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July 24, 2022

Best gifts for toddlers

By Angela Garretson


Toddlers can be tough to buy for. They're too young to make serious choices about what they want to receive, so it's down to you to pick. On the other hand, they're fairly easy to please, so if you put thought into buying an age-appropriate toy or game, chances are they'll be happy. Or, at the very least, they'll enjoy playing with the box it came in.

Best gifts for 1-year-olds

ECR4KIDS SoftZone Climb and Crawl Activity Play Set

 

ECR4KIDS SoftZone Climb and Crawl Activity Play Set

 

This versatile climber set comes with five shapes that can be arranged in different ways for endless play possibilities. It's made of durable foam and covered in a soft leather polyurethane material that's easy to wipe clean when playtime is over.

 

Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

 

 

 

Click N Play Kids Ball Pit

 

Click N’ Play Kids Ball Pit 

 

Ball pits are a fun way for your toddler to have an enriching sensory play experience. This one folds up and comes with a mesh bag for easy storage. The balls are made with non-PVC plastic and can withstand over 90 pounds of pressure.

 

Sold by Amazon 

 

 

 

Mega Bloks 80-piece Big Building Bag

 

Mega Bloks 80-piece Big Building Bag

 

Easy to store and fun to use, Mega Bloks are perfect for little hands. This bag comes with 80 colorful pieces in all shapes and sizes, giving toddlers plenty of blocks to play with and stack.

 

Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

 

 

 

Melissa and Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy

 

Melissa and Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy

 

This sturdy wooden push toy entertains while encouraging walking. As your child pushes it around, three alligators snap their jaws with a satisfying clack each time they take a step. It's perfect for tots who are practicing their first steps.

 

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

 

 

 

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book

 

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book

 

When it comes to learning words, few electronic learning toys are better for your baby than this one from LeapFrog. This book will help your toddler expand their vocabulary in two languages in the most fun and interactive way.

 

Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

 

 

 

Kidsthrill Rainbow Stacking and Nesting Cups

 

Kidsthrill Rainbow Stacking and Nesting Cups

 

If you're shopping for bath toys for your toddler, these bright cups are a must-have because they have so many wonderful uses. Little ones will love fitting them together, stacking them up high, or running them under water. It's the perfect open-ended toy.

 

Sold by Amazon 

 

 

 

Lego Duplo My First Number Train

 

Lego Duplo My First Number Train

 

Lego Duplos are a childhood staple and this number train set makes a great first set to gift your 1-year-old. With its 23 delightfully chunky pieces, this set is an excellent way to help kids learn to count and reinforce early number recognition.

 

Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

 

 

 

Baby Einstein Octoplush Musical Toy

 

Baby Einstein Octoplush Musical Toy

 

This octopus musical toy is not just lovable and huggable, but every squeeze will introduce your toddler to new sounds and colors. It plays a variety of classical melodies and also teaches them colors in English, Spanish and French. 

 

Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

 

 

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Best gifts for 2-year-olds 

 

Tiny Land Kids Tent with Mat and Light

Tiny Land Kids’ Tent with Mat and Light

 

This sturdy kids' tent serves as a play area, an indoor camp, or a cozy space to nap for your toddler. It's made of breathable cotton and comes with a removable padded floor, stringed lights, and a bag. It's also got plenty of room for two kids.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Green Toys Farm Playset

 

Green Toys Farm Playset

 

From eco-friendly brand Green Toys, this solid farm set comes with 13 pieces for imaginative play. It features all your toddler's favorite farm animals, plus stalls and doors they'll love to open and close. All pieces fit inside the barn, so tidying up and storage is a breeze. The built-in handle makes it easy to take all the fun on the go.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set

 

Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set

 

Magna-Tiles are the original and most durable magnetic building blocks out there and arguably the safest for a house with toddlers. This set includes 100 pieces of translucent tiles that kids can snap together to form shapes or build towers and more. Also, these will only become more fun as your little one grows.

