The 6 Best Activity Cubes

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by Ileana Morales Valentine

Maybe the first one you spotted was in a pediatrician’s waiting room, and your kiddo made a beeline for it. Your baby or toddler will be just as happy to have an activity cube at home for playing and learning. The best activity cubes offer at least five ways to play in activities that engage their senses and will come in a size to suit your space.

Most activity cubes are made of wood or plastic. Wooden options are heavier, making them especially sturdy and more durable over time. For safety, look for those that have a stable, wide base and use water-based nontoxic paint. Plastic activity cubes are more affordable and often have battery-powered musical and light-up features that delight babies and toddlers (although parents may tire of the sounds).

Some bigger cubes are as tall as 20 inches, which allows your child to grow with it and permits more than one child to play. Smaller or handheld cubes can easily be put away between uses and some even come in washable fabrics.

With so many ways to play in one toy, activity cubes are an investment that offer educational activities, like sorting shapes or moving beads through a maze, and can engage your baby or toddler in important developmental skills, including improving their fine motor skills. Other key features include recognition of colors and letters or shapes, a tactile feature such as opening a door or pushing a button, and vibrant and contrasting colors that appeal to babies and toddlers. Some activity centers even double as walkers, so you can have two essential toys in one.

Now, ahead are the six best activity cubes to add to your little one’s play area for hours of fun.

1. An Heirloom-Worthy Activity Cube

  • Coolest Feature: spinning animal alphabet with beautiful illustrations
  • Recommended Age: 12 months and up
  • Dimensions: 13.98 x 13.98 x 18 inches (length by width by height)

The darling illustrations of farm animals on this wooden activity cube look like something out of a classic children’s storybook, and maybe that’s in part because this family-owned toy company has been around for more than a century. It’s a much-loved toy with an impressive 4.8-star rating and over 5,000 reviews on Amazon for its five sides of engaging activities. The standalone solid wood cube has a wide, sturdy base with smooth, rounded corners and water-based nontoxic paint finishes.

The engaging and colorful illustrations adorn multiple farm-themed panels, including farm animals and a tractor that can be driven through the farm and looping beaded mazes. Little ones can improve their hand-eye coordination, better understand cause and effect, and engage in imaginative play when using this cube. On one side, panels reveal mix-and-match animal puzzles, and on another are peek-a-boo panels. There is a spinning animal alphabet and an engaging wooden bead roller coaster. And one more thing you’ll love to hear: this cube arrives fully assembled.

A helpful review: “This is the best children’s toy I have ever purchased! My baby just started standing up and needed stimulation from a new vantage point. [...] I wanted something that would engage him as he grows, instead of just pushing buttons. The craftsmanship is beautiful, the quality of the paint is excellent. There’s so much to do with this toy and it’s such an awesome developmental tool! It’s heavy and holds his weight just right. This is the kind of toy that gets passed down through generations. It’s worth every single penny!”

2. A Smaller Activity Cube That Lights Up & Plays Music

  • Coolest Feature: motion sensor-activated sounds to encourage crawling
  • Recommended Age: 6 months old to 3 years old
  • Dimensions: 6.22 x 6.22 x 6.46 inches (length by width by height)

With over 20,000 reviews, this highly rated educational activity cube is a cult favorite that delights babies and toddlers with its four light-up buttons, animal sounds, and other interactive features. It’s small and lightweight enough for a little one to hold on their lap, and this plastic activity cube is brightly colored with five sides for sensory play.

More than a dozen interactive features, including flippable letter and object tiles, sliding toys, 25 songs and melodies, and animal sounds, can help develop fine motor skills, language development, and imaginative play. Plus, the cube has a motion sensor that activates sounds when moved, which catches a little one’s attention and can even be used to encourage crawling. Since this is a toy that makes noise, you’ll appreciate the cube’s adjustable volume and automatic shut-off. Two AAA batteries are included for the demo, but keep in mind you’ll have to replace them. The cube comes in either red or purple.

A helpful review: “Compared to others we've had in the past for my son and daughter, this is by far our favorite. It is the perfect size for a baby/toddler to sit at and play with, while also being big enough to stay engaging and fun. I even catch my son playing with it too sometimes, and he's 7 now. Our 1 year old daughter loves the music, animal noises, and the spinning toys. This is by far one of her favorite go-to toys and has stood up to the test of her banging it around quite a bit for the last 4 months. [...]

