The 7 Best Toy Computers for Little Learners
It’s no secret that kids like to imitate their parents, which is why pretend play toys are always a big hit with toddlers. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatics (AAP) recommends that caregivers encourage imaginative play in one to 3 year olds. One plaything that fits the bill: A toy computer. Not only will it make your kiddo feel like a grown-up as they press away at their mini keyboard (how cute!), but it can also boost creativity and language skills.
Want to learn more about the benefits of toy computers for toddlers and preschoolers? Read on to discover what features you should look for as you shop. Then, browse our favorite laptop toys on the market, from digital learning tools to wooden designs.
You may know exactly what to look for in a real laptop, but what about a toy computer? Jana Sarno, BCBA, a board-certified behavior analyst and the chief clinical officer of Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers, suggests that parents look for versatile, durable and easy-to-use designs. “For early learners and those still working on fine motor or vocabulary skills, such as kids with developmental delays, start with simplicity,” says Sarno. In these cases, a toy computer with music and lights would be a great fit, as they’ll help kiddos learn about cause and effect. If you’re searching for a toy laptop that will continue to stimulate and challenge your child as they continue to develop, opt for one that offers different levels of play.
Digital literacy isn’t the only advantage of playing with a toy computer from a young age. In fact, they offer tons of benefits. According to Sarno, they can “teach kids a variety of concepts through interactive play, from letters and numbers to songs and new languages.” Toy laptops can also nurture fine motor skills by prompting children to work on their hand-eye coordination and hand dexterity by pushing buttons.
You and your kiddo will also appreciate how most toy computers are portable and compact, making them great travel toys. Sarno recommends taking them along for road trips or keeping them in your diaper bag for moments when kids need a bit of solo playtime.
Ready to pick out a top-notch gadget for your little one? From educational toy laptops to timeless wooden designs, we’ve got you covered. Shop our top picks below.
First up on our list of the best computer toys is this option from LeapFrog, which Sarno names as a great starter laptop for kids due to its durability, versatility and cost-effectiveness. The device comes with a full keyboard, so your little one will be able to learn about the alphabet and number 1 through 10 as they tap away. The best part? When this toy laptop swivels shut, it turns into a touchscreen tablet for even more learning fun. Expect smiles as your tot explores the music and games this plaything has to offer—there’s even a pretend email setting, so your mini me can be just like you! Take playtime on the go, thanks to the convenient top handle.
Dimensions: 10” (L) x 6” (W) x 2” (H) | Age rating: 2 to 5 years old
- 2-in-1 design doubles as a toy laptop and tablet
- Complete with educational music and games
- Convenient top carry handle
- Not suitable for younger toddlers
- Requires 3 AA batteries (not included)
If you’re on the hunt for a toy computer for infants, this option from Fisher-Price is sure to check all of the boxes on your list. The educational toy features three learning levels that will teach your child all about the alphabet, colors, numbers, greetings and Spanish words. As your mini-me taps away at the keyboard, they’ll activate colorful lights, songs and phrases—all of which will keep your kiddo engaged by introducing them to cause and effect and boosting their motor skills, says Sarno. Last but not least, baby is sure to love the mirror that mimics the look of a video chat.
Dimensions: 10” (L) x 7” (W) x 1.9” (H) | Age rating: 6 months to 3 years old
- Features three learning levels to meet your child’s changing needs
- Teaches baby about numbers, letters colors and more
- Mirror element to nurture baby’s budding social skills
- Some reviewers say that it’s smaller than expected
Next up is a toy computer that’s so fun, your child won’t even realize they’re learning as they play. It’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers alike, and it includes more than 30 educational activities to meet different developmental levels. Whether your child is 3 or 6 years old, they can explore letters, shapes, numbers, animals and instruments with this portable device. It also includes logical puzzles, sorting games and even Spanish vocabulary to prepare little learners for school. What’s more, this toy laptop can be personalized with your kiddo’s name, age and a digital avatar.
Dimensions: 6.22” (L) x 9.33” (W) x 2.19” (H) | Age rating: 3 to 6 years old
- Includes 30 activities to meet different learning levels
- With it, your child can learn about letters, shapes, numbers, animals, instruments and more
- Lessons can be personalized to your child
- Requires 2 AA batteries (not included)
Looking for a computer toy that’s a bit more analog? Check out this colorful wooden activity board from Melissa & Doug. Your little one will love discovering the textures, sounds and other sensory delights this play set has to offer. When opening the toy laptop, they’ll find a mirror to nurture their budding social development, and buttons in various shapes to enhance their fine motor skills. Other details your child will love include the rolling contact list, the spinning pencil and the sliding wooden mouse.
Dimensions: 12.1” (L) x 9.1” (W) x 2.55” (H) | Age rating: 1 to 2 years old
- Activity board features several sensory elements for kiddos to explore
- Adorable, colorful wooden design
- Could also be used as a travel toy
- Best suited for infants and young toddlers
- No digital features
Toy computers also make for ideal toddler travel toys. This option from VTech is especially portable, thanks to its top carry handle. The laptop toy features a digital screen, a keyboard, a mouse and even piano keys, making this a great musical toy to boot. As your child plays, they can play 10 educational activities and sing along to 20 songs—or even create their own! This would make a unique gift for an 18 month old.
Dimensions: 10.2” (L) x 7.8” (W) x 2.2” (H) | Age rating: 18 months to 4 years old
- Convenient top carry handle
- Keyboard features piano keys so your child can create their own melodies
- Suitable for toddlers and preschoolers alike
- The screen could be brighter, according to some reviewers
- Requires 2 AA batteries (not included)
Treat your little princess to a pretty pink laptop toy, like this option from Disney. Complete with five different activity modes, it’s sure to pique your child’s interest for many playtimes to come. By changing the screen, your kiddo can pretend to email, chat, shop and listen to music alongside their favorite princess characters. It even has make-believe wireless earbuds—how cute! Another fun detail: The computer toy comes with sticker sheets so your tot can customize it to their liking.
Dimensions: 9” (L) x 8” (W) x 2” (H) | Age rating: 3+ years old
- Comes with pretend wireless earbuds and sticker sheets for added fun
- Fun princess-themed design
- Batteries included
- Screen isn’t digital
- Not suitable for young toddlers
The best make-believe playthings are those that boost your child’s creativity. Take this laptop toy from Wonder & Wise, for example. The wooden design opens to reveal a pretend keyboard, a chalkboard screen and a space to store pieces of chalk. With it, your kiddo can draw to their heart’s content, or even practice writing out “emails”—the possibilities are endless!
Dimensions: 8” (L) x 11” (W) x 1.1” (H) | Age rating: N/A
- Timeless wooden design
- Features a chalkboard screen and a space to store chalk
- More expensive than other options on our list
To help you pick out the best toy computer for the little one in your life, we browsed options from leading toy brands and online retailers, so you don’t have to spend hours scrolling. When choosing which toy laptops to feature in our roundup, we considered several aspects, such as value, durability, size, age rating and learning features. We also read user reviews to get the lowdown on how real kiddos (and parents) have felt about these toys, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating. What’s more, we also chatted with a childhood behavior analyst to understand the key features you should consider as you shop, and how toy computers can benefit your child.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
Jana Sarno, BCBA, is a board-certified behavior analyst and the chief clinical officer of Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers. She has worked as the vice president of applied behavior analysis at North Shore Pediatric Therapy and as an infant development program administrator at Coyne & Associates Education Corp.
Healthy Children (AAP), The Power of Play: How Fun and Games Help Children Thrive, May 2023
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