Fun Discovery Toys To Encourage Tactile Learning

The term “discovery toys” encompasses a large range of toys that have a few things in common. They can be simple or elaborate, but they all encourage children to discover certain skills through hands-on tactile play. The skills range from the most basic motor skills like grasping and holding to more advanced skills like math and science. Along the way, colors, sorting, counting and much more are introduced as babies, toddlers, preschoolers and even older children play and explore. When choosing discovery toys to enhance your child’s physical and mental development, consider first what toys are appropriate for his or her age. Many toys are appropriate for a wide range of ages and can offer new skills as children mature. This list includes toys from babies to older children and each toy encourages a unique set of skills.

9 Engaging Discovery Toys

MEASURE UP! Cups by Discovery Toys
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BOOMERINGS Links by Discovery Toys
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Castle Marbleworks® Marble Run by Discovery Toys
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HAMMER AWAY! by Discovery Toys
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Learning Resources Stacking Shapes Peg Board
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Discovery Toys TANGIBALL
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TRY-ANGLE by Discovery Toys
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1. MEASURE UP! Cups by Discovery Toys

MEASURE UP! Cups by Discovery Toys

At first glance, the MEASURE UP! Cups appear to be a simple stacking toy, but they have so much more to offer. The 12 twelve cups stack perfectly and each cup is numbered with its place in the sequence. The numbers are shown numerically, linguistically (in English, French, and Spanish) and in quantity, adding to the potential for comprehension. These cups are also the correct volume, in cups, for their number. So, cup #1 is one cup and cup #2 is two cups. Children can fill #1 and #2 with liquid and discover that combining the two perfectly fills #3. Inside each cup is the actual cup number in relief and the corresponding number of dots for tactile identification. In addition, there is an animal stamp on the bottom of each cup. Made from BPA-free plastic, this set includes an activity guide.

Discovery skills: Counting, sorting, sequencing, addition, subtraction and multiplication

2. BOOMERINGS Links by Discovery Toys

BOOMERINGS Links by Discovery Toys

BOOMERINGS Links are an incredibly flexible and useful tactile toy. Bend these colorful links this way and that, but they will immediately return to their original shape. Each link can be individually disconnected from the others and they can be reconnected in endless configurations. The open links also make it easy to connect the links to a crib rail, highchair, stroller, car seat, diaper bag or backpack, so they’re always right there for baby to play. They’re also useful for attaching teethers and other toys. This is a fun toy for babies, but toddlers will enjoy manipulating the links and learning colors and counting. Boomerings are BPA free.

Discovery skills: Early math, colors

3. Shake ‘N Slide by Discovery Toys

Shake 'N Slide by Discovery Toys

The Shake ‘N Slide by Discovery Toys is a colorful, loaded rattle that will keep baby engaged and entertained. There are multiple items for little ones to touch, feel, and explore. First, textured handles are easy to grab and hold and sliding shapes move along the handles. Second, a transparent core has cascading beads and the reflective dome features a spinning marble. Flip, roll, twist, and shake to move the beads and the ball. Finally, turn it upside down to access a clicking dial. Parents love this toy for babies all the way up to older toddlers.

Discovery skills: Sensory and motor skills

4. Castle Marbleworks® Marble Run by Discovery Toys

Castle Marbleworks® Marble Run by Discovery Toys

The Castle Marbleworks® Marble Run by Discovery Toys is an excellent first marble run for preschoolers and up. Kids can enjoy building the run with the colorful sections and then watching the marble as it twists and turns its way to the bottom of the castle. The track pieces are interchangeable and can be arranged in several different configurations. The set includes three oversize and weighted chime balls that clatter and jingle as they travel all the way down the track. At 25 inches tall, this is a nicely sized marble run set.

Discovery skills: Building, early science skills

5. HAMMER AWAY! by Discovery Toys

HAMMER AWAY! by Discovery Toys

The HAMMER AWAY! by Discovery Toys resembles a colorful tugboat. The adorable tugboat keeps little ones engaged in imaginative play, but this toy offers other benefits as well. Toddlers use their hands and motor skills to push the colorful balls into the holes, then use the hammer to send the balls through the tugboat. Along the way, the balls reappear and disappear. Children begin with the flat side of the hammer and as motor skills improve, use the slightly more difficult rounded side. Turn the flag on the rear of the tugboat to stop the balls altogether. Includes an activity guide.

Discovery skills: Object permanence, cause and effect, color matching

6. Learning Resources Stacking Shapes Peg Board

Learning Resources Stacking Shapes Peg Board

The Learning Resources Stacking Shapes Peg Board is an award winning toy that is excellent for teaching fine motor skills. Children sort the shapes (square, circle, triangle, star, and hexagon) and colors (red, orange, green, blue, and purple) and insert the pieces into the peg board, successfully creating different patterns both horizontally and vertically. Reviewers are impressed by this toy for several reasons. It is sturdy and well-made and the pieces are easy to insert into the holes and perfectly sized for little hands to grip.

Discovery skills: Shapes, colors, patterns, sorting

7. Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears!

Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! -discovery toys

A fantastic building toy for children three and up, the Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! offers hours of hands-on, three-dimensional fun. Sort, group, count, design, explore early physics concepts and build fine motor skills. This set includes different pieces like colorful gears, cranks, connectors and interlocking base plates that combine in endless building projects. This is an expansive 96-piece set. Kids use the included activity guide for project ideas or their imaginations. Reviewers love this award winning toy because it offers years of use. The fun only increases as children become older and more skilled.

Discovery skills: Colors, sorting, building, early physics

8. Discovery Toys TANGIBALL

Discovery Toys TANGIBALL

The BPA and phthalate free Discovery Toys TANGIBALL is perfect for little hands to explore. The rounded nubs are safe, smooth and easy to grip and this is a great ball for holding, grabbing, rolling, tossing and catching. Squeeze the ball to produce a whistling sound. The shiny, translucent ball catches little ones’ attention and it has a slight, pleasant vanilla scent.

Discovery skills: Ball play, sensory skills

9. TRY-ANGLE by Discovery Toys

TRY-ANGLE by Discovery Toys

The colorful TRY-ANGLE by Discovery Toys activity center offers tons of possibilities for engaging, hands-on play. This versatile toy lays flat for babies playing on their tummy and then stands up for table top or sitting-up play. Turn the crank and watch the moving stars, move the gears, press the squeaker button, smile in the mirror and play the dial-operated bumble bee movie. Colors, sights, and sounds encourage imaginative play. Designed for babies six months and older. Includes an activity guide.

Discovery skills: Tactile skills, cause and effect, self-awareness

 

We love to hear from you! Tell us about your favorite discovery toys in the comments below.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Christina Vlinder.

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