Good toys for toddlers can be tricky to find. Two- and three-year-olds have great fun with the toys on this list, from pretend play to push toys! Toys for toddlers are everywhere, and I am here to help you narrow your search.
After raising three toddlers, I have seen the toys we continue to play with versus those tossed to the side.
Here are my favorite toddler toys to add to your holiday gift list.
What Makes a Good Toddler Toy
- Items that spark conversations
- Manipulatives that extend their initial interest and lead to mathematical problem-solving
- Open-ended items (aka no buttons or lights flashing directing the play)
- Props (toys) to extend their imagination
- Toys that create an exciting experience to play out prior experiences.
- Toys that keep their brains and bodies moving
- Toys that welcome creativity
Are Toys Good for Toddlers?
The truth is that some toys are suitable for toddlers, yet they are certainly not all created equal.
There is a saturated toy market for toddlers with many bells and whistles. Beware! These toys will keep your toddler’s attention for three minutes. After that, it will be tossed aside, just waiting to go to Goodwill. We want toys that engage in learning through play.
Allow me to be your guide to finding high-quality toddler toys!
As a former educator and a mom to three young boys, I have studied how children play and what they need to enhance storytelling and imaginary play.
We are looking for an open-ended toy with flexibility around how the play unfolds.
Related: Quick and Easy Activities for Two-Year-Olds
The Best Toys for Kids
Choosing the best toy for kids can be a daunting task.
Here are the BEST toys for kids of every age and stage.
What are Good Toys for a Two-Year-Old?
Here’s where I come in!
My knowledge, combined with the CDC toddler stages of development, I hand-selected these toddler toys to help your child thrive. You can see how these all fit together in one playroom, or you can strategically pick a few to place throughout your home. Find what works best for your home environment for play. I decided on these toys to align with toddler brain development.
My two-year-old plays with these just as much as my five-year-old!
A GOOD toy will do that!
Value the toys you purchase your child, and you will see how they get played with years later.
Related: Want to see these toys come together for learning activities? 50+ Ways to Play will give you plenty of play prompts!
The Best Toys for Toddlers
This toy list is my list of all-time top toys for toddlers. These toddler toys welcome creativity, ignite the imagination, and allow toddlers to expand on ideas they’ve experienced.
This isn’t just any list. These are toddler toys children will use for years.
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Toddler Building and Constructing Toys
Every great toy collection begins with a set of unit blocks. These blocks are part of our forever toys because we brought them home at two years old, and my boys still play with them at seven—the perfect starter set with lots of three-dimensional shapes to stack and build.
Have you tried this ultimate bath toy? Toddlers construct and build at bathtime with this magnetic toy. A fun way to change up your bath routine.
Duplos also fall in our forever toy category. These bricks are another toy that is still played with by all three of my boys. Duplos are a terrific toy for your toddler that children will use for years.
This cargo train is the steam train leveled up. It has a similar train with more features.
This link is a box of extension tracks to add to your starter set!
These. Are. Fun. Stick these little suckers on many surfaces to keep toddlers entertained for dinner prep!
Mega Bloks are a lot like Duplos. The best part? Toss these Mega Bloks in the bath and have an afternoon activity. Mega Bloks are simple toys that your toddler will play with for open-ended play.
Toddler Gross Motor Toys
Is your floor lava? Rather than tossing all the pillows on the floor, grab these stepping stones for a new way to play. Balance practice is excellent for brain development and helps children strengthen their core as they play. These stepping stones are a favorite!
Did you know you can BYOC to the grocery store? Well, maybe this isn’t a straightforward invitation by the grocery store, but it has been so helpful in keeping my son focused as we shop. But that’s not all! This cart is also a great toy to keep at home to inspire imaginary play. It is a winner in our house that I plan on keeping for other generations to come.
Give me all things that stack for my toddler to explore and problem-solve! These buckets also make a fun addition to bath play.
Toddler Transportation Toys
Suggested for ages 3+
This Magic Tracks set made our Christmas morning come to life when my boys were toddlers. We turned it on, the boys came downstairs, and memories were made. Christmas morning was magical from this simple toy. The lights and the movements are a huge wow factor for gift giving.
Train sets are a staple in our home. Here is a great set to begin your collection that you can build upon over the years. Check for hand-me-downs to add to this starter set. The tracks may go from the kitchen to the living room, but I assure you that you will miss it one day!
Get ready for Kindergarten with this school bus! This bus is a fun toy to begin discussions about what it is like to ride the bus, and then my older children can reenact bus conversations through play.
