Best Gear Toys for Babies and Toddlers

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Gear toys can be extremely satisfying but they can also be a great educational tool for toddlers and babies.

The interlocking elements encourage your child to use the gears to move each of the parts and this can help to develop their motor skills, hand and eye coordination, whilst benefiting many other aspects of their development.

colorful gears

As parents, there is often pressure to equip your children with the very best toys that are not only fun to play with, but educational too.

Finding the right toy can be a struggle but not to worry as we have done the hard work for you. We have browsed the market and reviewed our top five picks of the best gear toys available that are suitable for babies and toddlers of various ages.

Not only are your children going to get great enjoyment from playing with them, but you can also witness the exciting changes in their development.

OUR TOP PICK

Playskool Explore 'N Grow Busy Gears (Amazon Exclusive)

Sure to be an exciting addition to playtime, the Playskool Explore N Grow Busy Gears toy features 11 interchangeable gears each of which functions in different ways.

While some spin, some play fun sounds, and others illuminate flashing lights.

It is easy to use and simply requires you to press the buttons and this will allow your little ones to swirl and turn the different gears experimenting with sounds, as well as developing their confidence with grasping each of the components.  

A great educational tool and developmental aid, this game encourages your little one to move and stack the different gears which helps to promote spatial awareness along with cause and effect from a young age. 

The brightly colored, enthusiastic design is sure to make this appealing to babies aged 12 months and older. The captivating design is going to provide them with endless amounts of fun and excitement.

Pros

  • The carry handle makes it easy to take on the go.
  • It is suitable for babies ages 12 months and older. 
  • The bright design is going to make it engaging for babies and toddlers.
  • The gears can be removed and stacked in different orders which can help with development.
  • It's durably designed to withstand interaction from your toddler and impact from the ground.

Cons

  • You can't alternate between different songs as it features a singular function button.

EDITORS CHOICE

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Caterpillar

This gear toy by Melissa and Doug certainly doesn't compromise on entertainment value.

The toy itself is shaped like a caterpillar and each gear is different in color. This is great for developing their awareness of colors and animals. 

The concept of this game is to encourage your little ones to use the gears to turn the legs of the caterpillar therefore making it walk.

Aside from color recognition, it also helps to develop hand to eye coordination and fine motor skills. 

Each of the gears can be spun and they can also be removed and rearranged. As the gears are interlocking, your children can learn how to grasp and change the gears themselves.

When giving your toddlers toys of any kind it is likely that they are going to be dropped and heavily handled sometimes.

This needn't be a concern with this toy as it features a sturdy wooden base along with solid gears that are going to resist damage well.

Pros

  • Melissa and Doug is a brand that's renowned for producing excellent quality children's toys.
  • It can be used by children from the age of 18 months to three years.
  • Affordably priced it is excellent value for money. 
  • It's a great tool for developing cognitive skills as well as hand and eye coordination.
  • The compact design makes it great for taking with you on the go.

Cons

  • The gears are prone to sliding out of place which can make it unsuitable for use on uneven surfaces. 

BEST VALUE

VTech GearZooz 2-in-1 Jungle Friends Gear Park (Frustration Free Packaging), Multicolor

The Vtech gear park is a 2-in-1 activity center that is suitable for children between the ages of 18 months to 4 years.

Featuring multiple gears your children can enjoy listening to the melodies while watching the lights.

Other interactive modes include brightly colored piano notes that play music while introducing numbers and colors to playtime.

Using the slider function, your children can choose between multiple interactive play modes that each differ slightly but are all just as fun. 

If you want playtime to be dedicated to the gears, the table can be turned over to find a surface that is dedicated to the gears alone.

Featuring 16 different but colorful gears this toy is bound to appear engaging for your baby or toddler.

The light-up buttons make the entertainment center much more immersive indicating when each of the buttons has been pressed.

It has also been durably designed to withstand frequent play.

Pros

  • A versatile play center that serves multiple exciting purposes. 
  • It comes in frustration-free packaging which allows for a convenient setup.
  • It is suitable for children between the ages of 18 months and 4 years of age. 
  • The angle can be adjusted depending on whether your child is sitting or standing while playing.
  • Many interactive elements provide hours of entertainment.

Cons

  • It is light so may fall over if it isn't placed against a weighted surface.

RUNNER UP

Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Starter Building Set, Early STEM, 60 Pieces, Ages 3+

If you are looking for a resource that is suitable for older toddlers, the Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! building sets could be an excellent choice encouraging hands-on involvement from your toddlers as they attempt to construct their own structure using the gears. 

This resource engages your child by encouraging them to use their critical thinking, creative thinking as well as developing their awareness of cause and effect.

A great thing about this resource is that it provides your toddler with the complete freedom to experiment with what they create. 

As a 60 piece set, your children certainly aren't restricted on what they have available.

The 28 uniform gears are available in a range of colors, along with 4 interlocking base plates that can be set in different variations depending on what your child is creating.

If this wasn't enough it also comes with 14 square pillars, 13 six-way axles, and an activity guide for inspiration.

Suitable for toddlers aged 3 and onwards, this gear set is a great form of STEM play that is also easy to use so that they can enjoy independence while creating their masterpieces. 

Pros

  • There is no set structure so your children have the freedom to create whatever they choose.
  • It comes in a set of 60 pieces providing long-lasting entertainment.
  • This resource is great value for money.
  • The gears are versatile and can be removed and twisted in both directions.
  • There are many different colors so this resource encourages them to use their imagination.

Cons

  • The parts fit together quite tightly which may make it difficult for toddlers to remove the gears themselves. 

