Cash registers help kiddos learn essential social and academic skills. Children can use their money boxes to act out a typical grocery store experience. Dramatic play helps to prepare kids for real-life situations. Many cash registers also have built-in calculators and slots for play money. These elements can foster a child’s interest in math and money. There are plenty of educational games you can discreetly incorporate into cash register play.
Knowing all this, we were eager to compile a list of the top toy cash registers. We’ve narrowed our selections down to 11 favorites. Before you check out our reviews of these amazing products, be sure to browse our buying guide.
In this article:
Making developmentally appropriate selections
During our research, we were delighted to learn that there were toy cash registers for children of all ages. While toddlers and babies have difficulty understanding advanced number concepts, they can benefit from toys that enable them to flex their fine motor skills. Cash registers with big, colorful buttons and levers are excellent for toddlers who enjoy solving problems and making discoveries.
If your child is preschool age or older, they may be able to recognize some letters, numbers, and colors. A cash register with a functioning calculator, scale, or conveyor belt is going to get a lot of use. At this time, you may want to graduate from a handheld cash register to a large store setup. This is a great age to start working on basic math.
Children between the ages of 4 and 6 love pretend play. They enjoy stocking shelves, exchanging money, and bagging groceries. Each one of these exercises helps them develop more cognitive and social skills. At the same time, these activities also encourage teamwork and cooperation.
What accessories work best?
After looking at a variety of toy cash registers, we think we’ve seen it all. We saw options that ranged from simple and low-tech to flashy and accessory-laden. As aspiring educators, we tried to select toys that promoted math skills. If a child has a functioning calculator and pretend money, they may attempt to do a little arithmetic.
Pretend credit cards, reusable bags, functioning conveyor belts, and beeping scanners are all also a lot of fun. Older children get a kick out of register setups that look and feel like the real thing. After all, they want to imitate the behaviors they observe in real life. Still, let’s not forget that children can conjure up a lot with their imaginations
Let’s talk about durability
One of our biggest concerns with toys is durability. Think about the materials and craftsmanship that went into building your little one’s cash register. We’re not biased when it comes to materials. We just want to make sure that the toys that we recommend can withstand the wrath of a tyrannical toddler.
With that said, we were pleasantly surprised by the durability of most toy cash registers. The most common material defects were sticky cash drawers, slow-moving conveyor belts, and absurdly noisy scanners.
We also want to point out that not all cash register accessories are created equal. Many manufacturers cut corners by offering thin paper money and cardboard play food. These items have little chance of surviving multiple play sessions. Still, some of the best dramatic play sessions center around a cash register and random household objects.
Our top picks
The Learning Resources Toy Cash Register (check price on Amazon) is a classic blue red cash register toy that’s made of incredibly thick plastic. Not only is it durable enough to handle dings and drops, but it is also an excellent tool for teaching math literacy. The onboard number pad serves as a calculator. It even features a built-in solar panel and LCD screen. We have a lot of praise for toys that power without batteries.
We also love the feel of the soft, over-sized buttons and large money slots. We’re confident that children of all ages will enjoy this fabulous toy.
What we love
- Solar-powered calculator with LCD screen
- Comes with realistic bills, coins, credit card, and activity guide
- Large buttons are easy for little hands to manipulate
- Fun cash register sound when the cash drawer opens
- Money is poorly made and tears easily
This Melissa & Doug Fresh Mart Grocery Store (check price on Amazon) lets little ones play out every aspect of a shopping experience. Children can crank the conveyor belt to send food to the cashier. This modern-day register boasts a beeping scanner, cash drawer, and card reader. The L-shaped structure is sturdy enough that children can browse the shelves from both sides. We recommend investing in some play food, paper money, and a toy grocery cart.
What we love
- Hand-cranked conveyor belt brings groceries directly to the cashier
- Promotes dramatic play, sharing, and early math skills
- Super easy to assemble
- Sturdy enough to rambunctious toddlers
- Kiddos stuffing small items under the conveyor belt
Best Budget Buy
At first glance, the Little Tikes Count ‘n Play Cash Register (check price on Amazon) looks more like an arcade game than a grocery store accessory. Still, this chunky plastic plaything helps toddlers learn to count and sort.
The register features three color-coated coin slots. Children must learn to insert the coins in the appropriate slots. When they do, the coins will slide down the side shoot. There’s also a large crank-operated money drawer. The drawer serves as the perfect space to store the coins when they are not in use.
What we love
- Big plastic pieces that are easy for toddlers to manipulate
- Lovely pastel colors
- Teaches color and number knowledge
- Promotes counting, sorting, and fine 3motor skills
- Children may lose interest fairly quickly
Best electronic cash register
If you have two AA batteries lying around, you can bring the Velocity Toys Electronic Cash Register (check price on Amazon) to life. This electronic cash register features interactive lights, sounds, and actions. It even comes with a small set of make-believe food, some play money, and a shopping basket.
This portable register is can transform any room into a makeshift shopping experience. Children can work on their social skills by reenacting sales transactions. The register has a small conveyor belt, a corded scanner, a credit card swiper, and a working intercom. There’s also a functioning calculator and a cash drawer. Children can practice responsibly by locking their cash register at the end of each play session.
What we love
- Vivid colors and lots of moving parts
- Helps solidify financial literacy at a young age
- Sets the stage for lots of different dramatic play variations
- Microphone is a great tool for improving speech and language skills
- The play money is flimsy and needs to be replaced quite often
- Cardboard food items have no chance of surviving the wrath of unruly toddlers
And our winner is…
As you know, we’re always on the lookout for educational toys that can muster our picky children’s approval. Cash registers help cement essential math skills. Not to mention, children enjoy creating dynamic dramatic scenarios that center around these coveted toys.
After looking at several spectacular toys, it was tough to choose just one winner. That being said, we settled on the Learning Resources Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register (check price on Amazon) as our best toy cash register for kids. This register is super durable and fun for children of all ages. We love that children can fiddle with its solar-powered calculator.
Did you recently purchase a toy register for a little one in your life? Leave us to know what you and your kiddo thought about the toy.