The 10 Best Activity Cubes

Updated March 28, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Activity Cubes
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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Don't tell your wee ones, but they're not just having fun when they play with these exciting and colorful activity cubes. Their numerous features are designed not only to entertain, but also to help with the development of crucial visual and motor skills, and to promote thinking, problem solving, reading, and shape recognition skills as well. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best activity cube on Amazon.

10. B. Zany Zoo

Designed for kids aged 1 to 3 years, the B. Zany Zoo is sure to keep tots busy as they explore and discover its hidden surprises. It features 26 animal illustrations to help kids learn the alphabet, and its bright colors create a fun, engaging atmosphere.
  • good for collaborative play
  • comes in elegant gift packaging
  • a bit on the expensive side
Brand B. toys by Battat
Model BX1004Z
Weight 17.9 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. VTech Ultimate Alphabet

For those in the market for a small and low-cost option, consider the VTech Ultimate Alphabet. It comes with 13 letter blocks that help teach the ABCs, and parents will love its volume control switch, which keeps the sound at a tolerable level.
  • led screen reinforces learning
  • helps with motor skills development
  • not the most entertaining option
Brand VTech
Model 80-505000
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Fisher-Price Incrediblock

The classic shape sorter gets an upgrade with the Fisher-Price Incrediblock. Babies up to two years old can entertain themselves for hours with this educational learning tool that features flashing lights and sounds that respond to their actions.
  • teaches cause and effect principles
  • built-in accessory storage
  • runs through batteries quickly
Brand Fisher-Price
Model C5523
Weight 12.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Alex Toys My Busy Town

The Alex Toys My Busy Town is a 12-inch wooden cube that features curvy wire rides, rotating alphabet tiles, and much more. It gives kids enough play options to keep them occupied for hours on end, and sits on a sturdy base that won't budge.
  • can stand up to rough play
  • teaches words and letters
  • spinning blocks may pinch fingers
Brand ALEX Toys
Model 4W
Weight 15.3 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. WolVol Musical Play Center

Let your child's imagination grow with the unique WolVol Musical Play Center. It features calm, quiet music and sound effects, a detachable cell phone for pretend play, and a retractable microphone that allows children to perform their favorite songs.
  • steering wheel emits real car sounds
  • good compact option
  • best if used under supervision
Brand WolVol
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Anatex Deluxe Mini Play

With five colorful sides, the Anatex Deluxe Mini Play is not only a fun toy, but also makes great decor for a nursery or playroom. It features interactive gears, rotating alphabet blocks, a four-row abacus, a pathfinder, and five zany bead runs.
  • made in the united states
  • good for kids from 3 to 10 years old
  • alphabet blocks may be out of order
Brand Anatex
Model DMP9014
Weight 12.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Alex Jr. Woodland Wonders

The Alex Jr. Woodland Wonders has seven interactive sides, so lots of kids can play with it at once. In addition to teaching the alphabet, it also has an adjustable clock, making it a great tool for teaching your child how to tell time.
  • fun and colorful animal motif
  • good for standing or seated play
  • clock hands can loosen over time
Brand ALEX Toys
Model 224010-3
Weight 14.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. EverEarth Garden

The adorable EverEarth Garden is made of solid wood and watercolor-based paints for a play experience that is as kid-safe as it is fun. It's also highly educational, as it promotes thinking skills, problem solving, reading, and shape recognition.
  • comes fully assembled
  • made of sustainable materials
  • hollow interior suitable for storage
Brand EveEarth
Model EE33285
Weight 13.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Kidcraft Deluxe

With plenty of activities for kids to pick from, including a bead maze and an abacus, the Kidcraft Deluxe weighs in at a hefty 9 pounds, so it'll stay put wherever you decide to keep it in your home. Its smooth, rounded edges keep your child extra-safe during play.
  • solid wooden construction
  • bright and colorful components
  • tool-free assembly is fast and easy
Brand KidKraft
Model KKR63298
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Hape Country Critters

The Hape Country Critters has five interactive sides, which allows for small groups of kids to play together, and is made with all nontoxic, child-safe finishes. It includes colorful wooden balls and blocks to help children develop shape-recognition abilities.
  • promotes imaginative play
  • large enough for toddlers
  • robust german construction
Brand Hape
Model E1810
Weight 20.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

The Importance Of Play For The Young Mind And Body

Playtime is anything but child's play; in fact, it is through play that a youngster learns almost everything about their world, from the basics of shape and color, to complex concepts like counting and grouping, to the nuances of sharing and cooperation. And then of course there's the fact that playing is simply fun; play is a way for children to enjoy themselves, to feel secure and loved, and to burn off excess energy in a safe and productive environment.