3. This Toddler Activity Cube That’s Especially Great For Siblings Or Play Dates

  • Coolest Feature: quadrant design, a built-in abacus for early math skills
  • Recommended Age: 1 year old and up
  • Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 22.5 inches (length by width by height)

This tree-themed toddler activity cube is the tallest of my picks and features four walled quadrants in its design, creating a space that’s comfortable for two toddlers to share and play next to each other. The standalone wooden activity center is colorfully detailed using water-based nontoxic paints with a fun nature theme extending throughout the toy.

There are six tracks with animal-themed gliders to engaged motor skills, as well as six bead runs that loop in each section. A built-in abacus can introduce counting, and peek-a-boo flaps reveal friendly animal faces. Keep in mind assembly is required for this one, but with over 2,800 reviews, many reported the toy was relatively easy to assemble.

A helpful review: “[...] This is a beautifully made, sturdy, and interesting toy. My boys are 12 months and 3 and they both play on this together. It is great for multiple children to play at the same time. It isn't noisy at all and blends into your decor, the colors are a bit more subtle than some kid's toys. I know that this toy will last for years and has become a fast favorite in our toy room.”

4. The Musical Activity Center That’s Also A Walker

  • Coolest Features: musical keyboard and phone
  • Recommended Age: 9 months to 3 years old
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 14.2 x 18.1 inches (length by width by height)

Your little one can grow with this toy: at first, it’s an interactive toy with an activity panel that can be removed for handheld interaction, and as they become more mobile, it’s a walker. This learning walker is also a bonafide favorite with a 4.8-star rating after nearly 50,000 reviews.

My son especially loved playing with the phone on this plastic activity toy, and it boasts several other alluring features: five piano keys that play music, spinning rollers, three numbered light-up buttons that also function as shape sorters, shifting gears, and a peek-a-boo animal-themed door. This toy comes with more than 70 songs and sound effects (with adjustable volume) and two AA batteries to get started. As a walker, you’ll appreciate the adjustable speed on the wheels that work on carpeted and hard flooring. Playing with this toy can encourage creativity and help develop motor skills.

Love the two-in-one aspect but would prefer a non-plastic option? Look no further than this cute wooden walker.

A helpful review: “My daughter loves this! Before she was ready to use the walking part of it, she was obsessed with the front activity portion. I still have some of the sayings memorized and stuck in my head from hearing her play with it every day. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the wheels had two settings (a slightly harder/slower and a more easy/quicker one). This was extremely helpful to her when she first started using the walker to walk with. The activity portion on the front also detaches, which is nice, so she could have it laying on the ground to play with if she wanted.”

5. This Worth-The-Splurge Activity Cube That Even Older Kids Will Love

  • Coolest Features: shape sorter, ball run with pounding toy
  • Recommended Age: 1 to 6 years old
  • Dimensions: 13.78 x 13.78 x 21.8 inches (length by width by height)

As any caretaker quickly learns, toys accumulate quickly, so one that combines several really unique toys into one always feels like a winner. This wooden play cube fits in several toddler staples: a pounding toy that also sends wooden balls down a ball run, a shape sorter, and a bead maze. And since the recommended age range for this toy goes all the way up to six, you know this pick is going to see years and years of use.

The bright finishes on the toy use water-based nontoxic paints, and playing with the five activity sides encourages the development of motor skills, logic, problem-solving, storytelling, and patience to see activities through from start to finish. With over 2,500 reviews, several reviewers reported this toy would entertain their kids for a long time.

A helpful review: “This is one seriously adorable, entertaining activity cube! I am so pleased with the quality of this item. Bright, vibrant colors, quality craftsmanship, easy to put together, and multiple entertaining activities for your toddler! My son is 1 year old [...] I had wanted a few different toys for his first birthday- a wire bead maze, a ball roller coaster, a shape sorter, and some sort of spinning gear-like accessory. The Hape Country Critter activity cube was a perfect all-in-one option, had an bright, playful design that wasn't too babyish but would still be attractive to a child and spark the imagination, and was from a reputable brand of children’s toys I felt I could trust. [...]”

6. A Portable Activity Cube For Babies To Play Anywhere

  • Coolest Features: mirror, peek-a-boo ball
  • Recommended Age: 3 months old and up
  • Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 6 inches (length by width by height)

For babies, this portable activity cube is delightfully soft and entertaining. The six activity sides hold clacker rings, a hidden ball, an attached star that fits into a pocket, crinkle leaves, and a peek-a-boo mirror babies will love gazing into. The colorful cube is also striped and dotted with high-contrast patterns that appeal to babies. Some users report washing the soft fabric of this handheld cube with success.

A helpful review: “This is our go-to car toy! We leave it in the car to entertain our 5 month old. She plays with it for a long time! There are so many cute details for little ones to discover. She loves it!! Makes car rides much easier.”