Green Toys for the win again with this made-in-the-USA train! 100% Recycled Plastic and dishwasher safe. We will have this train for another handful of years! The bears that come with the train are small, so you may want to take them away and save them for when your child is older.
This Cozy Coupe lives in our backyard. Nope. I am not ready to pass it along any time soon. It has created so many memories, and it is never a dull moment watching my three boys playing with it. When the boys were toddlers, they rolled around the house with it as my husband pushed them from room to room. I am tearing up just thinking about it! Such fun times had everyone belly-laughing.
My children almost always take an interest when seeing a car transporter go by on the road. Look, mom! Look at all those cars! This toy car makes an excellent gift for the holidays or birthdays for your toddler.
I chose the fire engine because this is on our wish list. We currently have a recycling truck, a dump truck, and a helicopter. The quality is excellent and typically makes its way into imaginary play.
Looking for a dump truck? This truck is a noteworthy one to add to your vehicle collection. CAT has a variety of trucks that are ready for little toddler hands to play with.
Toddler Art Toys
Let’s inspire our little artists with some chunky crayons! It makes a good stocking stuffer and a simple activity to sit with your toddler and begin making lines and curves over the holidays.
These paintbrushes are also chunky and work well with small chubby hands!
These watercolors are my FAVORITE! They are so bright and colorful. If you are looking for watercolors, add these to your cart. You will not be disappointed.
We used this paint set when I first began painting with my boys. This paint set is perfect for those venturing into painting with kids!
Looking for a wow gift for your little creative kiddo? This easel is well made and has two sides to encourage and inspire art.
This colorful lap desk comes in four different styles. Choose from a cheeseburger, rainbow, shooting star, or unicorn. Although this was selected as a toddler gift, we purchased one for each of my sons this holiday. They are a great way to sit and work on some art or writing!
Toddler Imaginary Play
After my third was born, this cash register was given to my oldest, and again, another forever toy! They keep this register by the play kitchen and have sales throughout the day. Creative play meets math in its simplest form!
We ADORE our ice cream scoop set. Everyone that walks through our door is handed a menu and an ice cream. This set makes the perfect ice breaker for children to begin conversations with new family and friends.
I remember this toy from my childhood and still gush over it today. We gifted this tree to my three-year-old, but everyone swooped right in! This Timber Toys Tree House is a hit all the way around!
We’ve had this toolkit for years, and just when I think the boys have finished playing, and it comes back out! It is another toy we purchased in our toddler years and continue to use five years later.
Learn how to cut fruit with this play food set. The pieces are large enough to hold with one hand and cut with the other. Like most of this list, we still have and use this cut fruit!
The simplicity of this kitchen set is what officially won me over. There are no over-the-top lights or buzzers, just a classic kitchen where my kids can cook up a creative snack to offer their grandparents- who apparently will eat ANYTHING.
Toddler Toys for Sensory Play
This table is GREAT. Another forever toy because you will use it for years. It is light and easy to move from inside the kitchen as you prep dinner to outside on the back porch to sit on the sidelines as your child plays. If you want to invite more sensory play into your day, you need this table!
Use these scoopers with sensory play! Great to have around to scoop rice, small toys, or water. The open and close movements help with fine motor, cause/effect, and hand-eye coordination.
Gosh, I love this toddler toy list because it brings back so many memories of toys we’ve had for years. These jumbo-eyedroppers have always been a hit. Use the droppers to mix colors or water play—a fantastic tool to strengthen small hands and prep for writing down the road.
A fun toy to press! Easy for little hands to grab and squeeze. Problem-solving as they play! Add them to the bath for water play, or put them on the table while you finish making dinner.
I love these poke and count books. These books are a great way to reinforce number symbols with total amounts for early learners. These books are a must for toddlers!
These toys for toddlers are the best!
For a mom of three, these gifts will last much longer than the day they are opened.
Frequently Asked Questions
Provide age-appropriate toys that are not a choking hazard. Toddler toys should encourage object exploration, such as touching, looking, hearing, grasping, stacking, filling, dumping, connecting, disconnecting, sorting, and classifying. Toddler toys also need to encourage gross motor skills such as balancing, transporting, climbing, swinging, throwing, pretending, and constructing.
Think about what your child enjoys doing. Think about the action (such as transporting) and choose a toy that encourages that action.
Toddlers should own a small handful of toys that are easy to reach. Think about rotating toys if you have the ability to do so. Too many toys may overwhelm the child and encourage longer time spent with each toy. Too many toys can be very distracting for toddlers.