Busy babies are happy babies — and activity cubes do precisely that. Wooden activity cubes are a worthwhile investment in your 1 to 2 year old’s learning, development, and entertainment.
When shopping for an activity center for your baby, look for baby-safe design and materials with a variety of activities for your child to explore.
Between 9 to 18 months is the time when most babies are ready for a play cube.
So here’s your guide to an excellent first- or second- birthday gift.
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In a hurry?
You’ll miss out on all kinds of helpful activity cube tips and tricks that I’ll share later…
But if your baby’s birthday is coming up and you’ve got no time to waste — here’s your fast-track to finding the right activity cube.
- (01) Battat Zany Zoo Wooden Activity Cube is the world’s most popular wooden baby activity cube.
- (02) Hape Country Critters Wooden Play Cube is great for shape sorting and has a cool hammer peg activity.
- (03) Manhattan Toy Creative Activity Centers are my personal favorite because of their creativity.
- (04) EverEarth Garden Activity Cube is a six-sided alternative to the Anatex activity cube.
- (05) Laser Temple Large Wooden Sensory Cube is made to keep babies and toddlers busy all day.
- (06) TOP BRIGHT 5-in-1 Shape Sorter Activity Cube is a small activity cube perfectly sized for 12 months.
- (07) Boobo Toys Montessori Busy Cube is perfect for playing house and learning practical skills.
5 Reasons To Love Wooden Activity Centers
If you’re wondering whether or not a wooden activity center is worth it — here are five and a half good reasons to consider an activity cube for your 12 to 24 month baby.
(A) All-Afternoon Entertainment
The activity cube comes with loads of different games for babies and toddlers to play with.
(B) Fine & Gross Motor Skills
The activity cube keeps your child’s hands busy with all kinds of puzzles, fidgets, sensory experiences, and zany surprises.
Most activity cubes come in a shape and size that allows your child to interact with it both standing up, on hands and knees, or sitting down. That means your little one’s legs will get moving too.
(C) Engagement From Baby To Toddler Years
Most activity cubes are recommended starting at 12 months old. It’s a first birthday gift that will get playtime even into the toddler years.
(D) All Kinds Of Learning Objectives
From cognitive skills like cause and effect to school-ready skills like the ABCs, 123s, and basic shapes — the activity cube is a holistic learning experience for growing minds.
(E) Wood Is Better
An activity cube is exactly the type of toy that’s better when made of wood.
Plastic activity cubes are more affordable. Many of them include flashy electronic lights and sounds.
Choosing a wooden activity center is like a high-five with Mother Nature.
With eco-friendly toys, you’ve just got extra peace of mind knowing it’s chemical-free and baby-safe. Not to mention — wooden activity cubes are magnificently beautiful.
Top 7 Wooden Activity Cubes (Review & Recommend)
(01) Battat’s B Toys Zany Zoo Wooden Activity Cube
The world’s favorite wooden baby activity cube.
Battat brand’s Wooden Farm Animals Activity Center is the world’s most popular wooden activity cube.
If you need a 1 year old’s birthday gift now and don’t have time to shop around — get Battat’s.
With over 6,000 five-star reviews (at the time of writing) — you can rest assured you are buying a kid-tested parent-approved play toy.
This is an incredibly fun way for your little one to learn all the farm animals.
Made of solid wood with a classic farmhouse feel — it’s a reminder of a simpler time when more childhoods were spent interacting with nature and our furry friends.
The chunky wooden play pieces are perfect for tiny hands.
The classic primary color scheme sets the mood for your baby to learn — and looks great in your home too.
(02) Hape Country Critters Wooden Activity Play Cube
Awesome for shape sorting and has a cool hammer peg activity.
What’s not to love about Hape brand’s wooden play cube with colorful and friendly critters to play with.
The cube has a full five sides for the full spectrum of playability. Your baby can take a beaded adventure, sort shapes, turn knobs, and hammer pegs.
Made for kids from 12 months up to 6 years — it’s a toy to revisit through the years.
Accompanied by little wooden bug characters, your little one will put together puzzles and learn logic skills.
Your baby will have a blast with this bright-colored fully-featured activity play cube.
(03) Manhattan Toys Creative Activity Center
Like imagination times 1,000 and creativity times 1,000,000.
To be perfectly honest, Manhattan Toy’s wooden activity center is my absolute favorite.
It’s the perfect blend of creativity, imagination, and art.
The Tree Top Adventure Activity Center is a best-seller for hands-on learning.
The Deep Sea Adventure Toddler Activity Center is a deep-sea dive into under-the-sea imagination.
The Playful Pony Wooden Toddler Activity Center is like an adorable piñata that your little one can play with for years to come.
With limitless creativity — I really love the purpose and direction behind the Manhattan toys brand. For a baby activity center that sparks a vivid imagination, here’s where to look.
