Best Activity Cubes for Children's Cognitive Development in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 1, 2018
Imagine one developing toy containing all essential learning activities. That would be an activity cube designed to enhance toddlers' skills through engaging and enjoyable play! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
RECOMMENDED AGE
Entertainments and Activities
Material
Size
Warranty
 
PROS

The Study Zone will help learn the alphabet fast and easy with the selected letter being voiced for better memorisation.

CONS

Takes quite a bit of energy from the batteries.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for a toy to busy your toddler for a long time, this one is a good bet. The 7 absolutely different games will surely attract a lot of attention.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

18+ months

Entertainments and Activities

7 activities: Study zone, Sound platform, Animal-learning zone, Calling game, Music world, Turning wheel, Driving cab

Material

BPA-free plastic

Size

22.5 x 23.5 x 17.5 cm

Warranty

6 months

PROS

This activity cube is made from thoroughly polished wood and is covered with a non-toxic paint, making it durable and completely safe for kids.

CONS

No sound or visual effects.

OUR VERDICT

Aside from being a great educational toy that offers loads of entertainment, this EastCoast model is also really nice to the touch and will help develop the kid's tactile skills.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

12+ months

Entertainments and Activities

5 activities: Chalkboard, Xylophone, Fun maze, Bead coaster, Number spinner

Material

Wood (painted with non-toxic paint), plastic

Size

29 x 29 x 53 cm

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The variety of visual and sound effects won't become a boring nuisance for parents even after hours of the child playing nearby.

CONS

The hammer could be better.

OUR VERDICT

All the activities are carefully selected to develop the children in a variety of ways, from training their logic and reaction to coordination and fine motor skills.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

18+ months

Entertainments and Activities

7 activities: Scene changing window, Working microphone, Car driving, Flashing drum, Hammer beads, Rotary gear, Bead roller

Material

BPA-free plastic

Size

29.5 x 29.5 x 23.5 cm

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

When you need to supervise the kid's play with the toys, the continuous blaring sound might cause a headache. Here, you will avoid it since there is volume control available.

CONS

The lid might close not too tightly after time.

OUR VERDICT

This sorting centre will teach your little one to distinguish between shapes and colours as well as count to five, all in a playful way, combining fun with education.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

12+ months

Entertainments and Activities

Shape sorter drum with 5 different shapes, 3 sing-along songs and 30 melodies

Material

BPA-free plastic

Size

20 x 20 x 15 cm

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The games here will require some thought and creativity applied, thus enhancing the problem-solving skills of your child.

CONS

Some slight plastic smell might be present at the beginning.

OUR VERDICT

The best choice you can make for improving fine motor skills; the selection of parts and elements included in the games will make the playtime fun and fruitful.

detailed parameters
RECOMMENDED AGE

12+ months

Entertainments and Activities

Sorting centre, Rotary gear, 2 plastic keys, 2 plastic cubes, 2 plastic balls, Plastic hammer

Material

BPA-free plastic

Size

25 x 25 x 32 cm

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

Miric M-152191

Lucky Seven

This activity cube has seven sides, each one offering a specific activity to promote the all-round development of your child. From learning how to count and read letters to first experiences with sounds made by various musical instruments, animal sounds, and working on the kid’s fine motor skills, this toy has everything we usually find in separate products targeted at toddlers and their parents. It’s everything you need, but instead of a variety of items scattered all around your house and getting in your way, you’ll have a single toy to engage the child for hours and days.

According to many parents who have bought this toy for their kids and other little relatives, the most popular “side” of this activity cube for toddlers is the driver’s dashboard. Admittedly, letting a little one imagine himself/herself a cab driver is not the activity included in this type of toys too often. Perhaps, other manufacturers could use the Miric’s experience since, apparently, the passion for cars in kids awakens quite early. At the same time, if your kid is not interested in this one, there are six other sides that offer all kinds of entertainment hand-in-hand with education.

Looking at the pictures on the computer screen does not translate the actual size: the cube is unexpectedly big. It is made of plastic and has neatly rounded edges and corners (to the point that it’s almost a sphere instead of a cube) for the little user to avoid injuring himself/herself. Note that you’ll need to buy the batteries beforehand if you want children to play with this activity cube right out of the box.

Review of Miric M-152191 Baby Activity Cube Center House

 

East Coast 3946

The Planet Needs This

The first thing we feel obligated to turn your attention to in this East Coast activity cube is that it is made from wood and covered with a toxic-free paint, making it one of the most environment-friendly toys on the market; it is also a healthy choice for a kid’s plaything. If you care about our planet as well as strive to only let your little one play with non-harmful items, this one might just as well be your best bet.

The cube offers five activities to entertain and simultaneously develop your child. There is a clock-like number spinner to start learning numbers, a xylophone to have fun with making sounds (many kids’ favourite activity), a chalkboard, a maze, and a bead coaster. The nice touch is that you can actually hide the bead top when the toy is not played with—it fits neatly inside the cube eliminating the danger of breaking it accidentally; it also makes the toy smaller and, therefore, saves you a little storage space, even if not much.

