I’m so excited to be writing this post with the best gifts for toddlers! I know I’m not alone in the overwhelm. We want our kids to have the best of everything, so we buy and buy and buy. But then we realize we have so much stuff. So what should we get?
I’ve rounded up our favorite toys. Most of them encourage some type of skill, a few are just for fun. Hopefully this toddler gift guide helps you out!
The Best Learning Toy Gifts for Toddlers
Now, you could argue that nearly every toy is a learning toy when it comes to toddlers. I mean, they are growing and developing so quickly that almost anything is a learning experience.
For these toys, though, they each have a special skill they aim to develop. So, while most toys are learning toys, these ones were designed to be learning toys.
Green Kid Crafts
If you read my gift guide last year, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of subscription boxes as gifts. They’re just so fun! I was lucky enough to be sent a box from Green Kids Crafts, and I’m so in love!
This box contained four activities around a common theme (reptiles this month). Luckily for us, my son is obsessed with reptiles, so it was easy to get him excited about this.
My favorite thing about these boxes is that they are aimed at learning. They provide lots of information, questions to ask (and the answers, ha!), and more.
While we built the snake, we talked all about snakes. Did you know they smell with their tongue? No, my three year old did not!
All of their boxes are created with the help of a team of child development experts, so you know that each box will provide tons of value.
Who is it for? Children ages 2-10+ (there are different options for different ages).
Button Art Toy
So, this is kind of weird. I had no idea these existed until recently. I got mine off of Amazon.
This toy is great for color recognition, as well as matching and even counting. I can’t recommend it enough.
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My son has had some trouble with matching and this toy is helping so much! He still gets some colors confused, and sometimes he just wants to do his own thing – which is totally fine. But this has definitely helped us.
Who is it for? The pieces aren’t super small, so I don’t think it’s much of a choking hazard. My son is 3 and I think it’s the perfect challenge for him – not too easy, not too hard. I’m gonna say kids 3-5 probably.
What does it teach? This toy is all about colors but can be used to teach counting as well.
Monkey Balance Toy
Okay, so this one is also kinda weird but I’m obsessed. There are so many ways to use this toy.
You can simply match the number to the amount of monkeys to balance out the scale. This is where we’re at, and the easiest way to use it.
When your kid is older, you can use it to visually teach addition and subtraction. Whether you do it by laying out the monkeys and counting, or using the scale, both will work.
You can also teach them what is less and what is more. So if you put the number 5 on one side of the scale, and 3 monkeys, you can work on deciding which number is bigger and smaller.
Seriously, use your imagination and get ready to make math fun!
Who is this for? 3+ because the monkeys are small. It says up to age 12 but I think that a 12 year old would be bored with this.
What does it teach? Numbers, counting, addition and subtraction.
STEM or STEAM toys
I see those acronyms used interchangeably. Not really sure which is right or wrong. But it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, (Art), and Math. It’s kind of a hot topic right now, so a lot of STEAM toys are floating around.
We have two different STEAM sets. One is clunky and great for my 3 year old. The other has smaller pieces and I imagine a 6 year old would like it.
In fact, when we got the clunkier one, I had my husband hide the smaller one. In three or so years, my son will think it’s a brand new toy! I’ll link to both so that you can pick the best one for your kid.
Who is it for? 3+ year olds
What does it teach? STEAM! Lots of engineering and problem solving.
Color Matching Eggs
I don’t know about you, but I had a set just like this one that KidzLane gifted us. It has been so useful in getting my son to match his colors. And I also use it as a way to encourage his speech.
He has a speech delay, so any toy that allows me to talk (a lot) is great! With this one, we talk a lot about colors and numbers.
He has actually really blown me away with how good he is at matching the colors. I suppose because he can’t talk, I just don’t know how much he knows, ya know? 😉
Anyways, this toy gets tons of use. Plus, it is all easily stored in it’s egg carton. And it’s a great learning tool.