(04) EverEarth Garden Activity Cube
An Anatex-style activity cube just like at the doctor’s office.
EverEarth brand’s Garden Activity Cube is a 6-sided activity center with a colorful wooden shape sorter, winding bead maze, and a number counting abacus all built into one.
People that like Anatex activity cube’s “at the dentist office waiting room” vibe should definitely take a look at EverEarth.
EverEarth is a less expensive option with comparable play features (at the time of writing). EverEarth is a money-saving alternative.
(05) Laser Temple Large Wooden Sensory Cube
A sensory busy cube with tons of different activities.
If you’ve never heard of sensory cubes before — you’re in for a treat.
They’re a type of activity cube that’s just a little bit busier. This single 11.8-inch cube includes a total of 17 enriching sensory activities.
Each face of the cube is fully playable with a tutti frutti assortment of clocks, locks, doors that open, gears that turn, a usable drawing board, and a percussion instrument.
Designed for child development for ages 8 months to 4 years — Laser Temple brand’s large wooden sensory cube has all that in just one toy.
(06) TOP BRIGHT’s 5-in-1 Shape Sorter Activity Cube
The best small-sized activity cube for those early months.
Sometimes choosing a simpler toy turns out to be a whole lot less expensive too.
TOP BRIGHT brand’s 5-in-1 Shape Sorter Activity Cube is a simple and affordable pick for 1 to 2 year olds.
With basic shape blocks (square, triangle, circle), rotating gears for baby-sized hands, and a simple caterpillar-themed 3D bead maze on top — it’s a little less busy than some of the other activity cubes we’ve looked at.
It’s smaller than other activity cubes too.
But it’s at an affordable price and enjoys over 2,500 five-star ratings (at the time of writing).
2,500 people can’t be wrong!
Leo & Friends brand makes a pastel-colored alternative for your daughter’s first birthday.
(07) Boobo Toys Montessori Busy Cube
Montessori-aligned, perfect for playing house, plus teaches practical skills.
This is the activity cube for kids who love to play house.
Boobo brand’s adorable house-themed busy cubes take a Montessori-inspired approach — encouraging young children to learn practical life skills.
These play activities teach your child to use everyday objects like doors, drawers, cupboards, and locks.
It’s got a total of 20 activities in 1 cube.
Not to mention — Boobo brand’s mini activity cube is the perfect travel partner for your toddler. It’s a small activity cube perfect for a weekend day trip.
Activity Cube Alternatives (Worth A Peek!)
(A) Baby Teether & Grasping Activity Baby Toy
If you loved Manhattan Toy’s imaginative activity center, but your baby’s not quite old enough — check out Manhattan Toy’s beautifully geometric baby teether and grasping toy.
(B) Wooden Shape Sorter
Sometimes simple does it. Melissa & Doug’s wooden shape sorting cube is an ultra-simple activity cube — just for shaping blocks. I’s recommend a simple baby shape sorter like this one if you feel you need a trial run before buying a full-featured activity cube.
(C) Wooden Baby Walker
What do you get when you put wheels on an activity cube? A baby activity walker! It’s no coincidence babies learn to walk at approximately the same time they really start refining their fine motor skills! We reviewed all the best baby walkers — and which ones to avoid.
(D) Set of Building Blocks
Building blocks are an open-ended toy for all ages. For 12 to 24 months, look for a set with large chunky blocks made for baby hands. We wrote a full review of America’s best building blocks where you can learn more.
(E) Toddler Play Table
For some kids, it’s all about the bead maze. Hape’s Toddler play table takes the classic doctor’s office waiting room play equipment and remixes it into a modern playscape for your home. Get ready for a more involved bead maze that will entertain toddlers and older kids too.
Bonus: Activity Cube Cleaning Tips (Baby-Safe Solution)
Since baby activity cubes offer a full sensory experience — you better expect some baby slobber once in a while.
Yes, wooden activity centers can be sanitized — and it’s pretty straightforward to do.
How do you clean a wooden activity cube? Just make a mild mixture of baby-safe soap and water. Dampen a washcloth or clean sponge, wipe it down, and let it air dry before giving it back to your little one. Never use hard household cleaners for the job.
Alternatively, you can use a natural vinegar solution. We wrote an entire post on washing wooden toys the natural way.
Over to you!
You would have never wondered so much about the wooden activity cube, would you?
Thank you for stopping by to learn all there is to know about baby activity centers.
They’re a good investment in your 1 to 2 year old’s learning, development, and entertainment.
Through smiles and giggles, your baby will learn a whole bunch!
Here at Oddblocks, our top picks focus on baby-safe toys and responsibly sourced materials. Let us know if you found the right one with us today.
Cheers to healthy active learning babies!