How to Find the Best Lock and Key Toys for Toddlers. Skyrocket your child’s fine motor skills with these fun and educational locks toys for toddlers!
It’s no secret that toddlers absolutely love keys!
With our toddler, the more “off limits” something is in our house, the more intrigued she is by it (preventing rampant toddler climbing and childproofing is a real struggle!) And that definitely holds true for our house keys.
Once our little one had developed basic fine motor skills (and she decided her fake plastic car keys were no longer cutting it), we thought we’d get her a lock and key toy that: 1) lets her play with much-coveted keys, and 2) has some developmental value, too. She’d moved past the 0 to 6 month toys stage, but wasn’t ready for older toddler toys yet.
Enter lock and key toys for toddlers!
Once we started looking for the best option for our family, we realized how many options there are out there. If you’re also looking for lock and key toys for your little Einstein, we hope our curated list of the best rated lock and key toys for toddlers helps you decide on the best choice for your family.
Keep reading to find a description and more info about each toy below.
- Best Overall – IQ Toys ABC Learning Locks
- Top Choice for Car Lovers – Battat Shape-Sorting Garage With Locks
- Pick for Emergency Vehicle Lovers – Melissa and Doug Garage and Car Toys with Keys
- Busy Board for Younger Toddlers – VTech Latches and Doors Busy Board
- Busy Board for Older Toddlers – Melissa and Doug Locks and Latches Toy
- Shape Sorter with Lock for Younger Toddlers – Ambi Toys Lock a Block
- Shape Sorter with Lock for Older Toddlers – Battat Shape Sorter House
- Best for Imaginative Play – Battat – B. Pet Vet Toy
- Quiet Time Activity for Preschoolers and Older – MEROCO Montessori Color Matching Lock Set
Each of the 26 locks in this ABC lock and key toy has an upper and lower case letter on one side, and a simple picture on the other. The set of 26 accompanying keys have an upper case letter on one side, and the matching lower case letter on the other side.
Your toddler can match a letter on a key to open the coordinating lock. Once they’re ready to learn more, they can match the letter on the key to the picture representing the letter’s phonetic sound.
This toy lock set is colorful and perfectly sized for little hands. It will improve your little one’s fine motor skills and mastery of the alphabet in a fun way.
It measures 12.4 x 8.2 x 3.6 inches and is appropriate for ages 12 months and up.
Best For Car Lovers
This three-stall garage toy houses three push cars of matching colors and comes with three color coordinating keys, strung together to make sure they don’t get lost.
Each lock and key has a specific shape that fits in its color-coordinated garage door. When the correct key is placed in the correct door, it will open to reveal the matching car. Push the button above the garage and the car will exit on its own – to the delight of your toddler.
This fun toy is great for fine motor skills, problem-solving, cognitive function, and matching. It’s also a good cause and effect toy.
It is appropriate for ages two and up and has a convenient handle if you want to take it along on an outing. The dimensions are 11 x 7.5 x 6.6 inches.
Best for Emergency Vehicle Lovers
Melissa and Doug’s toddlers’ toys are beloved by many, and this garage, key and car toy is no exception! Made mostly from wood and pressed board, parents can also feel good about giving their toddler this low-plastic option.
The three cars represent different rescue vehicles – a police car, a fire truck, and an ambulance – a sure hit with most toddlers we know. Each stall of the garage is opened by matching the correct key to the coordinating lock according to shape and color. A switch next to each garage will launch the vehicles out once the door is opened.
These emergency vehicles provide hours of imaginative and engaging play for little ones. The keys come on a convenient key ring for safekeeping, and everything can be stored inside for easy travel with a handle on top.
The Keys and Cars toy is perfect for an older toddler or kindergartener, ages 3 to 6. Its dimensions are 7.8 x 6.2 x 10 inches.
Busy Board for Younger Toddlers
This VTech latch and lock board for toddlers has five different doors and windows that all open in different ways, from a classic turn-key to a slide lock. Behind each hidden door is a cute and colorful picture.
There are three different buttons: one that sings an alphabet song, one that sings a numbers song from one to five, and one that simply speaks to the child. While on music mode, your child will be prompted to open the doors to hear each picture’s melody or sound effect.
Perfect for beginning the letter and number learning process! This toy is appropriate for ages 12-36 months and measures 2.7 x 14.2 x 11.6 inches. It requires two AA batteries that are included.
Busy Board for Older Toddlers
Your child will gain plenty of cognitive training with the four different lock types on this Melissa and Doug latches board. One is a traditional lock with a matching (and attached) key, one is a slide lock, and the other two are different types of combination locks for both number and memory training.