RUNNER UP

Woody Treasures Wooden Toys - Butterfly Gear Game (Educational & Development Toys, Great Gift for Girls and Boys)

A great way of keeping your little ones entertained while educating them at the same time is by using the Woody Treasure Butterfly Gear Game.

The wooden board is shaped like a butterfly with gears found in the main body and each of the wings.

Each gear is a different shape and this helps your little ones to develop their awareness of colors and shapes.

Each part of the game serves a specific purpose in helping to improve your child's fine motor skills as well as their hand and eye coordination while allowing them to explore their creativity.

The pieces can be removed to encourage your child to replace them in the correct order, however, they cannot be rearranged due to the different shape design. 

This game is ready to use from the get-go with no assembly required.

It has also been durably designed using high-grade materials that are sturdy enough to withstand frequent interaction from your children. 

With a recommended age of 18 months and older, this game is sure to be an exciting addition to playtime.

While it's great for home use, it can also be used in a classroom or learning setting as an educational tool.

Pros

  • This game has been made using non-toxic materials which make it safe for your toddler to play with. 
  • It can help with the development of many skills.
  • It retails at an affordable price and is great value for money. 
  • It has been durably designed to withstand frequent play from your baby or toddler.
  • The bright colors are going to be appealing and engaging.

Cons

  • This toy is a little small so it is necessary to be aware of this before making your purchase. 

Buyer's Guide

There are many factors to consider before selecting a gear toy for your baby or toddler.

Of course, it has to be safe for their age but it should also be fun and engaging, encouraging them to move the gears ultimately helping to develop a multitude of skills.

The Safety

The safety of the toy is paramount. If a toy is marketed towards a specific age category this should be adhered to.

Some gear toys come with smaller pieces that are going to be unsuitable for young children as they present a choking hazard.

You should also ensure that your children have someone with them so that they aren't alone with small parts.

As the gears are intended to be moved in different directions it is important to ensure that they aren't sharp as this could hurt your child's fingers.

The Durability

Ideally, the toy should be durably designed so that it can withstand potential damage with ease.

It should also be sturdily designed to withstand frequent interaction and play from your baby or toddler without becoming easily damaged or deteriorating in quality. 

The Age

Different gear toys are marketed to different ages. Those that are marketed towards older toddlers are of course going to be slightly more advanced than those that are intended for babies.

You will find that many are marketed towards children between the ages of 18 months to 4 years and this provides them with a decent amount of time to enjoy lots of play with their toy.

Skill Development

Aside from providing lots of fun, gear toys can help to develop and improve a range of skills. This includes their fine motor skills, color association skills, their hand to eye coordination skills, their numeracy skills, as well as familiarizing them with different sounds and textures.

Many of these toys require your child to identify the different colored or shaped gears to move them in different directions.

If the toy has a complex structure it is going to be increasingly difficult for your baby or toddler to use independently.

On the whole, they are a valuable addition to playtime that boast many educational benefits. 

The Colors

The color and theme can be highly influential in how attractive the toy is to your baby or toddler. Those that feature a bright color scheme are likely to seem much more appealing.

The use of different colors can also develop your children's knowledge of different colors but also develop their color association too. 

The Portability

If you are looking for a toy that can easily be taken with you on the go, portability is important.

Those that have a handle and are lightweight are going to provide greater convenience in how easy they are to carry between locations. 

This means that your children never have to be without their favorite toys. 

The Cost

There are many affordable gear toys available on the market making them a great educational aid while remaining excellent value for money.

It is important to ensure that the toys have been designed using excellent quality materials so that they aren't going to become easily damaged. If you are a parent on a budget do not be put off by expensive price tags as there are plenty of affordable options available. 

Removing and Stacking the Gears

Many of these toys require your child to remove and stack the gears and this allows them to develop their familiarity with each of the different sections.

For example, your toddler can gain familiarity with specific shapes and colors. Many can be removed and restacked in different orders which helps to develop spatial awareness.

Ideally, removing the gears should be a straightforward task, if you struggle to remove the gears, this is going to be even more challenging for a baby and toddler and defeats the purpose of them using the toy independently. 

The Brand

When browsing the market, you may develop a preference for a particular brand.

There are many dominant brands in the toy industry with reputations for producing excellent quality toys, that are durable and solidly made to allow your child to enjoy long-lasting use.

There are also some less known brands that create some great toys that your children are bound to get hours of enjoyment from. 

The Size

It is important to pay attention to the specified dimensions of your chosen product. You don't want to receive it to be disappointed that it is too small.

Consider how the toy is intended to be used, if you are looking for a convenient toy that can be used on the go a small and portable toy is going to be preferable, however, if you are looking for a larger toy that is more sturdily designed you may choose to invest in a more substantial product. 

Multifunctional

The market offers some toys which are solely gear based.

Many come as multifunctional products that feature many other engaging forms of entertainment for your toddler or baby to enjoy.

It is necessary to consider the style of the toy required before browsing the market to cater your purchase to this. 

Frequently asked Questions

What makes a toy safe for a toddler?

It is important to ensure that all toys are safe for your babies and toddlers.

Toys that come with additional small objects that shoot into the air aren't recommended as they present a choking hazard. 

It is also suggested that toys that produce loud noise should be avoided as they can be overpowering and harmful to their ears.

At what age can my child start playing with toys?

Generally, babies become engaged with toys around the age of 10-14 weeks.

Of course, at this age, they aren't going to play with toys themselves but they are likely to get enjoyment from rattles and bears, etc as well as becoming familiar with different textures and shapes.

Most gear toys are marketed towards children aged 12 months and onwards. It is important to ensure that the toys are suitable for your child's age and they don't pose any safety risks. 

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