What Are The Best Stacking Toys for Toddlers? – 2021 Edition

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Looking for a new fun toy you can count on? Stacking toys might seem simple, but they actually provide significant benefits to both physical and mental development for kids between six months to about eight years of age.

But not all stacking toys are the same. Before making a purchase, you’ll want to be aware of some key differences between brands.

We’ve gathered up the seven best stacking toys for 2021. Plus, we’ve also included a great buyer’s guide so you can learn about all of the benefits stacking toys provide. You’re going to like it a lot!

The Best Stacking Toys

Fisher-Price Light-Up Lion Stacker

This bright and colorful stacker features a fun and friendly lion at the top of the stacking pole.

Pros

  • Four large, colorful rings perfect for small hands
  • Includes seven different fun songs
  • Light-up lion head at top of the base
  • Safe for a baby or toddler between 6 months and 8 years

Cons

  • Great for a baby or toddler
  • Only includes four rings
  • Has no volume control or off button

The new Fisher-Price Light-Up stacking toy uses lights and sounds to engage with small children. The stacker features four large, translucent rings – each a bright primary color. The star-shaped rings are large, soft and durable. Even young kids will have no problem grasping and stacking the rings. And it assists them to develop their motor skills!

Unlike many other stackers, the Light-Up Lion includes a variety of sounds. Kids really like them! One of seven different songs plays whenever a new ring is stacked on the base. Of course, the real star here is the lion. Pressing down on his head plays additional songs, while also lighting up. It’s definitely one of the best stacking toys available. We really like this one!

The First Years Stack Up Cups

Introduce young kids to the fun of cup stacking with this beginner set of eight colorful cups.

Pros

  • Eight stackable cups of different sizes
  • Bold, bright primary colors
  • Kids like playing with them in baths
  • Safe for a baby or toddler between 6 months and 8 years

Cons

  • Colors aren’t as vivid in person as on packaging

These colorful and durable cups are easy to grab and stack. This fun stacking toy set includes eight cups total each of which is a slightly different size. All new cups can be stacked together. Each of the cups is a different primary color. Each cup is also numbered on the bottom to make it simpler for kids to learn numerals (and like it!).

Aside from stacking, these fun cups are also designed for baby at bath-time fun. Each cup has unique holes in the bottom. When filled, the water will drain through the holes in unique shapes. It’s so fun!

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack

Five brightly colored rings including a top ring which contains swirling, rattling beads.

Pros

  • Five easy-to-grasp plastic rings
  • Bold primary colors
  • Top ring filled with beads
  • Assists development of fine motor skills
  • Easy to clean stacking toy
  • Help kids to like to learn
  • Safe for a baby or toddler between 6 months and 8 years

Cons

  • Base must be unscrewed for full cleaning

This is a classic ring stacking toy for babies and toddlers. As you may expect from Fisher-Price, the quality of the toy is very high. The rings vary in size with the largest four inches wide and the smallest three and a half inches.

The top ring is transparent and filled with beads. Kids like to watch (and hear) the beads rattle and shake. While the other rings don’t have beads, they are each a different primary color. Rings are made from non-toxic plastic which is not only easy for a baby of child to grasp but also easy for parents to keep clean.

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker Wooden Ring Educational Toy

This eight-piece stacking toy is made from easy-to-grasp, non-toxic and all-natural wood.

Pros

  • Eight-piece ring set made entirely from wood
  • Rings are all the colors of the rainbow
  • High-quality Melissa & Doug products
  • Safe for a baby or toddler between 6 months and 8 years

Cons

  • Wooden stacking rod can potentially be dangerous

The Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker is an all-wood set with eight colorful pieces. The pieces are each painted a different primary color. Plus, the base gently rocks.

As with all Melissa & Doug toys, this stacking set is made from all-natural wood. Each little piece is sanded smooth so no splinters will stick into little hands. All paint and materials are non-toxic.

Fat Brain Toys GeoPeg Stacking Tower

Three sets of wooden stacking toy blocks which assists kids to learn about colors and shapes.

Pros

  • Three collections in one: octagons, rings and cones
  • High-quality wood pieces painted with non-toxic paints
  • Aids the development of motor, reading and writing skills
  • Helps kids like to learn about new shapes and colors

Cons

  • Paint may chip over time

The GeoPeg Stacking Tower is actually three separate batches: six octagons, five cones with a cylindrical topper and seven rings with a spherical topper. The pieces are various yellows, greens, blues and other bold primary colors.

