Best Educational Toys and Games for Kids Age 5-10+ (2024)

visual perceptual games

These are the best educational toys and games picked by a pediatric occupational therapist.  They work on visual perceptual skills, auditory skills. critical thinking, fine motor skills, and more. Help your kiddo develop many important skills through play based learning.

A co-worker once noted, “Your kids must get the best gifts!  I’m sure you always find the coolest toys for them.” 

First of all, she saw me use fun and unique toys with my students during my occupational therapy sessions. Secondly, she knew my passion for child development and my emphasis on play and fun as the basis for learning!

What she also didn’t know was that my husband and I focused on quality over quantity when it came to getting gifts for our children.  They didn’t have a ton of toys.  But they had what they each of them needed!  They had quality toys and games that captured their interest AND helped with their development.  

The most rewarding part of having these great educational toys for my kids… when they would outgrow something, they would say, “Here, mom, you can have this toy for your work kids! They can play with it now!”

Play is a great way to improve fine motor skills, gross motor skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills needed for learning.  But it’s hard to pick the best toys with so many options out there.

Choosing the Best Educational Toys and Games for Kids

Teachers and parents frequently ask me for tips on what to buy for the classroom or for home.  I love sharing ideas. Especially because there are so many options out there, it’s easy to lose focus on what to buy.

My biggest tip to any teacher or parent: avoid screens and avoid toys that do the work for the kiddo!  Keep it simple.  Find toys and games that are fun but also address skill areas.

When I chose toys for each of my own kiddos, I obviously considered what they each liked but I also made sure that some needs were being addressed through the right toy. 

Think whether you want to focus more on auditory skills, visual skills, gross motor skills or problem solving skills.  If you want to increase focus and concentration, look for a board game that would interest your kids. 

Just make sure that play-based learning is your priority.  Kids learn best when playing! 

Occupational Therapist’s Best Toy and Games

The ages listed below with each toy and game are just recommendations.  I’ve known some young children around age 4 have success with games such as Spot It which is recommended for 7 year-olds.  

I’m sharing my favorite educational toys and games in three different categories in this post: 1) Best Learning Toys and Games to Improve Visual Perception, Strategy, and Cognitive Skills, 2) Toys and Games to Improve Auditory, Visual Memory and Hand-Eye Coordination, and 3) Toys and Games for Gross Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination and Visual Motor Skills.

Visual perception and strategy games are my favorite educational toys to build executive function skills and problem solving.  Auditory skills are lacking in many kids!  Auditory and visual skills are so important in cognitive development.  Eye-hand coordination is needed to perform writing and self-help tasks.  Finally, we often forget that motor skills are the foundation of how kids’ bodies need to learn!

Kids need the movement breaks! (Check out 25 Brain Breaks for Kids and Best Brain Break Exercise Series – both have free printables.)

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Best Learning Toys and Games to Improve Visual Perception, Strategy and Cognitive Skills

Visual perception is a very important skill needed for reading and writing for kids of all ages.  Visual perception develops in babies and continues to refine and develop in older kids.  (Check out 42 Easy Visual Perceptual Activities for more information and ideas.)  

These are the best educational toys to support cognitive skills at various ages and stages.  See occupational therapy reviews and feedback below this table.

Photo Title Buy
MindWare Imagination Patterns-...image MindWare Imagination Patterns- Creative, Magnetic Play with Patterned Shapes! Check Price
Hasbro Gaming Perfection...image Hasbro Gaming Perfection Game for Preschoolers and Kids Ages 5 and Up, Board Games for 1 or More Players Check Price
The Multi-Matrix Therapeutic...image The Multi-Matrix Therapeutic Game Developmental Blocks with 50 Smart Cubes Check Price
Mattel Games Blokus...image Mattel Games Blokus XL Board Games, Brain Games for 2 to 4 Players Check Price
IQ BUILDER |...image IQ BUILDER | STEM Learning Toys | Creative Construction Engineering | Fun Educational Building Blocks Boys and Girls Ages 5-10+ Best Toy Gift for Kids Check Price
MindWare KEVA Brain...image MindWare KEVA Brain Builders Set of 2: Original KEVA Brain Builders and Brain Builders Junior – STEM Building and Classroom Games – 40 Planks & 70 Puzzles Check Price
STEM Toys for...image STEM Toys for 3- 6 year old, Design and Drill Toy for Kid, Creative Engineering Building Kits Check Price
Pressman PRE-3018-06J Mastermind...image Pressman PRE-3018-06J Mastermind Strategy Game of Codemaker vs. Codebreaker, 5", Multi-colored Check Price
Pressman Mastermind for...image Pressman Mastermind for Kids - Codebreaking Game With Three Levels of Play Multicolor, 5" Check Price
ThinkFun Rush Hour...image ThinkFun Rush Hour Junior - Classic Traffic Jam Logic Game | STEM Toy for Kids | Engaging Puzzles for Ages 5 and Up | Junior Edition of the International Check Price
MindWare Qwirkle Cubes MindWare Qwirkle Cubes Check Price
Marble Genius Marble...image Marble Genius Marble Run (150 Complete Pieces) Maze Track or Building Toys for Kids Ages 4-8, for Adults, Teens, and Toddlers), Super Set Check Price
MindWare Q-BA-Maze 2.0...image MindWare Q-BA-Maze 2.0 Mega Stunt Set Check Price