 

Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

 

 

 

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Dino

 

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Dino

 

Most kids at this age love dinosaurs and this classic ride-on toy from Little Tikes will keep little ones entertained for hours. The Cozy Coupe has a durable design, a parent push handle, and a handy floor cover, making it ideal and safe for toddlers.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Arteza Finger Paints for Toddlers

 

Arteza Finger Paints for Toddlers

 

This water-based finger paint set is the perfect activity for your toddler to begin exploring color in a tactile way. It features 30 vibrant colors that are nontoxic and safe for kids. Children can use this paint on many surfaces and it also comes off easily with a bit of soap and water.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

EduShape Sensory Puzzle Blocks

 

EduShape Sensory Puzzle Blocks

 

Building blocks are a classic sensory toy for both babies and toddlers, and these foamy ones amp up the game with their bright colors, varying shapes, and knobbly texture. Given their Tetris-style design, they not only challenge your toddler's logic and reasoning skills but also provide sensory stimulation.

 

Sold by Amazon 

 

 

 

Melissa and Doug Band-in-a-Box

 

Melissa and Doug Band-in-a-Box

 

This seven-piece musical toy set will get kids moving, grooving, and feeling the beat. It's a great way to promote musical play for young children. The set includes a tambourine, maracas, clacker, cymbals, tone blocks, and a triangle, all of which come in a sturdy wooden crate for storage.

 

Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

 

 

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Best gifts for 3-year-olds 

Imaginative play

 

KidKraft Ultimate Corner Wooden Play Kitchen

KidKraft Ultimate Corner Wooden Play Kitchen

 

Toddlers love this stylish and realistic toy kitchen from KidKraft with enough space for a few kids to play together. With burners that light up, kitchen sounds, and even a dishwasher, kids stay engaged and feel just like grown-ups.

 

Sold by Amazon, Wayfair, and Kohl’s

 

 

 

Melissa and Doug Freestanding Wooden Fresh Mart Grocery Store

 

Melissa and Doug Freestanding Wooden Fresh Mart Grocery Store

 

With Melissa and Doug’s grocery store, kids learn responsibility, math, and other grown-up skills. Toddlers have fun using the manual conveyor belt, realistic payment machine, and scanner with lights and sounds.

 

Sold by Amazon, Wayfair, and Kohl’s

 

 

 

Peppa Pig Shopping Mall with Family

 

Peppa Pig Shopping Mall with Family

 

Your Peppa Pig fan will spend hours taking Peppa and her family shopping. The mall is packed with interactive features like a manual elevator that stops at each level and a swing. The set comes with Peppa Pig’s parents and brother.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

 

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

 

This folding toy house from Fisher-Price plays music and phrases that help teach kids life skills and household duties. Toddlers will love that it comes with a puppy and a dog bed with food and water. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Melissa and Doug Feeding and Grooming Pet Care Play Set

 

Melissa and Doug Feeding and Grooming Pet Care Play Set

 

This playset from Melissa and Doug will make any 3-year-old animal lover happy and learn responsibility. This is a great toy to buy if you’re thinking about getting a pet and want your child to practice caring for a new member of the family.

 

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s

 

 

Kidzlane Doctor Kit for Kids

 

Kidzlane Doctor Kit for Kids

 

Three-year-olds will love taking turns playing doctor and patient with these toy medical tools. The stethoscope makes a heartbeat sound and the phone buttons beep, so kids feel more like real doctors. Plus, the playset may help your toddler to be less afraid of visiting the doctor’s office.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

Educational play

VTech PJ Masks Time to Be A Hero Learning Tablet

VTech PJ Masks Time to Be A Hero Learning Tablet

 

This electronic learning toy for kids is a hit with PJ Masks fans. It has a full keyboard and a variety of games that teach letters, numbers, problem-solving skills, and more. Caregivers will appreciate its durable materials and adjustable volume.

 

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s

 

 

 

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe

 

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe

Get your 3-year-old ready for school with VTech’s activity desk that has a flip-up easel and drawing surface. The interactive toy comes with a kid-sized stool and different educational activity cards that are so fun your toddler will not realize they are learning.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

VTech Jiggle and Giggle Fishing Set

VTech Jiggle and Giggle Fishing Set

 

Kids are sure to laugh at this fishing toy from VTech that teaches colors with guessing games. It comes with a light-up fishing pole that wiggles when you catch a sea creature and senses which animal was picked up.

