Top 12 Educational Toys for Your Children’s Neurodevelopment

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, many parents are feeling overwhelmed trying to find safe, quality, thoughtfully designed toys that engage children in imaginative play.

Because many caregivers underestimate the value of play and its role in brain development, my goal is to help families understand the importance of how the toys we give our children can maximize (and even potentially hinder) cognitive development.

As a holistic healthcare provider of almost 10 years with additional training from the ICA, ICPA and ACA, I’d like to use November’s blog post to share my expertise on this topic by featuring my top picks for gross motor, fine motor and sensory learning in infants and toddlers.


Each product featured in this blog post has been independently selected and reviewed personally by Dr. Bethany Buryta. Recommendations made on this website are an honest opinion from the past decade + of training and experience I have obtained in primary and supportive care as a Doctor of Chiropractic. It is also important to note that if you make a purchase using the links included, as an Amazon Influencer, I may earn from qualifying purchases. Rest assured that by clicking the affiliate links featured, you are helping to support a small, woman owned, Rochester New York business and it is soooooo appreciated!

1. SmartNoggin Noggin Stick

  • The SmartNoggin Noggin Stick is an affordable, long-lasting, and quality made toy that allows parents to assess baby’s developmental progress through fun play time activities. This toy encourages parent-infant interaction, fun play, bonding, and entertainment by preparing and forming the foundation for their baby’s future learning.

  • The motion activated Noggin Stik lights up in 3 different colors which helps your baby learn visual tracking – a critical pre-literacy skill and a necessary precursor to reading. The design promotes tactile interest and enhances grasping and holding skills, which are important foundational skills for future learning.

  • Each Noggin Stik comes with a user-friendly booklet that gives parents appropriate timelines for what their baby should be doing at any given phase of development.

  • Activities are designed for infant to 12 month olds making this rattle the one that lasts longer than other rattles.

2. Manhattan Toy Squish Rattle

  • MULTI-SENSORY CLUTCHING BABY TOY: Classic, multi-sensory clutching rattle encourages grasping and reaching which are important for gross motor skills; the lightweight wooden dowels, smooth finish, and elastic ties make it easy for little hands to grab and hold.

  • BABY WOODEN RATTLE: The Skwish is surprisingly lightweight, allowing little ones the ease of sliding the beads back and forth on dowels, producing a very pleasing rattle sound and allowing baby to explore sound and learn cause and effect from activity.

  • DEVELOPMENTAL TEETHER TOY: Skwish may not turn every baby into a mathematical genius, but every baby can joyfully benefit from its unique developmental features. The highly-regarded design of wood construction and elastic ties allow the unique rattle and teether to flatten, or "squish", and always return to its original shape.

  • HEIRLOOM QUALITY WOODEN TACTILE TOY: Not only is the Artful Skwish Rattle and Teether safe for baby teething due to the baby-safe water-based acrylics that remain hardened, it has bountiful tactile qualities of smooth, yet perceptible wood grain texture as well as the spongy movement from the elastic bands.

3. Grimm’s 12 Piece Rainbow Stacker

  • This truly beautiful natural toy, made by hand in Germany, will stimulate children visually, mentally and creatively

  • Versatile open-ended toy has many uses & inspires joyful imagination: It's a stacker & puzzle, plus pieces can be used as bridges, tunnels, fences, beds & more!