The Best Activity Cubes for Babies and Toddlers (2020)
Activity cubes are often a great way to keep a younger child busy and entertained. But they’re far more than a simple diversion. Activity cubes also have a variety of developmental benefits. They improve critical thinking, fine motor skills and much more.
Activity cubes are varied, so finding the right one for your child isn’t always easy. But we’re here to help. We’ve found the best activity cubes for kids in 2020. Plus, our complete buyer’s guide has all the info you need to know.
- 10 Best Activity Cubes
- 1. VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube
- 2. WolVol Activity Cube Play Center for Babies and Toddlers
- 3. Gleeporte 5-in-1 Wooden Activity Play Cube
- 4. Forstart 6 in 1 Activity Cube
- 5. EverEarth Garden Activity Cube
- 6. Alex Toys My Busy Town Wooden Activity Cube
- 7. Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze
- 8. Melissa and Doug K’s Kids Musical Farmyard Cube
- 9. WYSWYG Baby Activity Play Center, Multipurpose Cube
- 10. AOKESI Educational Baby Sit Up Toys, Musical Activity Cube Play Center
- Frequently Asked Questions about Activity Cubes
- What is an Activity Cube?
- What are the Benefits of Activity Cubes?
- How Do I Find the Best Activity Cube?
- Should I Get an Electronic Activity Cube?
- Is it alright to let my baby play with an activity cube designed for a toddler?
- Are more features always better?
- Final Thoughts
10 Best Activity Cubes
1. VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube
A durable, colorful and high-quality offering from VTech, this Busy Learners Activity Cube is packed with songs, effects and activities.
- Five-sided cube with songs, lights and more
- Over 14 interactive features
- Designed for kids ages six months to three years
- Helps develop language skills, fine motor control and more
- 14 features might be too many for younger kids
- Requires two AAA batteries
There’s certainly no shortage of activities here! The Busy Learners Activity Cube from VTech has four light-up buttons, five sides, 14 interactive features, 25 songs and much more. A motion-activated sensor plays fun sounds whenever the cube is picked up or moved.
Parents will love this activity cube, too. Regular play helps kids develop fine motor controls, understand cause-and-effect relationships, learn language skills and much more. Plus, unlike many activity cubes, the Busy Learners cube has both volume control and automatic shut-off.
2. WolVol Activity Cube Play Center for Babies and Toddlers
A high-tech cube filled with sights and sounds including a musical alarm, built-in microphone and more.
- High-tech activity center with music, sound effects and video
- Includes wheels, gears, buttons, slider and more
- Plays music to wake up child
- Music has no volume control (and can be pretty loud)
- Batteries not included
The WolVol Activity Cube includes a variety of tech-based activities including a built-in microphone, animal images and a detachable “cell phone.” Also features a steering wheel with driving sounds, gears which play music when turned, and even a gentle bell and music to wake the child up in the morning.
With a total size of 11.5 inches by seven inches, this activity cube uses bright colors, videos, sound effects and music to capture the attention of babies and toddlers. Filled on all sides with buttons, gears, wheels and more. Modern technology provides an updated take on the classic busy box.
3. Gleeporte 5-in-1 Wooden Activity Play Cube
With a classic design made entirely from wood, this cube has five different activities all designed to appeal to toddlers.
- Five fun, unique activities
- Natural wood construction
- Kid-friendly colors and illustrations
- Helps kids learn colors, shapes and more
- No sound effects
Kids will be entertained for hours and hours with this five-in-one activity cube. Rotate the cube to play with the bead maze, wooden blocks, wooden insects, rotating gears and insect sliders. The top of the cube is removable for easy storage of the beads and other accessories.
The entire cube is made 100% non-toxic natural wood. The activities are painted a variety of pastel colors including various cartoon bees and butterflies. Regular play helps kids learn about shapes and colors while also helping develop fine motor control.
4. Forstart 6 in 1 Activity Cube
Packed with six different activities, this activity cube includes animal sounds, mirrors, bells and more.
- Six activities with sound effects and music
- Includes working clock
- Pieces can be locked together like a puzzle
- Moveable pieces can be lost
- Not suitable for kids under one
The Forstart Activity Cube contains six activities including many not commonly found elsewhere such as bells, a mirror of cognition and a clock. Also includes beloved favorites such as counting beads and shape sorting.
This cube includes a variety of fun sounds including songs and animal noises. Also includes a working analog clock to help kids learn numbers and time. Six pieces can be interlocked together in different ways as a fun, simple puzzle.
5. EverEarth Garden Activity Cube
This six in one activity cube from EverEarth helps kids learn about colors, sizes and even time.
- Made from FSC-Certified Beech wood
- Six sides packed with activities
- Fun insect illustrations and bright colors
- Non-toxic and environmentally-friendly
- Wood pieces can break apart over time
Made from 100% FSC-certified Beech, this Garden Activity Cube from EverEarth features six large sides of activities. Includes counting beads, spinning gears, wire bead maze, sliding animals, shape sorting and more. The activities are all painted in bright pastels (using non-toxic water-based paints).