This activity cube is very brightly coloured, it will catch the kid’s attention in an instant and, with this variety in entertainment options, will hold it for a long time. You can play together with your little one or you can leave them to their own devices and free yourself some valuable time to get other things done.

Review of East Coast 3946 Activity Cube

 

EastSun HL-802

Push-and-Grab

There are seven activities offered by this toy, some of them pretty unique. For example, this activity cube has a working microphone so that your kid could have fun singing and a toy cell phone to pretend to call grandpa to talk. The steering wheel will allow the kids to try their hands at driving and it even provides a fairly real sound of a working engine. As your toddler plays with a small water tank by turning the little gears, he/she will simultaneously train fine motor skills and enjoy the music that plays with the motion, kind of like a tin music box. The two bead sliding tracks are not only fun but also help develop colour recognition and learn numbers.

The side with the cell phone has a scene-changing window and a bell. When the baby pushes the bell switch, the scene in the window will change and there will be sound appropriate for the new scene, from waking up melodies to a Happy Birthday song.

There is quite a number of various buttons to push, gears to turn and shift, and even a hammer to smash the designated button to get sounds and light effects. In fact, this activity cube can produce several sounds and lighting effects; your baby can also play with a tiny mirror. The toy’s shape is very convenient and the toddler can grab things—handles, gears, etc.—to try and stand up or drag the cube closer.

Review of EastSun HL-802 Early Education Baby Multifunction Box with Music/Light/Games

 

VTech 185103

Let’s Drum and Learn

The VTech activity cube for toddlers is on the cheaper side of the market and it has a somewhat limited number of functions compared to more expensive models but it has its own fun sides and is still quite an educational toy.

Although it looks like the simplest toy in the world—there is a box with five holes and five parts to match the holes shapes, simple as that—this model can help you teach your children to count up to five (a good start for a 1-year old kid), recognize shapes, and name animals, all that while simultaneously entertaining them with music and even a bit of singing. How does it work? The mechanism is pretty straightforward—by matching the shapes into holes, the child learns to recognize those and also improves their eye-to-hand coordination and motor skills, that’s the obvious part. But try and slam the shapes inside the box, and the drum will name the shape that’s fallen through, its colour, and the animal depicted on it! Furthermore, by drumming on the lid and on the sides, your toddler will call upon a variety of sounds preloaded into the toy. There are around thirty of them plus three nice songs to sing along to.

You can leave the shapes inside when you and your child don’t play with it, this way nothing will get lost accidentally. The lid is easily removed to get the shapes from inside when it’s time to play again.

Review of VTech 185103 Baby Sort and Discover Drum - Multi-Coloured

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Early Learning Centre EC134361

Spur Creative Thinking

Now to play with this children's activity cube, the young explorer will have to apply some thinking skills and quite a bit of curiosity to work, and that’s what makes this model so much fun for little ones. It is pretty simple in construction yet offers a number of fun activities. At the first glance, you can see the main entertainment here—the toy somewhat resembles a house and the kid will put the ball into the “chimney”, then push it down with a little plastic hammer so that it travels down and inside through cleverly tilted passageway with a hole at the end. Another way inside for balls (there are two of them) as well as for two cubes is through the respectively shaped holes using which the kid develops his or her fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It all looks quite primitive but toddlers do actually marvel at the fascinating way down and inside, it makes them laugh happily and think about how to get the toys out. That’s where the tricky part starts—in finding the way to open the house. It will take some fun time exploring and maybe some help from the parent (hence, the family bonding time) to find the keys hidden on the walls and open one of two “doors” inside. It is all quite a journey, and one the kids between 1 and 2 years of age love to take time and time again.

This activity cube is made of BPA-free plastic so it poses absolutely no danger to your little one. It is also very bright and eye-catching. The set contains the house itself, two balls, two cubes, two keys, and a hammer. The toy calls for creative thinking and delivers loads of fun.

Review of Early Learning Centre EC134361 Multi Activity House

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is an Activity Cube?

Today, you can find a wide range of engaging toys, intended to promote learning at each stage of a child's development. To boost a toddler's fine motor and cognitive skills, an activity cube is probably the best option. Designed as a cube or a figure with more than five sides, it has plenty of activities to offer, such as bead mazes, abacuses, sliders, sorters, etc. Interactive play cubes boast sound and visual effects to keep your tot busy and enhance his/her audio and visual perception and cognitive development. Most models include such elements as numbers and letters that help little children learn and recognize them and develop motor skills. You will not notice how quickly your kid will start to count and read first rhymes!

An excellent tool for stimulating infant's physical and mental development is a baby gym. If your tiny tot is about to make his or her first steps, we recommend you to get one of the baby walkers so he/she could move around safely while sitting in it.

