- Toys that welcome creativity
- Items that spark conversations
- 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.
- Manipulatives that extend their initial interest and lead to mathematical problem-solving.
- Toys that keep their brains and bodies moving.
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 that have a lot of 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 that has flexibility around how the play will unfold.
RELATED: Quick and Easy Activities for Two-Year-Olds
What are good toys for a two-year-old?
Here’s where I come in!
I hand-selected each one of these toddler toys to help your child thrive. You can see how these all fit together in one playroom, or you can pick a few to place throughout your home strategically. 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 the all-time top toys for toddlers. These toddler toys welcome creativity, ignite the imagination, and allow toddlers to expand on ideas they’ve experienced.
Days with Grey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
Toddler toys they will use for years
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.
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 is a terrific toy for your toddler that children will use for years to come.
Another winner that we received a few years ago! And you guessed it! The boys still play with this steam train. The train moves along the tracks and can stack with any other Duplos you may already own. A fun set to explore motion.
This cargo train is the steam train leveled up. It has a similar train with more features.
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.
This colorful lap desk comes in four different styles. Chose from a cheeseburger, rainbow, shooting star, or unicorn. Although this is selected as a toddler gift, we purchased one for each of my sons this holiday. They are a great way to have a seat and work on some art or writing!
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!
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.
These. Are. Fun. Stick these little suckers on lots of 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 now you have an afternoon activity. Mega Bloks are a simple toy that your toddler will play with for open-ended play.
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!
This link is a box of extension tracks to add to your starter set!
Give me all things that stack for my toddler to explore and problem solve! These buckets also make a fun addition to bath 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.
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!
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.
We’ve had this toolkit for years, and just when I think the boys finished playing; it comes back out! It is another toy that we purchased in the toddler years and continue to use five years later.
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!
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 the 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.
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 funny times that had everyone belly laughing.
My children almost always take 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.
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.
When I first began painting with my boys, we used this paint set. This paint set is a perfect starter 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.
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.
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.
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 are looking 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, along with hand-eye coordination.
These toys for toddlers are the best!
From a mom of three, these gifts will last a lot longer than the day they are opened.