These brightly-colored activities stimulate senses and help develop fine motor skills, grasping, logical thinking and more. The garden theme of the cube includes a variety of fun insect characters as well as many different shapes. A durable, classic activity cube which requires no assembly.
6. Alex Toys My Busy Town Wooden Activity Cube
An all-wood cube with five sides of activities and highly detailed illustrations of fun animal cartoons.
- Classic all-wood construction
- Five sides of activities
- Fun animal illustrations
- Requires no batteries
- Pieces do not come apart
This Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award winner is a high-quality, cheerful activity cube made from wood. Five sizes of activities include curvy wire rides, peek-a-boo doors, turn and learn ABC tiles and more. Best for children ages one and up.
Detailed illustrations feature a variety of happy bees, dogs and cats going to school, playing in the park and having fun. The cube has no electronic parts or removable pieces. However, the wood beads and other parts have a satisfying feel and sound kids will love.
7. Play22 Activity Cube with Bead Maze
When your child needs a handful of different activities in one convenient package, this Play22 Activity Cube is a great pickup thanks to its durability and cheerful design.
- Nearly two dozen different activities in one box
- May improve problem solving skills
- Difficult to clean
This activity cube has blocks, numbers, animals, letters, mazes, and more. So, when your child plays with the cube, they’ll be able to find the activity that best fits their preferences. They’ll also be able to develop preferences of their own the longer they use the cube.
But, the features packed into this cube come at the expense of it not being very parent-friendly. You’ll struggle to clean spit up and baby dribble off this cube thanks to its numerous crevices.
8. Melissa and Doug K’s Kids Musical Farmyard Cube
The cube features four different animals with sounds and music, and it is reactive enough for children to press the cube themselves to make the sound.
- Soft and lightweight
- Easy to grasp, carry, and throw
- Features a variety of tactile and sound components
- Built-in safety mirror
- No light elements
Melissa and Doug products have a reputation for creating high quality early childhood toys, and the Musical Farmyard Cube is no exception. This soft cube is a great first activity cube for babies. Its bright colors invite babies to explore, and it’s lightweight enough for them to carry around on their own without assistance.
Cube tabs and flower petals make a satisfying crinkly sound when the baby touches and grasps them. The cube also features a plastic safety mirror for children to see their reflections.
This toy also includes a comfortable grasp handle for easy carrying. Since the cube is soft and lightweight, it also works for toddlers who want to throw it without hurting themselves or anything around them. The only thing this cube lacks is light-up elements, but otherwise a great product.
9. WYSWYG Baby Activity Play Center, Multipurpose Cube
It comes shaped like a house, but the cube panels can interlock in nine different arrangements to provide a different visual display. This activity center has it all and will provide endless hours of stimulating play for your baby.
- Features many activities to keep babies interested
- Panels can be rearranged and interlocked for different play experiences
- Does not include soft elements
- The whole cube is hard plastic
This play center features a lot of different activities for babies to entertain themselves and is suitable for babies six months or older. The activities include a play rotary phone for babies to dial, a bead maze, rotating gears, a shape sorter, a steering wheel, and a music and sound panel with brightly colored easy push buttons.
The only thing you might want to be careful of is that the shape pieces are small and made of hard plastic and may require extra supervision while using them.
10. AOKESI Educational Baby Sit Up Toys, Musical Activity Cube Play Center
This activity cube is best suited for older babies 18 months and up. Children can rotate gears, use tools, press buttons, practice color, shape, and number recognition, and so much more.
- A variety of activities offer hours of entertainment
- Helps teach cognitive and life skills
- Great value
- No soft elements
While this brand isn’t well-known, it is very high quality. The cube has six sides with 15 different activities. It includes all the features you want in an activity cube, and then some and the price is far less than toys from some better-known brands that include fewer features.
It features lights, music, and sound effects. The activities featured all help to develop essential skills. Some activities work to improve eye-hand coordination while others focus on developing fine motor skills. Still, other activities help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Children will not get bored easily with this toy, nor will they grow out of it quickly. It’s a great all-around product.
Frequently Asked Questions about Activity Cubes
What is an Activity Cube?
Also referred to as a “busy box” or “busy cube,” activity cubes are a toy with at least four sides which feature a variety of different activities. The basic idea of the cube is to provide a wide variety of audio, video and tactile stimulations for kid’s short attention spans.
Activities will vary based on the specific brand and model of toy but generally will include sliders, gears, wheels, buttons, bead mazes and more. Some activity cubes include electronic features such as lights, sound effects and music.
Many activity cubes will include numbers and letters into the activities. Multiple different colors will also be used in the design. Some cubes will also include fun illustrations.
What are the Benefits of Activity Cubes?
While these busy boxes will keep your little one entertained and engaged, they provide much more than a distraction. Activity cubes help with a wide range of physical and mental development.