Reviews from an occupational therapist:

MindWare Imagination Magnets 

This is a perfect toy for building visual perceptual skills in young kids.  It encourages problem-solving skills and independent learning.  Little hands work on fine motor skills as they use the different shapes to build and make designs.

Perfection

A classic game for visual discrimination, fine motor, eye hand coordination, pincer grasp, and speed.  

Multi-Matrix Therapeutic Game Developmental Blocks 

This is one of my favorites! It was created by a developmental optometrist.  I’ve used this very frequently with kids at work.  There are many different ways to play and it addresses several visual skills important for school success!

Blokus XL 

A quick and fun perceptual and thinking game. Work on social skills and turn taking with more than one kiddo.

IQ Builder STEM Learning, Building Set

Creative construction set for younger kids but fun for older kids, too.  Building sets are a great way to work on patience, focus and problem solving.

MindWare Keva Brain Builders, Set of 2

These are cool stem toys and building projects. A child has to create 2-D patterns into 3-D structures which adds another challenge.  There are postural stability requirements and fine motor skills needed for this set, in addition to the cognitive and perceptual demands.

STEM Toy Building Set with Tools

Great for visual perceptual skills, problem solving and motor coordination! Young kids can practice imaginative play after they build and construct!

Mastermind 

A fast simple strategy board game. This is great for critical thinking.

Mastermind for Kids

An easier version of the board game for younger kids.  It works on problem-solving skills.

ThinkFun’s Rush Hour Traffic Jam

This board game is a fun logic game for kids. It really challenges perceptual skills and executive function skills.

Quirkle Cubes

This is a kid and OT favorite!  I’ve used these cubes and this game in so many different ways with kiddos.  It’s great for visual discrimination and visual scanning as well as speed and response time.  Kids love racing me during some versions of the game.  Motor control is required during this game.  

Marble Run

Hand strength and problem solving are required when building this marble run.  After it’s built, the moving marbles are great for visual tracking.

MindWare Q-BA-Maze

This ultimate mega marble building set is a nice challenge for engineers in the making!  Adults can have just as much fun with this building set. No glue or connecting pieces are required.  

Best Educational Toys and Games to Improve Auditory Skills, Visual Memory Skills, and Hand-Eye Coordination

Kids don’t realizing they’re building their brains when they play!  Many kids struggle to listen well – they get so used to seeing things and watching screens.  

The following toys are super helpful to develop auditory skills for learning, improve visual memory and improve motor coordination for the brain.    

Photo Title Buy
Hasbro Gaming Bop...image Hasbro Gaming Bop It! Electronic Game for Kids Ages 8 & Up Check Price
Hasbro Gaming Simon...image Hasbro Gaming Simon Micro Series Game Check Price
Spot It! Classic...image Spot It! Classic Card Game (Eco-Blister)| Matching | Fun Kids for Family Night Travel Great Gift Ages 6+ 2-8 Players Avg. Playtime 15 Mins Made by Zygomatic Check Price
Spot It! Junior...image Spot It! Junior Animals Card Game | Game For Kids | Preschool Age 4+ | 2 to 5 Players | Average Playtime 10 minutes | Made by Zygomatic Check Price
MindWare Q-bitz Solo:...image MindWare Q-bitz Solo: Orange Game Check Price
Yamaha, 61-Key PSR-E273...image Yamaha, 61-Key PSR-E273 Portable Keyboard with PA130 Power Adapter, Black Check Price
Lexington EK3282 32-Key...image Lexington EK3282 32-Key Mini Electric Digital Portable Keyboard Piano Musical Gift for Kids Check Price
Treela Set of...image Treela Set of 4 Musical Instruments Toy Clarinet, Toy Saxophone, Toy Trumpet and Toy Horn for Beginners 4 Wind and Brass Musical Instruments Combo with over 10 Color Keys Coded for Boys Girls (Silver) Check Price

Occupational therapy thoughts and reviews:

Bop It

This game is a fun way to work on auditory skills, attention and concentration!  It’s a smaller version of a throw back toy!  It works on bilateral coordination, auditory processing speed, hand-eye coordination, and motor control.

Simon Micro Series Game

This game is great for visual memory, hand-eye coordination, and speed!