So facilitating play is of critical importance for the thoughtful, engaged parent, care provider, and/or educational facility.

Researchers of childhood development have divided play into four concrete stages of play. They are defined as:

Solitary Play - During this stage, children tend to engage with objects, adults, animals, and everything else on their own terms, usually disinterested by the intentions others may have for a given toy, instrument, book, and so forth. Solitary play usually lasts until around two years of age.

Parallel Play - This stage involves playing alongside other children, potentially even engaging in the same activity as a peer, but it seldom involves truly cooperative play, such as sharing a game or completing a joint art project. Parallel play is common to age three and sometimes beyond.

Associative Play - Often referred to as "mirroring," this stage of play will see children engaging in the same activity, though not necessarily doing so in cooperation. A child may be inspired by what he or she sees a peer doing and feel compelled to then complete the same action themselves. This play is common among three and four years old.

Cooperative Play - As the name suggests, this type of play signifies a child finally fully engaging with others, sharing activities and understanding the give-and-take nature of cooperation. It is a critical skill that the youngster will refine for the rest of their lives, and which will commence in the fourth or fifth year of life.

One of the best ways to facilitate appropriate, productive play for single children and for groups of kids alike is with a high quality activity cube, which will provide myriad opportunities for exploration and enjoyment in one handy unit.

What To Look For In An Activity Cube

You should choose an activity cube that is both at and slightly above your child's developmental stage; for example, if your child has learned basic counting and number correspondence skills, consider an activity cube that has numbers starting in the range your child already understands but counting up higher than their current ability. If your child can recognize a few letters and seems interested in learning even more about language, opt for an activity cube that has the entire alphabet and perhaps even some simple words on display.

For very young children, the best activities are tactile; a child can enjoy an activity cube long before they have the knowledge of colors, shapes, numbers, and letters simply by touching, grasping (and likely tasting) its varied facets.

For young toddlers who need more engagement than comes with touching and feeling alone, but who aren't yet ready for counting or reading activities or for more complex fine motor activities, options with lights, sounds, and recorded songs may be appropriate.

And of course a parent should always consider a child's interests when selecting an activity cube (or any other toy, for that matter). If your child loves animals, an activity cube with an animal theme will keep them more engaged than one with a sports theme and will therefore better draw them into the learning opportunities at hand, such as counting the number of animals on a given portion of the cube.

What To Watch Out For In An Activity Cube

As noted, one activity cube might be a perfect fit for a given child yet an outright poor choice for another. So too might one activity cube work perfectly with the type of learning and play activities that a family, camp, daycare, or school likes to provide, while that same item might not align with the approach of another household or organization. (For example, many parents are opposed to recordings, sound effects, flashing lights, and so forth, while others may appreciate the engaging distraction these electronic elements create.)

So when considering an activity cube, look not only for positive attributes, but look also for those facets which might not suit your needs or preferences. A child's safety is always the paramount concern, so beware of activity cubes with smaller parts and pieces that are either designed to be detached or which might easily break off from the unit, potentially creating a choking hazard.

Beware too a lighter weight activity cube -- and/or one with a smaller, less stable base -- that might fall over onto a child if pulled or that might not afford enough stability for a youngster not yet fully balanced on his or her feet.

Watch out also for activities that are too advanced for a child, as attempting to play with them might lead to frustration and feelings of failure, and likewise be sure not to choose an activity cube that is already below a child's developmental stage, as they will quickly grow bored of playing with it.

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Last updated on March 28, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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