the real mud. ($20; buybuybaby.com)

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Ratatat Percussion Kit

Ratatat Percussion Kit photo

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There are multiple benefits to introducing music to your baby, but the playful learning doesn't have to stop there. Teach your toddler to create their own rhythm with this colorful 5-piece toy percussion kit! It comes with a mini drum set for peewee drummers, cymbal, xylophone, guiro, and clapper. Band uniforms not included. ($27; amazon.com)

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Giant Floor Puzzle

Giant Floor Puzzle photo

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Rain or shine, it's puzzle time! When you pull out this 30-piece puzzle it becomes more than just a toy to keep kids busy. The Galt Giant Floor Puzzle, for junior trailblazers ages 3 and up, is a vibrantly colorful gateway to learning and conversation. You'll love chatting it up with your toddler as you ask questions like, "What animal is this?" or "What does the lion say?" ($18; target.com)

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Magnetic Fishing Game

Magnetic Fishing Game photo

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Shhhh! You don't want to scare the fish. Convenient and easy to store for car trips, dining out, and "quiet times" in the afternoon, your toddler will love to "go fishing" with this magnetic toy game that helps develop fine motor and hand-eye-coordination skills. Perfect for mini-fisherman ages 2 and up. ($25; kohls.com)

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Jungle Play & Train Activity Table

Jungle Play & Train Activity Table photo

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All aboard the jungle train! Your toddler, ages 18 months and up, will love this activity table that engages her senses and promotes motor skill development. The jungle-themed toy comes complete with cute animal friends, a train track, and a multi-shaped bead roller-coaster that makes the perfect addition to any learning-focused playroom. ($100; nordstrom.com)

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Teach My Toddler Continents & Animals Floor Puzzle

Teach My Toddler Continents & Animals Floor Puzzle photo

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Not ready to hit the roads or fly the friendly skies with your toddler yet? You can still help your junior explorer learn with this colorful and interactive toy; a 30-piece continents floor puzzle that also teaches little ones which animals live in the various parts of the world via 28 coordinating flash cards and a board book. The toy also includes a teaching guide for parents and convenient storage bag to ensure items don't get lost between adventures. Other skills your future world traveler will pick up include matching abilities, hand-eye coordination, vocabulary building, and more. Intended for children between the ages of 1 and 2. Passport optional. ($12; bedbathandbeyond.com)

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100-Piece Wood Blocks Set

100-Piece Wood Blocks Set photo

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Turn your toddler's playroom into a construction zone and let their imagination soar with this 100-piece multi-colored blocks set. Perfect for little architects between the ages of 3 and 8, your budding builder won't know she's learning early math skills, recognizing colors and shapes, and improving fine motor skills while she plays with this toy (then destroys her creation...and repeats!). Construction hat recommended but not required. ($20; melissaanddoug.com)

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Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets

Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets photo

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Your little learner will be singing their ABC's while playing with this magnetic 52-piece upper and lowercase letter set. Perfect for children between the ages of 3 and 6, this toy helps children recognize the letters of the alphabet and can be used to decorate the fridge with their name or stencil words on papers, school projects, posters, and more. ($15; kohls.com)

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Urban Adventure Play Kitchen

Urban Adventure Play Kitchen photo

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They say kitchens are made to bring family and friends together and this toy chef's kitchen is no exception! Serve up years of enjoyment and creativity for curious cook ages 3 and up with this modern (and very stylish) toy kitchen set that may have even you feeling a little jealous. It includes must-have kitchen features like a realistic-looking sink, cooktop, oven, and even a fridge and freezer with working elements (the ice maker spits out "ice cubes"). Make playtime something everyone can take part in when your little chef "cooks" you breakfast or prepares your afternoon snack. ($180; hayneedle.com)

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Classroom Play Set

Classroom Play Set photo

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What kiddo doesn't love to play school? Foster this awesome imagination-building activity with a beyond-comprehensive school play set that allows one child to be the teacher and the other to act as the student. Designed for mini undergrads between the ages of 4 and 8, this dual-role toy set includes white boards, dry-erase markers, activity cards, reusable stickers, a bell (lunch time!), a pointer, and more. You can even show your school spirit and join in the fun! ($30; melissaanddoug.com)

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Wooden Lacing Shoe

Wooden Lacing Shoe photo

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For every "bunny ear" story meant to teach a toddler how to tie their laces, frustration can still follow. Let this wooden toy sneaker boost confidence for kiddos between the ages of 3 and 6 who are learning to tie their shoes. Bonus: Your budding, independent dresser can work on dexterity and fine motor skills while he plays. ($11; target.com)

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Sit-to-Stand Learn & Discover Table

Sit-to-Stand Learn & Discover Table photo

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A stand-alone, educational toy that grows with your child? Yes, please! Beginning learners between the ages of 6 and 36 months need just one toy to make a phone call, play the piano, read a book, tell time, and more. This musical, interactive, and colorful toy allows infants and tots alike to play thanks to its sitting or standing setup options. Sound features are optional, but smiling is a must. ($35; walmart.com)

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