Activity cubes help develop both gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills use large muscle groups, and are the first types of motor skills to develop. This is why younger kids will often grasp at objects with their entire hands. Cubes with large, easy-to-grab activities such as wheels and levers help develop gross motor skills.
Around the age of two or three, your child will start to develop fine motor skills. These are the precise use of the fingers combined with hand-eye coordination. Some activities which help develop fine motor skills include zippers, buttons, beads on a wire and other relatively complex activities.
Activity cubes are often a great way to introduce kids to letters, words and language in general. Cubes which talk are ideal here. Research shows that hearing words spoken aloud helps kids learn how to read.
Music, especially with lyrics, also helps kids learn language processes. Words which rhyme help kids understand how to form simple sentences. Plus, music and sound effects can provide helpful feedback when the cube is used.
How Do I Find the Best Activity Cube?
Consider the following categories:
Activity cubes are designed for kids under the age of three, so the materials need to be safe, durable and age-appropriate. Both plastic and wooden activity cubes should be made from non-toxic ingredients, including the paints used.
The age guidelines for the activity cube are important for two reasons. Age guidelines help make sure the activities on the cube are appropriate age-wise for the child. For babies and toddlers, choose an activity cube with a lot of bold colors.
Generally, younger children prefer activity cubes which focus on tactile activities. Even before kids understand colors and shapes, they like to grasp and touch new surfaces. Tactile activities on cubes can include wheels, buttons, sliders, different surfaces and more.
Kids over the age of two will be interested in advanced cubes which focus on letters, numbers and words. Choose an activity cube which meets and slightly exceeds your child’s current development stage. For example, if your child understands a few letters of the alphabet, an activity cube with the entire alphabet will be interesting but challenging.
The age guidelines also help determine the safety of the activity cube for the child. Activity cubes for kids under two will have no small, detachable parts which could potentially be swallowed. More sophisticated activity cubes could have small parts, like batteries.
Number of Activities
An activity cube will have a different activity on at least four sides. Some cubes have five, six or more activities. (“Cube” is more of a general term than a literal description.)
Babies generally show more engagement when the toy only has a few activities to choose from, while older kids like a larger variety of activities. But your child’s personal preference is really the most important. Some kids like to play with a certain type of activity over and over, while other like to skip from one activity to another.
Don’t forget to match the theme with their interests. For babies and toddlers, interests don’t extend much beyond bright colors. But starting around the age of three or so, kids will start to identify and favor themes like animals, farm scenes and more.
Activity cubes don’t require a lot of space. Kids are often perfectly happy playing with an activity cube just about anywhere. This makes them a great diversion during road trips, airplane flights and other situations where you’ll want your child to be entertained but also quiet.
If you’re interested in an activity cube you can easily bring along on outings, you’ll want a cube without any removable pieces. Instead, a compact cube will be easier to transport. A cube which doesn’t need batteries might also be an easier choice to use during longer trips.
Should I Get an Electronic Activity Cube?
Should you buy an activity cube packed with electronic features? There are advantages and disadvantages.
Common electronic features include music, sound effects, a working clock and more. Hearing words spoken out loud, even words on an electronic recording, often help kids develop language and reading skills. Plus, sound effects help kids stay engaged even if they don’t know how to read.
On the downside, electronic activity cubes do require batteries. Make sure young ones can’t open the cube to access them or any other internal components.
Another potential issue with electronics in an activity cube is noise. Some of those songs can play pretty loudly, which can get pretty annoying for parents. You’ll want to make sure the cube has a volume control and can easily be turned off (some cubes don’t have an off button).
Is it alright to let my baby play with an activity cube designed for a toddler?
While most activity cubes say they are for a specific age, if your baby is interested in an activity cube designed for your toddler, it’s perfectly fine to let them play with it. Make sure to supervise your baby carefully if the cube includes small parts, but otherwise, as long as it’s not causing your toddler to get jealous, let your baby explore to their heart’s content.
Most of the time, babies will be attracted to different features than toddlers. However, activity cubes that have a variety of play features will probably work for a more extensive age range. Both toddlers and babies will probably enjoy musical elements. In contrast, babies may be more interested in tactile elements, and toddlers may be more interested in any games the cube might feature.
Are more features always better?
No more features are not always better. While some kids are busy and need a lot of stimulation, others may get overwhelmed by too many features. Also, consider each feature’s purpose. Having a lot of bells and whistles isn’t going to mean anything if your baby or toddler isn’t interested in all those features or if the features don’t add to the entertainment or educational value.
Activity cubes aren’t just fun diversions. They can play a critical role in helping kids develop motor control, hand-eye coordination, language, critical thinking skills and more. When shopping for an activity cube, always make sure to buy one which is age appropriate for your child. Plus, you want the activities on the cube to be just a small stretch beyond your child’s current development level, which will help them grow.
Activity cubes are toys with benefits which can last a lifetime. Help your child start life with all the advantages by giving them an activity cube today!