 

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s

 

 

 

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Me Reader

 

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Me Reader

 

Three-year-olds love stories, and books are beneficial for early child development. Toddlers will be excited to read books to themselves with this reader and press the right button for each page.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

Creative play

 

Play-Doh Play N Store Kids Play Table

Play-Doh Play ’N Store Kids’ Play Table

 

Toddlers have squishy fun with this Play-Doh set that offers sensory play. It comes with different tools, cutters, and colors, and kids can even make miniature Play-Doh ice cream. Adults will like that it comes with a play surface with storage compartments.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Activity Set

 

Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Activity Set

 

Kids love to color and express their creativity, but many caregivers dread the mess that comes with art. These special markers and stamps only work on Color Wonder paper. This is a great toy for travel since the colors stay only on the included paper.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Seckton Kids Selfie Camera

 

Seckton Kids Selfie Camera

 

Your 3-year-old will feel just like a grown-up with their own camera featuring a digital screen and computer connectivity. Toddlers will have fun playing the included games or adding frames, and adults will like its kid-friendly sturdy design.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

Active play

 

Playz 5-Piece Kids Playhouse Set

Playz 5-Piece Kids’ Playhouse Set

 

This play tunnel is great for a rainy day or for letting your toddler get some energy out. It has a compact fold for storage and a variety of tents and tunnels that can be arranged in different ways. It offers a spacious play area with a variety of games. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

JOYIN Golf Club Set

 

JOYIN Golf Club Set

 

Your 3-year-old sports enthusiast will have fun watching golf balls slide down the set and teeing up the ball for a putt toward the included hole and flag. The clubs and storage bag are more realistic and resemble adult golfing gear.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Little Tikes 3-foot Trampoline

 

Little Tikes 3-foot Trampoline

 

Kids love this mini trampoline with a removable supportive bar for higher jumps and tricks. It’s easy to put away when not in use and is a great way for toddlers to be active.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

Building toys

 

Lego Duplo Big Construction Site

LEGO DUPLO Big Construction Site

 

Kids like to put things together and LEGO DUPLO sets are a great STEM activity for 3-year-olds. Construction and vehicle lovers will have fun building and interacting with this toddler-friendly set that has a rotating crane and a claw that opens and closes.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Thomas & Friends Talking Thomas & Percy Train Set

 

“Thomas & Friends” Talking Thomas & Percy Train Set

 

The show comes to life for 3-year-olds playing with this Thomas & Friends set. Kids can build the track and enjoy hearing the characters’ voices when the trains interact. This set can even be connected to different “Thomas & Friends” tracks.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

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  • A snuggly pillow and stuffed animal in one that is great for travel and machine washable
  • A kids basketball hoop for fun, active play, both indoors and out
  • An electronic toy for kids to practice writing and drawing shapes or enjoy free scribbling
  • A beginner’s science kit from a popular TV show that has four different experiments, including making ice cream
  • A feature-packed kids smartwatch that takes pictures and connects to a computer for uploads  

Best outdoor toys for toddlers 

Water toys

 

Jasonwell Splash Pad

Jasonwell Splash Pad

 

Simply connect it to a hose and this splash pad can provide hours of entertainment for toddlers on a hot day. It has a nonslip base and the water remains shallow, so it isn't an obvious drowning risk, although supervision is essential. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

 

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

 

Water tables are perfect for outdoor play as toddlers can splash as much as they like without making a mess. This one has a two-tier design with scoops, water wheels, and other accessories for added enjoyment.

