10 Best Sensory Toys for Toddlers In 2017

best sensory toy for toddlers

Sensory development is a very important aspect of growing up. This is why toys that provide a variety of sensory experiences for the young child are deemed very important in their development. This Christmas, you can bring a smile to a child’s life by giving him or her the best sensory toy you could ever find. Let our top 10 sensory toys for toddlers be your guide in choosing the best.

Our Top 10 Sensory Toys

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning WalkerVTech Walker
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages ChairFisher-PriceFurniture
Melissa & Doug Monster Plush 6-Pin Bowling Game With Carrying CaseMelissa & DougSoft Toy
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Singin Soccer BallFisher-PriceMusical Toy
VTech 3-in-1 Learning Zebra ScooterVTechScooter
LeapFrog My Talking LapPup (Violet)LeapFrog Interactive Toy

1Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker by VTech 

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Age Range: 9 months to 3 years old

Toddlers are best known to be little explorers. With the Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker they can now perform a lot of exploration in their immediate surroundings providing them a sturdy and reliable platform to hold on to especially if their leg muscles are not yet that fully stable. More importantly, though, is that they can use the many learning activities that have been built-in into the Sit-to-Stand to help enhance their sensory skills. They can use the 5-key piano to create wonderful tunes. Each interactive button on these cheap sensory toys by VTech can play a host of sensorial information like fun phrases, songs to sing along to, sound effects, and light effects. There are also spinners or rollers that will sure to fascinate toddlers as they attempt to make sense of the seemingly perpetual motion elicited by these features. There are also shape sorters that can help encourage mastery of different forms or shapes as well as various colors. It has a make-believe play telephone handset which can help provide the experience of talking with their friends. Some parents may even consider the Sit-to-Stand as toys for autistic toddlers because of the sheer number of learning activities that it can provide to help the developing brain.

What We Like about It – This may not really be one of those cheap sensory toys you’re looking for but with all the different features it provides, the Sit-to-Stand offers excellent value for your money.

(Like This? Then You Must Check Out: Top Ten Baby Walkers This Year)

2Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair by Fisher-Price

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Age Range: 1 to 3 years old

If you’re looking for good toys for autistic toddlers, one of the best we can recommend is the Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair. It’s no ordinary chair, mind you. It has a gently curving molded backrest with a smiling face decal to provide optimum comfort for your little kid. The armrests are equipped with learning activity centers. On the left is a flipbook made of high quality plastic complete with very colorful pages to teach toddlers about different words and numbers as well as shapes and colors. On the right armrest is a keypad with extra-large buttons numbered 1 to 4. It also comes with a built-in speaker just behind the numeric keypad. On the front section of the armrests are dials that your kids can turn. The seat itself is adorned with the letters of the alphabet and the numbers 1 to 10, printed in a variety of colors. Here’s the fun part. Depending on the stage of development of your kid, you simply need to key in the appropriate developmental stage (1 to 4) and the Smart Stages automatically adjusts the different playable songs and fun phrases that are appropriate to the developmental stage of your child. To listen to these sounds, your child simply has to sit on the Smart Stages Chair. Now how cool is that!?

What We Like about It – The fact that it’s from Fisher-Price leaves no doubt as to its usefulness in the development of kids. What really amazed us is the ability of the chair to be adjusted to fit the developmental needs of children so it naturally grows with your precious child.

3First 100 Words Board Book by Roger Priddy

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Age Range: 1 to 3 years old

Although the First 100 Words Board Book is not a toy, it is nonetheless a very useful instrument in the enhancement of toddlers’ sensory skills. Each page comes with beautiful real-life illustrations or pictures with their corresponding names printed in high contrast fonts. There are themes every two pages. For example, you have two pages of words that pertain to the “outside” or are considered to be related to “bath”. There are 100 colorful pictures and 100 very simply words to learn. The board book itself is made of only the highest quality sturdy board. The cover, however, has an added layer of soft cushiony material so your kid will feel a lot more comfortable holding the First 100 Words in his or her hands. Additionally, the soft texture of the cover plus the hard surfaces of the pages can provide an excellent contrast on textures, perfect for honing his or her tactile skills.

What We Like about It – We have read many parents saying that their kids absolutely loved the First 100 Words as it has helped them learn and expand their vocabulary.  We agree that the First 100 Words can really help in children’s cognitive development. However, it is the tactile sensations that we believe are a big plus since you don’t normally get contrasting textures in books.