Spot It

This is a fast and fun visual scanning game that’s great for kids of all ages.  It improves focus and visual attention and encourages quick reactions.

Spot It Jr Animals

A different version of Spot It that has been adapted for younger kids. This game improves visual skills and concentration as you find the matches quickly.  This card game also improves fine motor skills.

Q-Bitz

This is a great visual perceptual skill building game for older kids.  It works on hand dexterity, speed and supports higher level skills needed for reading and math.  This game requires at least two players, so it’s great for social skills.

Yamaha Keyboard Piano 

A piano for older kids to improve continued brain development.  If you’d like to add movement and gross motor skills, check out the Gigantic Keyboard Playmat – Remember the movie Big?! Get your kiddo moving while also playing music! 

Lexington 32-Key Mini Electric Digital Portable Keyboard Piano 

Playing the piano is great for crossing midline and fine motor coordination. It stimulates auditory skills which helps with reading and following directions.

Set of 4 Musical Instruments 

Encourage bilateral skills, oral sensory skills and auditory skills with these wind and brass musical instruments.  

Fun Toys and Games for Gross Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination and Visual Motor Skills

Kids need movement input in order to support cognitive development and learning.  These games and toys make moving fun.  They address balance, coordination, speed and following directions.

Additional hand-eye coordination games support skills needed for performing daily motor tasks.  

Photo Title Buy
HCM Kinzel HCM55153...image HCM Kinzel HCM55153 55153 Tap It Hightech Action Buzzer 4 Game Modes, Multicoloured Check Price
Hasbro Gaming Twister...image Twister Ultimate: Bigger Mat, More Colored Spots, Family, Kids Party Game Age 6+; Compatible with Alexa (Amazon Exclusive) Check Price
Funko Cranium Hullabaloo...image Funko Cranium Hullabaloo Pre-School Game for 1-6 Players Ages 3 and Up Check Price
Magnetic Dart Board...image Magnetic Dart Board Game – 12pcs – Best Kids Magnetic Darts Boys Toys Gifts Indoor Outdoor Games – Safe Dart Game Set for All Ages 5-12 Year Olds Check Price
Triumph Sports 2-in-1...image Triumph Sports 2-in-1 Bag Toss/ Washer Toss Combo - Includes 2 Game Platforms, 6 Toss Bags, 6 Washers, Medium Check Price
GoSports 3 x...image GoSports 3 x 2 ft Classic Cornhole Set – Includes 8 Bean Bags, Travel Case and Game Rules - Rustic Check Price

Added feedback from Develop Learn Grow:

Tap It 

There are multiple ways to play this fun movement game. It’s a great one to get kids moving.

Twister Ultimate 

Twister Ultimate is compatible with Alexa Smart Speaker.  It works on following directions, balance, and coordination.

Cranium Hullaballo 

This is such a great game, my kids loved it and I still use it for work (16 years later!)  Kids have to follow the directions and it gets them moving. 

Magnetic Dart Board 

This is a fun and safe game – we had ours hanging up for years. It’s great for hand-eye coordination and visual tracking.

Bean Bag and Washer Toss 

Great for coordination and visual-motor integration skills.

Classic Corn Hole 

A simple game to work on visual-motor skills and coordination.

More Cool Games, Helpful Activities, and Great Toys for Kids

In addition to the games and toys listed, be sure to add fun songs to your play activities.  Listening to music increases engagement.  Different speeds of music can increase or decrease motor movements in kids as they play games.

Listening to books and podcasts is also great for auditory stimulation. Sign up for an Audible Account.

Also, be sure to incorporate pretend play and open-ended play elements.  Pretend play and imaginative play should not stop in preschool.  Older students need to become independent thinkers.  Support their  cognitive development through creativity and problem solving.   

Work on math during restaurant or store play.  Have kids create stories and act out a play.  Have them dress the part for various learning activities.  

Related blog posts: 

15+ Activities to Improve Visual Skills for Reading – If you’re looking for even more specific toys, activities, and games to improve visual skills. 

Art Projects and Crafts for Kids – Support Reading, Writing and Math – Be sure to support the learning process with arts and crafts.  Creative thinking skills are a great need for young kids right now!   

Skill Building Outdoor Games for Kids at School – Check out this post for outdoor play or recess ideas.  It shares gross motor games, movement play activities and games, and hand-eye coordination games.

Share this post with family or friends who are looking for gift ideas for kids in this age range!


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School-Based OT

Amy Hathaway MOT, OTR/L, CIMI-2 is a licensed and registered occupational therapist.  She is the founder of Develop Learn Grow. 

Amy has 22 years of experience as a pediatric occupational therapist.   She enjoys collaborating with teachers, parents, therapists, administrators, and support staff in preschools & schools, as well as coaching and guiding parents of infants and toddlers in their homes.

She is married and has three children.  Click to read Amy’s bio.  

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