 

Sold by Amazon and Kohl's

 

 

 

Hesung Inflatable Kiddie Pool Play Center

 

Hesung Inflatable Kiddie Pool Play Center

 

This kiddie pool adds an extra dimension of fun with an integrated inflatable slide, a ball roller, a fountain arch, and a ring toss area. If you're buying for a toddler who loves water, this is sure to go down well. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Green Toys Seaplane

Green Toys Seaplane

 

If you already have a water table or kiddie pool in your backyard, you might be looking for more toys your toddler can play within the water. This buoyant little seaplane is great for imaginative play and developing kids' pincer grip. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

Sit-on and ride-on toys

 

Radio Flyer Scoot About Sport Toddler Ride-On Toy

Radio Flyer Scoot About Sport Toddler Ride-On Toy

 

Toddlers simply sit on this ride-on toy and push themselves around with their legs, so it's easy for most kids to use. The front wheels are widely spaced for balance and the under-seat storage lets kids carry things around. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

iPlay, iLearn Bouncy Pals Bull Hopper Toy

iPlay, iLearn Bouncy Pals Bull Hopper Toy

 

Active toddlers will love bouncing around on this inflatable bull toy. It has a plush cover, so it's comfortable to sit on, and anti-slip feet so it won't slide around on paved surfaces. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike

Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike

 

Suitable for ages 2-5, this trike is stable and easy to pedal, making it an excellent first tricycle for toddlers. The Harley-Davidson design is adorable in trike form, but you can also choose other versions, including Barbie and Hot Wheels. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Playskool Sit n Spin Classic Spinning Activity Toy

 

Playskool Sit ’n Spin Classic Spinning Activity Toy

 

If your toddler enjoys spinning in circles, they'll love this sit-on spinning toy. Not only is it great fun, but it's also excellent for balance, coordination, and motor skills. It's suitable for both outdoor and indoor use.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

Outdoor games

 

Little Tikes T-ball Set

Little Tikes T-ball Set

 

Get your little one started on baseball or softball early with the help of this T-ball set. It's suitable for kids aged 18 months and up and is height-adjustable to grow with toddlers. It comes with five balls and two bats.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Toyvelt Toddler Golf Set

Toyvelt Toddler Golf Set

 

They might not be hitting the links any time soon, but toddlers can still enjoy this golf set at home. Younger toddlers can just whack balls and have fun, while older toddlers and little kids can start perfecting their aim. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Toy Animal Bean Bag Toss Game

 

Toy Animal Bean Bag Toss Game

 

With its double-sided design, it acts as both a classic bean bag toss game and a hook and loop ball throwing game. It's great for outdoor fun but should be packed away between uses. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

 

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

 

Future basketball stars can get their first taste of the game with this easy score set. The hoop is height adjustable, so young toddlers can have fun simply dropping a ball through, while older kids can take tougher shots. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

Slides and playsets

Step2 Play Up Double Slide Kids Climber

 

Step2 Play Up Double Slide Kids Climber

 

With two slides and a small climbing wall, this playset is perfect for toddlers and little kids, aged approximately 2-6 years old. It's easy to assemble and is safe for up to three kids to use at once.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Simplay3 Young Explorers Adventure Climber

 

Simplay3 Young Explorers Adventure Climber

 

Curious toddlers will love all the ways there are to play with this set. There's a slide, a steering wheel, doors and portholes in the base to open and climb through, and an easy-climb ladder that leads to a platform.

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide

 

Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide

 

Toddlers can get hours of entertainment just by climbing up, sliding down, and repeating. It makes a great first slide for a child, plus it's affordable and doesn't take up much space, which is perfect for small yards. 

 

Sold by Amazon and Kohl's

 

 

Sandboxes and sand tables

 

Best Choice Products Large Wooden Sandbox

Best Choice Products Large Wooden Sandbox

 

This wooden sandbox is an investment that will last a kid from early toddlerhood well into childhood. The hinged lid converts into foldable bench seats, while the sturdy cedar wood ages nicely in the elements without being treated. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table

 

Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table

 

If you want a compact alternative to a sandbox, this sand table is an excellent choice — plus it comes with shovels, rakes, and a bucket. It lets kids have the tactile experience of playing with sand, without getting completely covered in it. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

 

Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox

 

Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox

 

Thanks to its built-in digger arm and included dump truck, this is a perfect sandbox for kids fascinated by machinery. You get scoops, shovels and rakes included and the lid doubles up as a ramp for the dump truck. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

 

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Contributing authors: Lauren Corona, Margot Malverty, and Esha Saxena
 

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