4Musical Rhymes Book by VTech

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Age Range: 6 months to 3 years old

If you’re on the lookout for really high quality yet cheap sensory toys that are guaranteed to provide your kid with the right cerebral stimulation, then get the Musical Rhymes Book. This VTech musical baby toy comes with brightly-colored and highly interactive pages that are very easy to flip or turn. With each turn of the page, your kid will be treated to a listening experience of 6 classical, very lovable nursery rhymes. Aside from the nursery rhymes, there are also more than 40 fun and education phrases, beautiful children’s sons and melodies, and the sounds of everyday things and events. There are 5 tabs on the outer edge of the Musical Rhymes. Each tab plays a melody of different musical instruments such as a guitar, drums, maracas, violin, and trumpet. On the rib of the Musical Rhymes is a big star with a smiling face that lights up when the Musical Rhymes is powered on. The control switch, which turns on and off the book or changes it into either learning or music mod, is located just below the big smiling star. With so many activities, Musical Rhymes Books have also been given as toys for autistic toddlers.

What We Like about It – We have to agree with many parents out there that if you want to give your child a really fascinating book, then the Musical Rhymes Book is the one to get. For its price and the fact that it’s from VTech, you can be sure you get more than what you pay for.

5Monster Plush Bowling Game by Melissa & Doug

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Age Range: 2 to 4 years old

We have moms who say that Monster Plush Bowling Game toys are very useful as toys for autistic toddlers. And we can understand why. It’s the sense of imagination and creativity that is ultimately developed and enhanced by the Monster Plush. These 6 very adorable stuffed animal monsters, if there is such a thing, are made of soft, kid-safe synthetic materials with beautiful monsterrific details stitched by hand. The different textures of these beastly gang can provide the tactile stimulation needed by today’s very adventurous toddlers. Each monster also comes in different colors and patterns as well as other intricate details like 3 eyes, unusually large dangling nose, weird ears, and even the existence of funny horns. The monster bowling pins come with weighted bottoms so they can be easily propped to stand. Even the bowling ball comes as a beastly creature, too. It’s one of the very functional yet cheap sensory toys that you can give to your toddler this Christmas.

What We Like about It – It’s quite difficult not to love the Monster Plush. For kids, the different tactile and visual experiences they can get from these monsters are simply astounding. And when they play bowling, the fun and excitement is substantially increased.

6Laugh & Learn Singin Soccer Ball by Fisher-Price

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Age Range: 6 months to 3 years old

What if you have a ball that talks, sings, and even teaches your kid about certain things in his or her world, would you be interested? You may not think of these as toys for autistic toddlers but they sure can help enhance the sensory skills of young children particularly toddlers. The Laugh & Learn Singin Soccer Ball is a very unique football that plays a lot of learning materials for toddlers to master. It teaches kids about the different numbers and colors. It also introduces children to fun words and phrases which they can use to augment or strengthen their language and communication development. The Singin Soccer Ball features 3 interactive modes of play including, music, learning, and imagination. Rolling, shaking, or pressing the Singin Soccer ball activates the different learning activities. The ball’s surface comes with different color patterns, shapes, and textures providing a sensory experience that can never be found in other cheap sensory toys.

What We Like about It – When Fisher-Price rolls out a product, you can expect it to be of the highest possible quality. The Singin Soccer Ball simply continues with this distinction.

7Turn and Learn Driver by VTech

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Age Range: 6 months to 3 years old

The first time you sat behind the wheel of your car, can you remember how amazing it felt? Now, imagine you’re a child and you have just been seated in front of a toy car dashboard. How would this make you feel? Such is the question we posed to our team when we were discussing the merits of the Turn and Learn Driver. And the resounding response was one of thrill and excitement. The Turn and Learn is a car dashboard for kids that comes with a steering wheel, gear shift knob, signal lever, a side mirror, and other controls that we typically see inside a car. The best thing about these features is that they are all interactive. They produce mechanical movements, fun phrases, beautiful children’s melodies, and the names of different vehicles as well as animals. If you’re going to buy one of those cheap sensory toys, then make sure to get only those with high educational value. The Turn and Learn fits the bill perfectly.

What We Like about It – The sensation of driving their own car is something that is priceless for many kids, although it’s just make-believe. The mere fact that it can help facilitate their imagination makes the Turn and Learn Driver a truly beneficial toy.

8Sort & Discover Activity Cube by VTech

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Age Range: 9 months to 3 years old

Imagine a medium-sized plastic box with sides that are literally filled with fun activities for children to learn and do. That is what the Sort & Discover Activity Cube aims to provide children of today. Five sides of the Sort & Discover come with 7 different learning activities with the sixth side providing the sturdy base for the activity cube. The cube comes with more than 70 fantastic children’s songs you can sing along to and melodies you can hum with. There are also different sounds from animals, vehicles, and nature itself. As one of the toys for autistic toddlers, the Sort & Discover provides a lot of opportunities to stimulate kids’ imagination and cognitive abilities. It plays words and phrases necessary for early childhood language development including number, animals, and colors. It has a flipbook that plays nursery rhymes as well as spinners and knobs that can provide a variety of sensory learning experiences for your child. All the decals and designs come in vibrant colors to add to the fun learning experiences. Blocks in different shapes can be slotted into their respective holes while the piano keys can provide a different kind of tactile, visual, and auditory stimulation.