When the locks are opened correctly, they will reveal cute pictures featuring colors, animals, and scenes.
Its compact size makes it easy for traveling, and it would even fit on most bookshelves for simple storage. It measures 1.5 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches and is appropriate for ages three year old children and older.
Shape Sorter with Lock for Older Toddlers
This is a classic shape sorter with a locking twist.
Your toddler can sort the shapes, and then must use the key to open the box to retrieve their blocks. The lock adds an extra level of problem-solving and motor skills development.
This toy comes with two complete sets of three blocks, just in case one or two goes missing. Not only do the blocks match by shape, but also by color for a bonus learning element.
The Lock a Block measures 7 x 7 x 5.7 inches and is perfect for kids 12 months and older. Younger babies would probably have fun playing with the shapes as stand-alone toys. We love using our shapes sorter as a bath toy, too!
Shape Sorter with Lock for Older Toddlers
This shape sorter house toy comes with a total of 12 differently shaped blocks that can be put in their coordinating openings, either on top of the toy or through the various doors.
Once your little one has mastered the puzzle, they will be able to unlock the doors to retrieve the shaped blocks by matching each color-coded key to the correct door’s lock.
Secure the shapes inside the house and use the handle for easy transport. The dimensions of the house are 9 x 9 x 9 inches and it is recommended for ages two years and up.
Best for Imaginative Play
This toy set includes a vet “clinic,” four different vet tools, five keys, a plush dog and a plush cat. The four different doors each have a unique keyhole that will match a coordinating key, promoting memory, problem solving and fine motor skills.
The imaginative element of play will also promote early empathy and creativity. This toy is recommended for ages two and up and measures 12.5 x 4 x 11.5 inches.
This set contains actual locks, each a different color, with a color-coordinated matching key. Each key comes with an extra just in case one is lost, and they are also on a key ring for easy storage. Your little one will fine-tune their concentration by matching a key to the right lock and opening them.
The whole set is housed in a wooden tray, Montessori style. The tray measures 9.8 x 7.8 x 1.7 inches, while the locks dimensions are 2 x 2.5 centimeters.
While the manufacturer doesn’t provide an age range for this, we’d say it’s probably suitable for preschoolers and older, as the pieces are too small to serve as younger toddler toys. We’d also say this isn’t so much a toy as a good activity when your toddler or kindergartener is feeling focused or needs something quiet to do.
Guide to Finding the Best Toddler Toys With Keys
What are Lock Toys and Why do Toddlers Love them so Much?
Lock toys are toys that allow toddlers to practice locking and unlocking something – whether it’s a lock itself, a door, or something else. They often come with additional features that allow your child to learn about colors, shapes, or something else.
Toddlers are natural “masterers” – they love getting stuck into an activity, and practicing it over and over again until they’ve mastered it. Lock toys are perfect for focusing, practicing the skill over and over again.
And of course, toddlers also love keys. They see mom and dad using them on a daily basis, and want to be just like their parents. In our house, our keys are usually forbidden – making them even more enticing to our toddler!
What are the Benefits of a Lock Toy?
These toys have many developmental and educational benefits, and are great for practicing and perfecting developmental milestones. Some of the benefits of these types of toys include:
- Fine motor skills
- Concentration and problem solving
- Cause and effect
- Independence – doing something for themselves, and gaining confidence from achieving it
- Self-guided play
- Great quiet time activity (except for the ones that have sounds features
- Topical knowledge, depending on the toy, such as colors, numbers, letters, or shapes recognition
Our pick for the best of the bunch is the IQ Toys ABC Learning Locks. With 26 different locks and keys, it will give your toddler plenty to practice. Plus, little hands will be able to use the well-sized lock and key. As your child gets older and more interested in ABCs and reading, this toy will continue to teach them in a fun way.
For car crazy toddlers, both the Battat Shape-Sorting Garage and Melissa and Doug Garage are good choices. We like the Battat version a bit better for sturdiness. Melissa and Doug makes their garage from a pressed board that, in our opinion at least, might not last through more than one child’s usage.
Busy boards with latches, doors, locks and keys are also a great choice. The VTech Latches and Doors Busy Board is good for little toddlers, whereas the Melissa and Doug version is more suited to older toddlers and kindergarteners.If you’d like a twist on the classic shape sorting toy (a twist that includes a lock and key) Ambi Toys makes a simple version good for younger kids. If you have an older toddler, or your child has already mastered sorting basic shapes, check out the Battat Shape Sorter House.