history of educational toys

The History of Educational Toys

Educational toys are proven to help develop problem-solving skills and help with fine and gross motor skills. But where did they come from, and how do they meet the demands of 20th Century children?

It is hard to imagine a childhood without toys. The excitement of unwrapping a new doll, playing a board game or solving a tricky jigsaw puzzle have delighted children for centuries. The children of today are faced with a wide range of choices and opportunities to encourage their creative thinking and independence.

Toy shop shelves are filled with limitless options and neither parent nor child is stuck for ideas to challenge their minds and occupy their time.

Educational toys are at the front of the line for helping with children learning, boosting their mental health and encouraging problem-solving.

It wasn’t always like this. Despite the existence of toys being documented as far back as Ancient Greece, it was much later in the 17th Century that philosopher John Locke first discussed educational toys in recorded history. He believed that alphabet building blocks would help teach children and make early literacy more enjoyable for them.

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration.” Maria Montessori

Fast forward to the end of the 19th Century and the building block was transformed once again. Italian educator and doctor Maria Montessori introduced her sensorial materials, a variety of colourful wooden objects of different finishes and geometrical shapes. Montessori designed her sensorial materials to have “control of error” – in other words, to enable the child to self-correct whilst playing without having to seek help from the teacher. The idea of this was to help the child develop independence and problem-solving skills.

The leap from these early concepts to the advancement of 20th-century educational toys is more than just about technology and education.

The boom in educational toys is more to do with how children are treated, with a renewed focus on the health and education of children, which in turn prolongs childhood and the educational toy choices available.

Edx Education has been a valued part of the evolution of educational toys. Over the past twenty years and more, Edx Education has grown into a major supplier to the international education market, exporting their quality hands-on educational materials to help develop learning through play, both in the classroom at home.

“….to develop quality hands on educational materials to foster children’s learning through play in the classroom and at home’ – Murray Jackson, Founder Edx Education

Founded by Murray Jackson, it was a long way from his background in mining, steel and oil. With four children of his own, Murray knew the importance of good quality, engaging educational products that could meet the modern-day demands of childhood. Growing from a small office to a large head office environment, complete with warehouses and a distribution network – Edx Education has remained committed to finding high quality, hands-on leaning products for the school supplies market. Working with leading educators, their philosophy of Learning Through Play is consistent with the aims of the forbearers of educational toys and will help shape the future of toys to come.

“Children are given opportunities to learn and develop through exploration and play… materials and equipment spark children’s interest and encourage them to experiment and learn.” – The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

To find your local Edx Education retailer head over to Where to buy – Edx Education.



  • Edx Education was established in Taiwan


  • Achieves ISO9001 accreditation


  • Edx Education brand is launched


  • Opened the Edx Education UAE showroom


  • Whizzy Dizzy, Wins Equipment and Resources: Birth to fives awards Nursery World Awards


  • The Chinese brand of Edx艾迪客 is launched with early childhood experts in Taiwan
  • Rainbow Pebbles, Win Top Fun Award from Tillywig
  • Junior GeoStix, Win Best Creative Fun Award from Tillywig
  • Skeletal Starter Geo Set, Win Brain Child Award from Tillywig

2018 Commences –

  • Education for All program – CSR project – Mobile Kindergarten with Zhishan Foundation and Gecko On the Move
  • Rainbow Pebbles win the Teacher’s Choice Award for Preschool
  • Junior Rainbow Pebbles (bright colours) win the Bronze Medal, Independent Toy

2019 FunPlay collection launches

  • Fun2Play System – Construction Set wins the Teachers’ Choice Award for Preschool
  • Learning through play campaign launched with educational experts and play advocates


  • Awarded – Educational Toys Supplier of the Year, APAC Business Award
  • Rainbow Pebbles collection wins Joint Silver: Best Innovative Toy Design, Junior Design Awards
  • Junior Rainbow Pebbles (eco-friendly material) wins Silver medal, Independent Toy Awards; and First Runner Up, Absolutely Mama Awards
  • Rainbow Pebbles wins 3rd place, BlogOn Toy Awards – Educational Toys
  • FunPlay Rainbow Pebbles wins Commended, Dad’s Choice Award
  • Step a Logs wins Motor Play Winner with Autism Live


  • GeoStix Letter Construction Set is approved by Good Play Guide, and receives a Seal of Approval from TNPC (The National Parenting Center)
  • FunPlay Number Rods is approved by Good Play Guide, and receives a Seal of Approval from TNPC (The National Parenting Center)
  • FunPlay Rainbow Pebbles receives Seal of Approval from TNPC (The National Parenting Center)
  • Step-a-Trail receives Seal of Approval from TNPC (The National Parenting Center)
  • GeoStix Letter & Constructions Set Win Brain Toy awards with Academics Choice award
  • FunPlay Number Rods – Win Brain Toy awards with Academics Choice award
  • GoodHousekeeping Toy Awards – Fun Play Rainbow Pebbles
  • Fun Play Range Wins Gold in Best Early Years Educational Toys from UKmumsTV