Photo gallery: 12 educational toys for babies, toddlers and preschoolers

For the under-5 set, playtime is serious work. That's because the time kids spend moving, grooving, feeling, exploring, investigating – even chewing and tasting! – is time spent learning and growing. The best toys for little kids challenge their intellectual and motor skills in fun and age-appropriate ways. Here are 12 we love.

By Jamie Noguchi

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1. An Indestructibles book

Finally: A drool-, reflux- and sticky finger–proof picture book that runs 12 whole pages, rather than the typical four or so pages of a cloth book. Your little one will be enthralled by Kaaren Pixton's beautifully rendered collage work. Best of all, this nontearable, paper-like book can be enjoyed for years (or generations!) to come, since all the nontoxic books in the Indestructibles series are dishwasher and laundry safe.

Birth+
Mama and Baby! (Workman, 2010) by Kaaren Pixton, $6, mastermindtoys.com

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