Art Supplies for Toddlers
A fantastic gift idea is art supplies. Toddlers are at that stage where it’s all about the process and not the end result. It’s so fun to scribble, paint, and just make a huge mess for myself to clean up later.
Some ideas we always have on hand:
- Paper for drawing
- Construction paper for cutting
- Kid safe scissors
- Crayola mess free markers and books
- Pom poms
- Googly eyes
- Pipe cleaners
- Paint (both acrylic and water colors)
- Tissue paper
- Yarn and ribbon
The list goes on and on! I love crafting, so honestly I am the one who pushes crafts on my toddler. But, as long as you aren’t picky about the end result, it’s so much fun.
You could make a cute art kit by putting the supplies in a little tote, if you wanted to go that extra mile!
Movement Toy Gifts for Toddlers
So, my son’s birthday is smack-dab in the middle of winter. Which means, there isn’t a great time to gift him an outdoor toy. This year, for his birthday, I got him a scooter. In December. In Utah. Not practical at all. But, when summer arrives, we’ll be ready.
Some of these toys can be used indoors, some are only for outside. So, take that into consideration when you read my list of the best toys to get kids moving.
Jumping is so good for those developing leg muscles. It teaches them to balance, as well. I remember my cousins having a mini trampoline and I loved to jump on that thing as a kid!
If you have the room for it, I think any toddler would love it. My son is a bit behind on gross motor skills, and a trampoline is a huge asset.
Bike, Balance Bike, or Scooter
Whatever you think your child would like best. There are so many options out there. I love the idea of a balance bike. They’re supposed to be great for learning a real bike.
My son has a convertible tricycle that we got him over the summer. And while I do like it, I wish we’d gotten something different.
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But I’m very excited to see how he does on his new (three wheeled) scooter. It’ll probably take some time to get used to, but it’s a great way to get him moving.
Balance Stepping Stones
These come highly recommended from multiple therapists. They are awesome for working on balance (obviously).
I don’t own them but I keep thinking I should get some. They would be great for “the floor is lava” games.
Do you remember these? I know I used to have one as a kid. Talk about a great way to burn that extra toddler energy, right?
This would also be great for balance, leg muscles, etc. It may be too advanced for younger toddlers, but you’ll have to be the judge. The recommended age is 3-6.
Other Great Gifts for Toddlers
Toddler Train Sets
My son loves trains. Seriously he’s obsessed. We have a ton of Thomas the Tank Engine. But do you know what gets the most use? Our wooden sets!
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For one, they’re much easier to put together (and destroy HA). So it gives my son a great sense of accomplishment when he’s able to put a few pieces together.
We love the sets from Ikea, Melissa and Doug, and Tinyland.
We recently got this cute set and my son actually really enjoys it. I’m not sure what it is about it, but it’s the perfect amount of challenging but not too hard.
We also have a big floor puzzle, but it’s a bit tough for him right now. For toddlers, the best puzzles tend to be chunky, or ones with only a few pieces.
If you don’t already have a play kitchen, you’re missing out! We have so much fun with ours, and it was actually pretty affordable.
These are great for imaginative play. You can also use it to teach things like sharing, kitchen safety, counting, etc. I know that, for us, I was blown away by how much use ours gets.
Books never go out of style. And they’re the one thing that I honestly don’t think you can own too many of.
My son hasn’t been interested in books until just recently. Suddenly, he loves reading books with me. And I am all for it. But this means that I’ve been looking at a ton of books!
I absolutely love these things. I really think they encourage creativity in kids. We received the
Educational Artwork Magnetic Tilesin exchange for a review and I fell in love.
We have used ours to build towers, create garages for cars, make caves for dinosaurs, and more. Plus, the images on those educational tiles is awesome! It allows me to practice speech, object recognition, and we have fun making the sounds of the different animals on the tiles. If you only get one set, I love that one. Granted, they are all squares, so if you want triangle pieces, you’ll need something else.
Did I miss any must-haves? What are you getting for your toddler this year? I hope this list helped!
Wondering what to read next? How about The Best Gifts for Moms!