Second graders absolutely love hands-on activities, especially when they can do them with their classmates, friends, and family! There are plenty of ways to incorporate educational toys into the curriculum to liven things up, while still sticking to those standards. We have done the work and searched for the best, tried and tested educational toys and games for second grade. These games are perfect for centers, fast finishers, and free-time choice activities. Plus, parents can stock up on some to keep the fun learning going at home. Let the good times roll!
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
These addictive little building pieces challenge kids’ fine motor skills and brains. Link them horizontally or build vertically for both 2-D and 3-D creations.
Not that kids need another excuse to love LEGO, but this intro to stop motion animation definitely kicks their fun up a notch. Cultivate patience and exactitude—not necessarily qualities second graders are known for!—with this project-based learning opportunity.
We love this building-puzzle combo product for teaching kids to navigate directions and diagrams as well as challenging them to stick with a project. No chargers or Wi-Fi required—this educational toy for second grade is STEM in its original form.
We promise that we’re not including this just because we’re nostalgic for our childhood Tetris battles! This low-tech version is great for independent or partner play, and we also like making connections to the concept of perimeter vs. area.
No need to reinvent the wheel; the Rubik’s cube is a classic logic puzzle that doesn’t get old. This one is easily manipulated and durable. Let kids experiment and then help them research and learn specific strategies for solving it. We love leaving one in a calm-down area of the classroom for kids who need a break, too.
Kids can—and should—use real tools! Especially when they are designed for kid-sized hands. Woodworking builds fine motor skills and incorporates math and creativity. If you aren’t handy yourself, learn alongside kids with the awesome primer and project book Wood Shop: Handy Skills and Creative Building Projects for Kids by Margaret Larson.
Origami is the original step-by-step craft. But, if you’ve tried it with kids, you know that it can get frustrating! The directions in this kit are manageable for budding second grade origamists, we promise.
Here’s a brilliant best-of-both-worlds craft item. Introduce kids to gear mechanisms and forces and motion—with super cool spirograph and spin art!
Kids love dice in dice, and they hold so many possibilities for math practice games; check out this full list! This 10-sided option offers versatility for working toward second grade math goals.
This versatile tool is a great way to introduce kids to numbers to 100. The colored tiles help them practice skip counting or identify patterns. We love the 120 board version, too!
We adore the 20-bead version of this Dutch math tool, but this larger version is particularly awesome for second grade modeling of addition and subtraction to 100. The color-coded groups of five and rows of 10 help kids conceptualize number amounts and encourage them to use mental math strategies.
Oh, place value. You have to teach it—oftentimes, in so, so many ways. This matching game keeps things exciting and fast-paced and offers plenty of modeling for kids.
Magnetic poetry is the quintessential way to play with words, and kids always manage to create the best poetic lines. Use this to launch a poetry unit or just for fun.
As kids become able to read more complex stories, the ones they can tell and write get more creative, too. Simple prompts from these picture dice unleash plenty of ideas!
Here’s another clever use for dice: helping kids talk about and reflect on what they read. These are good to have on hand for small groups or individual check-in conversations about reading.
Second graders are natural performers, and a microphone with a professional feel encourages them to go for it. They’ll be eager to use this multi-function microphone for interviews, poetry slams, performance reading, and plenty more. See our full list: How Creative Teachers are Using Their Microphones to Rock Instruction.
Start simple with the first projects in these user-friendly beginning electronics sets—or go deeper for budding electrical engineers. Each set of step-by-step directions teaches kids to set up a circuit that produces light or sound, which makes for an extremely satisfying sense of completion.
Building an erupting volcano is a childhood must-do. We like that this set includes plenty of Nat Geo-approved information to get kids excited about the science beyond the fizzing bubbles.
When you want to inject some WOW into your study of states of matter, this wizard-themed kit does the job. The projects included are simple but impressive to kids. (Think a crystal-filled magic wand and glowing potions.) They work for a whole-class demo, small group investigation, or at-home science fun.
Get kids hooked on geology by tapping into kids’ love of “treasure” and permission to smash stuff! We like to use the geodes as subjects for science observations and labeled drawings, too.
Build vocabulary and background knowledge while working on strategy and questioning techniques. This card game version of the classic “20 Questions” comes in several topics—we especially like Animal Planet, States of America, and World Cities as educational toys for second grade that reinforce classroom content.
A tangram is a square cut into seven geometric, moveable pieces, which can then be made into other shapes. Have students explore with them freestyle to make their own creations or use a book with animal patterns that are ready to fill in.
There’s so much to pique kids’ curiosity in this puzzle. Challenge them to figure out the continent and country of their favorite image and research it.
STEM alert! Your students will love using their imagination to build and create all types of architectural structures with these magnetic tiles. This is a great way to expose your students to geometric shapes and the concept of magnetism.
This old school, childhood favorite incorporates symmetry, color patterns, and shape patterns—and gets the creative juices flowing. As your students create amazing works of art, they won’t even notice they are working on math skills at the same time!
Everyone loves this word building game, down to the fun banana-shaped case! Students can build words together while making word connections. There are some great companion activity books to help your students learn the basics before exploring on their own.
Everyone in your class will want a turn playing this strategy game, which helps students hone in on their spatial reasoning skills. For more ideas for your classroom, check out our list of best board games for kids ages 6-12.
Not only is Uno super fun, but it is surprisingly educational, too! Second graders can work on skills like counting, matching, strategic thinking, and more.
This game is great for building vocabulary and deductive reasoning skills. You can also easily use the board as a template to make your own games focusing on other content. Check out these hacks for using Guess Who? and other popular game boards to tailor it to your current units of study!