Sets help teach kids different shapes, colors and more. All materials are precision crafted using BPA-free plastic. Plus, you can simply place all the pieces onto their pegs for easy storage and transportation. They’re great!

Melissa & Doug Deluxe 10-Piece Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks

A tall collection of cardboard blocks which helps kids around the age of three learn the alphabet.

Pros

  • Aids the development of reading and writing skills
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • 10 cardboard blocks with detailed illustrations
  • Blocks may be stacked and nested

Cons

  • Cardboard blocks not as durable as wood or plastic

This collection of nesting blocks is fun from A to Z! Each side of the 10 blocks contains a different letter of the alphabet as well as an illustration of an animal or object which starts with that letter. Made from cardboard, the blocks are large and lightweight. Stacking all the blocks together creates a tower about three feet tall!

Ideal for beginning readers ages two and up. Blocks can be stacked by letter, color or size. Introduces kids to each letter in the alphabet as well as words related to that letter. Aside from stacking, the best blocks may also be nested inside one another (which allows for easy storage). Parents like this!

Green Toys My First Stacker

An environmentally-friendly stacking set made from recycled milk jugs.

Pros

  • Unique disc-shaped pieces are safe for young kids
  • Eight differently-sized pieces in a rainbow of colors
  • Made from 100% recycled milk jugs

Cons

  • Might be too simple for older kids

Safe for kids ages six months and older, this stacking kit has an elegant simplicity. Consists of eight stackable, nestable, disc-shaped pieces. The colorful pieces have rounded edges and stack without an internal rod.

Each piece is made from 100% recycled milk jugs and is BPA and Phthalate free. Pieces are also dishwasher safe. This set has been awarded an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, Creative Child Toy of the Year and more. It’s one of the best!

First Builders Big Building Bag

A colorful box of stackable blocks safe for kids one year or older.

Pros

  • Includes 80 Mega Bloks plus special shapes
  • Bloks connect for easy stacking
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Plastic is soft, durable and BPA-free
  • Compatible with other Mega Bloks products

Cons

  • Limited color palette
  • Mega Bloks are generally considered lower quality than LEGO products

Mega Bloks have a reputation as a LEGO knock-off, but they’re actually great for kids. They’re large enough not to pose a choking hazard plus they’re durable enough to withstand rough play. Also, they connect from top to bottom so even young kids may easily build towers and structures.

Parents love how easy they are to store. Simply scoop them into the included storage bag. Unlike Legos, Mega Bloks are softer and easier to see, so you’re far less likely to step on them and hurt your feet. The blocks in this collection are compatible with all other Mega Bloks products.

Stacking Toys Frequently Asked Questions

What are Stacking Toys?

Suitable for kids from the age of six months all the way up to eight years and older, stacking toys are a classic favorite. The best stacking toys consist of a variety of objects which can be stacked on top of each other. Rings, cups and small boxes are all commonly found in stacking toy sets.

What Types of Stacking Toys are Available?

Not all stacking toys are the same. They can be divided into four types:

Rings

These collections will usually include a pole and base to hold the rings. Stacking rings may be either all the same size or a range from little to large.

Blocks

Baby blocks are a type of stacking toy. Blocks can be used to create towers or other structures. All the blocks in the collection will be the same size. Many blocks will have pictures, letters or numbers on each side. The best baby blocks assist kids in the development of good hand-eye coordination.

Nesting Toys

Aside from cups, nesting toys includes basically any set where the pieces can be stacked inside one another. The cups will be the same size. You might have seen professional cup stackers on TV. While your baby or child probably won’t be able the go nearly as fast, the basic idea is the same.

Geometric Stackers

These collections include a variety of different geometric shapes which much stacked in a certain order. These are great for hand-eye coordination and highly educational.

Are Stacking Blocks Safe for a Baby?

Generally, the best stacking blocks are very safe, even for babies and young kids. However, you’ll want to watch out for two potential problems:

  • Choking hazards
  • Toxic chemicals in the plastic or paint

A baby or a child will likely try to put little blocks in its mouth. You want to make sure the blocks are too big to fit. It is best to always follow the recommended age guidelines for the specific blocks you intend to buy.

