Which activity cubes are best?
If you are looking for a fun way to develop your child’s cognitive and motor skills, activity cubes are the way to go. They can help improve everything from hand-eye coordination to reading and problem-solving skills. Best of all, they keep kids entertained while doing so.
There are plenty of things to consider when choosing an activity cube for your child, such as the build materials and theme, but the most important is how well it fits their developmental age. If you want a cube that can grow with your child from the time they are a baby through to their toddler years, opt for a model with plenty of activities of varying skill levels, such as the Hape Country Critters Wooden Activity Play Cube.
What to know before you buy an activity cube
Activity cubes can provide countless hours of entertainment and learning for a child, but only if you get one that fits their skill levels. Most activity cubes list the intended age range, but you’ll also need to consider an individual child’s developmental stage when choosing a model. Ideally, the activities should reinforce and build on things they already know or things you are just beginning to teach them.
For example, if your child understands a few letters, consider buying an activity cube that has the entire alphabet or perhaps a few basic words they can practice spelling out. Very young toddlers tend to do best with activity cubes that provide a lot of tactile sensations because they can enjoy these long before they begin to recognize shapes or letters.
In addition to cognitive skills, consider motor skills. An activity cube should be challenging for a child but not so difficult they become frustrated when trying to use it.
Along with your child’s developmental stage, consider their interests. Activity cubes are available in a variety of themes, ranging from sports to animals and storybook fantasies. Choosing a model that incorporates pictures, shapes and characters they like should make it more engaging for them. Some models also mix themes, which are great for children who don’t yet have specific likes and dislikes.
While you might assume any toy marketed for children is safe, this is not always the case. This means the responsibility ultimately falls on parents and other caretakers to ensure they aren’t giving children a toy that could be dangerous. When looking at activity cubes, consider the size of the pieces and if any can be detached or broken off by a determined child. Check that it doesn’t have sharp edges or corners.
Activity cubes are made from a variety of materials. Wood is the most eco-friendly option but plastic models often are cheaper and more likely to have sounds or music. There also are plushie activity cubes for babies.
What to look for in a quality activity cube
Number and type of activities
Some activity cubes only have a few activities while others might have 15 or more. The greater the number of activities and the more variety, the more time a child will spend playing with it. The most common activities are bead mazes, matching mazes, abacus sliders, shape sorters and spinning gears.
Activity cubes with sounds can be more engaging, especially for young children. Some feature pianos, xylophones or other instruments. There also are models that play recordings at the touch of a button, such as counting, animal sounds or nursery rhymes.
Lights also can make activity cubes more interesting. These often come with models intended for babies between 1-2 years old.
How much you can expect to spend on an activity cube
Small plushies for babies tend to cost between $10-$20. Plastic models range from $10-$50, and wood activity cubes cost between $20-$125.
Activity cube FAQ
How do you clean an activity cube?
A. Activity cubes can be difficult to clean because of the number of nooks and crannies. Start by wiping down the exterior with a solution made from warm water and standard dish soap. Wipe it down one more time with a damp cloth to remove as much of the soap as possible. If you have a place to do it, you can leave it outside in the sun for an hour or two to help kill off germs and bacteria you may have missed when wiping it down.
Is it OK for a child to climb on an activity cube?
A. No. Never allow children to climb or pull too hard on an activity cube. Either of these actions can lead to the activity cube falling on the child and potentially causing injury. To ensure safety, always supervise your child when they’re using their activity cube.
What’s the best activity cube to buy?
Top activity cube
What you need to know: With a country theme, vibrant colors and plenty of activities, this activity cube should keep most children between the ages of 12 months and 6 years entertained for hours.
What you’ll love: It is made from wood sourced from sustainable forests and finished with nontoxic, water-based paint. The durable construction allows it to withstand plenty of use.
What you should consider: You could easily lose some pieces.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Top activity cube for the money
What you need to know: This model combines an elephant shape with engaging activities.
What you’ll love: You can remove the bead maze and use it separately, making it a great choice for multi-child households.
What you should consider: It is too small for some babies in the recommended age range.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This affordably-priced toy keeps children engaged while allowing parents to keep to their budget.
What you’ll love: Most children are drawn to its bright primary colors, and its lack of any notable theme makes it suitable for all children, no matter their interests.
What you should consider: It’s very lightweight and some children may accidentally push it around while playing with it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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