What Features to Compare

Recommended Age

It is common knowledge that each toy works best at a particular stage of child's development; besides, it should comply with the corresponding safety standards for each age group. An activity cube is designed for kids under 3 years old, hence, it has to be sturdy and durable, with all small parts being properly fixed, and edges well-rounded and polished.

Infants get to know the world through tactile sense; after a while, they show curiosity in interactive toys with sound and visual effects before they finally get interested in more complicated tasks like learning letters and numbers. Manufacturers usually specify the recommended age on the package. Yet, you should also take into account the individual needs and skills of your child. The toy should also include some engaging elements that may come useful at different development stages of your kid's development. Luckily, most cubes contain a great number of interactive and learning activities that besides joy offer kids a nice and enjoyable way to develop new skills.

Entertainments and Activities

A classic wooden play cube has five surfaces with different toys on each of the sides. There are also larger models designed in the shape of hexahedrons that have more sides and playing activities. Each toy features a unique design that may resemble a little garden, town, castle, etc., and a bead maze on the top. Moving the beads up and down a wire, children enhance their fine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination. Usually, activity cubes feature a pathfinder on one of the sides for promoting a child's logical thinking and engaging slides and spinning gears on the others. Some of them have a shape sorter that teaches problem-solving skills as well as colour and shape recognition. You can find a lot of cubes with the alphabet and counting abacus; these are aimed at older kids to teach pre-math and pre-reading skills.

In addition to the above-listed teaching aids, interactive play cubes entertain children with various sound and visual effects, such as nursery songs, phrases, flashing lights, etc. If you do not mind these tunes playing now and again, there is hardly a better toy to gift your tot and keep him/her engaged.

Size and Material

Quality materials are essential when it comes to selecting toys for babies as they tend to grasp and taste everything that gets in their way. That is why it is advisable to choose a cube made of wood or high-quality plastic. As for the size of the cube, it should be sturdy enough to stay firmly in place so that it doesn't accidentally hit your kid while he/she plays with it.

FAQ:

Q: How to pick the best play cube for my kid?
A: First of all, consider the age specified by the manufacturer. Your kid might lose interest after a short while if the toy does not correspond to his/her developing stage. Next, think of your little ones' preferences. For example, some kids adore flowers and animals. They will be happy to flip blocks with pictures of funny little creatures and will surely love interactive play cubes that reproduce animal sounds. Children who love mazes will enjoy moving vibrantly coloured beads up and down the wires, so a cube with a bead maze will be a better option for them.

Q: Which cube to choose, wooden or interactive?
A: A battery powered activity cube provides a great load of visual and sound effects to engage and keep your baby amused for hours. Those parents who don't like electronic toys and think them noisy should opt for wooden cubes that don't make any noises at all.

Q: Can you adjust the volume of an interactive cube toy?
A: The manufacturers do their best to make their toys attractive to both kids and their parents, so the toys usually have a user-friendly switch, allowing you to turn the volume up/down.

Q: How often do you need to replace batteries?
A: Since most of the activity cubes automatically shut off when being not in use for a while, they don't drain batteries a lot. On average, standard batteries last for a year or so, depending on how often your kid plays with the cubes and activates the sounds.

Q: Do I need a cube with an alphabet and abacus if my baby is only one year old?
A: Play cubes are designed to provide developing activities for babies and toddlers. It'll be perfect to get a cube that will remain interesting for a growing child and offer him/her educational benefits and activities at different development stages. Besides, the alphabet can be used for learning animals and colours too.

Q: Why should I buy an activity cube for my child?
A: It is not a secret that children grow very fast and they need quality developing toys to satisfy their growing educational needs. Buying a play cube with a range of engaging toys will help boost your kid's fine motor and problem-solving skills, enhance his/her hand-eye coordination and promote the cognitive development.

Q: Can it be used in waiting areas?
A: Yes, it can! Toddlers and even older children love to play with activity cubes; it is a perfect toy to keep them busy for quite a long time and promote a cooperative play.

Sources:

1. Good Toys for Young Children, NAEYC.

2. Kids Toy’s Buying Guide, eBay. May 13, 2014.

3. An age-by-age guide to buying toys, SheKnows. January 8, 2013.

4. Age-appropriate toys, BabyCenter. August 2016.

5. Infant cognitive development, Wikipedia. March 31, 2017.

6. Sara Peronto 10 Ways to Promote Your Child’s Cognitive Development, Friendship Circle. June 9, 2014.

7. Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development, ASHA.

8. Amanda Lehrman 10 Activities to Improve Your Toddler's Development, Parents.com.

9. Alison Bell The Benefits of Shape-Sorter Toys, Parenting.

10. Help Your Toddler Breeze Through Maths With Abacus, Being The Parent.

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Publish Date: 2018-02-06 11:39:26