What We Like about It – VTech never compromises on the quality and educational value of is products. The Sort & Discover is simply the kind of toy children will grow up with to become successful individuals in adulthood.

93-in-1 Learning Zebra Scooter by VTech

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Age Range: 18 months to 3 years old

The 3-in-1 Learning Zebra Scooter is not one of those cheap sensory toys that you may be looking for. But, considering the uniqueness of its features, we’d say it’s provides more value than other toys of this type. The Zebra Scooter is a mobile learning center that serves as a walker, a push toy, and a ride-on toy, depending on the developmental age of the child using it. It plays a little less than 100 child-friendly music, lovable children’s songs, and hummable melodies and tunes. It can also elicit beautiful sounds of nature as well as educational phrases to help in your child’s communication. There are make-believe gadgets that can enhance imaginative play such as compass, walkie-talkie, horn, and flashlight. Riding the Learning Zebra is made stable by its large and wide wheels mated to a wide wheelbase. The scooter deck is also made of solid plastic construction providing stability and strength.

What We Like about It – The Learning Zebra is a very different kind of sensory toy. Nevertheless, it is able to serve its purpose generally well.

10My Talking LapPup by LeapFrog 

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Age Range: 6 months to 3 years old

Looking for cheap sensory toys but very educational ones? Then get the My Talking LapPup. It’s the perfect gift this Christmas for children’s on-the-go playtime activities. It plays 40 fun children’s songs as well as counting numbers, shapes, and colors. Violet, the animated puppy, can light up her face and animate her mouth as she talks and sings to your child. Closing the lid of the LapPup can be a very wonderful game of peek-a-boo cementing the idea of object permanence on your child.

What We Like about It – We find the interactive facial movements of Violet to simulate interaction with your child to be very amusing. We’re pretty sure kids will also appreciate such animations. This can greatly improve your kid’s visual and auditory senses.

How We Chose the Top Sensory Toys in Our List

Many think that cheap sensory toys have poor quality and are relatively unsafe. That is why, as much as possible, they would rather pay for more expensive ones. However, our research showed us that cheap sensory toys need not automatically mean mediocre quality or a haphazard construction. We have seen some reputable toymakers designing inexpensive products but with the same signature quality workmanship and safety profile that these companies have been known for. As such, one of the inherent things we had to look for in our search of the top 10 sensory playthings is the quality and safety of the plaything’s design. We then factored the list price and determine if it can be considered an excellent buy with superb value for your money.

We then considered the different developmental tasks that can be achieved by young children, particularly toddlers, when using these products. Because toddlers are already expanding their exploratory activities, it is essential for us to identify which of the child’s senses can be developed further or significantly enhanced by the different features of a particular product. Also, we had to make sure that what the toymaker says about the product’s developmental benefits are accurate. This is also a measure of the company’s dedication and commitment to provide children with developmentally appropriate products. They can only do this if they know by heart what children really need at any given age.

We also took into great consideration the comments and feedback as well as reviews from customers and parents who have bought these products. These provided us with invaluable insight into the experiences of parents and their respective children playing with such toys. At the minimum, we were able to determine whether the product comes as highly recommended or not.

Products with awards or recognitions from reputable toy and child development organizations were also considered. We believe that it takes a particularly clever, ingenious design to merit one of these awards.

Such is the process that our researchers had to undertake to provide you with the best sensory toys for toddlers. It was particularly challenging but we were able to accomplish it anyway.

A Brief Look at Sensory Development among Kids

A number of parents are rather confused about sensory development among kids especially when taken in the light of their motor development. While we are not child psychologists, we can nevertheless say with absolute confidence that sensory development is all about the ability of the brain to receive information from the environment using the body’s sensory organs.

Sensory information obtained from playing is ultimately sent to the brain for processing. This provides the necessary building blocks for the formation and development of ideas. Over time, these ideas form what we now call memories. So, when children play, they use these processed information to feed their imagination.

When we talk about sensory development, we talk about how well children use their senses to gather information. That is why toys that are naturally colorful, in high contrast, and in different patterns can help improve our kids’ visual development. Music, melodies, and any other form of sound are important in auditory development. The different textures – smooth, rough, silky, slippery, and others – can be excellent tools for developing children’s tactile understanding. Giving them different scents or aromas as well as flavors and tastes can also help in the development of their olfactory and gustatory skills, respectively. When taken together, these sensory experiences provide the backbone for their cognitive development. This is why sensory toys are important in children’s optimum development.

The Bottom Line

This Christmas, give you toddler any one of our top 10 best sensory toys and help facilitate the continuous development of their cognitive skills as well as imaginative abilities. You will be glad to know that your kid’s optimum development can be guaranteed by these playthings.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!


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