Of course, beyond the age guideline, always use your common sense. You know your baby better than anyone. Always watch carefully when your child is first playing with a new set of blocks. Generally, stacking blocks are best for kids over the age of one.

Just because a child can’t get the block far into their mouth doesn’t mean they won’t still chew on it. Make sure the blocks contain no toxic chemicals.

The main thing to look for is BPA-free plastic. BPA is an ingredient which used to be commonly found in many different plastic products. It’s been linked to impaired brain development in children. While BPA isn’t used nearly as often as it has been, you still want to make sure any plastic stacking blocks you plan to buy are specifically labeled as “BPA free.”

What are the Benefits of the Best Stacking Toys?

Stacking toys are so simple to play with that many parents don’t fully realize the educational benefits at first. But the best stacking toys help develop both the body and the brain. They’re especially effective for a baby in early childhood development, starting around six months.

Stacking cups and toys help improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Manipulating the individual pieces helps develop control over the fingers and hand muscles. The basic skills learned from stacking toys become the foundation for more complex tasks like using a writing instrument. They are very educational for a baby or a child!

Additionally, stacking toys help a baby to learn about “crossing midline.” This is a person’s ability to use their hand in a different hemisphere of their body. For instance, using your right hand to tie your left shoe is an example of crossing the midline. Playing with some of the best stacking toys is often a great way to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Sets with differently-sized pieces are the best for developing fine motor skills with time. At first, a baby doesn’t have the fine muscle control to grasp with their fingers, so they grab with their entire hand. This whole-hand approach is great for picking the larger rings or pieces. As they develop more control over individual parts of their hands, they’ll be able to pick up smaller and smaller pieces.

Stacking cups and toys also help kids learn to recognize shapes, colors and sizes. Starting around the age of 18, kids start to recognize a variety of different colors. Stacking toys where each stackable is a different color are often a great choice for younger kids who need to develop hand-eye coordination. Additionally, stacking toys with both little and big pieces help teach kids concepts like “big” and “small.”

The best stacking toys also help kids learn language skills, especially when the parent plays with the baby or child. Parents can say the name of a color or shape and encourage the child to repeat it. The development of basic words for colors and sizes is an important building block in learning how to form more complex sentences.

Where do I Find the Best Stacking Toys & Stacking Cups?

Regardless of the specific type, almost all stacking toys will be made from either plastic or wood.

Wood creates a classic look and is typically found in stackable rings and blocks. Plus, young ones usually love the feel of the wood pieces. High-quality wood pieces won’t have splinters or harsh edges. However, wooden pieces can become damaged after prolonged exposure to water. Wooden pieces are generally heavier than plastic, too.

The best plastic toys for a baby will usually be made from ABS plastic, which is a non-toxic commercial-grade plastic. Plastic stacking toys are usually lighter than wood. They’ll last a long time and are also easy to clean.

You’ll also want to make sure the stacking toys are visually appealing to little ones. Kids are drawn to bright, bold colors. While rings are typically just colors, blocks will often be decorated with letters, numbers or kid-friendly illustrations. This will develop hand-eye coordination even more!

Aside from the colors, don’t forget the textures. Toddlers tend to like the slightly flexible feeling of plastic toys, but they also like the cool, smooth texture of wood. There’s no right answer here. As long as the toys are made from non-toxic materials, either is great for a baby or toddler.

More pieces aren’t always better. A baby or younger child will often prefer the simplicity of smaller stacking sets which have just three or four pieces. However, larger collections can grow with the child, because they’ll learn to handle the smaller pieces over time, which also helps with hand-eye coordination over time.

Finally, you’ll want to consider transportation and storage. Nesting toys are often little and easy to store, as are ring stacking toys which have a left rod. While storage around the house isn’t a big deal, a batch with a bunch of loose pieces can be a hassle to travel with.

Final Thoughts

Stacking toys and nesting toys are often some of a baby’s first toys, but the benefits provided can last a lifetime. Simple stacking cups, rings or other objects help kids learn about colors, sizes, numbers and more. Plus, stacking toys are great for improving fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and other cognitive skills. Stacking toys build a variety of skills to help your child learn to speak, talk and succeed. We hope that you like them as much as we do!

Brett Gordon
 

The brains behind The Toy Report. Having clocked tons of time in toys research and online resource development, today, Brett is dedicated to making The Toy Report a trusted space in the world of toy reviews and recommendations.