60 Best Toys for Toddlers for All Ages, According to Parents 2024

Toddlers are famous for their strong opinions (the “terrible twos” is a phrase for a reason), but the best toys for toddlers will keep those balls of energy entertained and developing, and (hopefully) help keep tantrums at bay. The market for gifts for little ones is vast and can be daunting if you don’t know what’s worth your money. Should you go for a soft and cuddly toy that’ll soothe them to sleep during a regression, or an interactive toy that’ll boost cognitive development while strengthening those little muscles?

According to Kerri Adams and Christina Eromenok, child and family therapists specializing in play therapy at Love Play Grow, say educational toys and those that spark imaginative play are excellent choices. “Toys are tools for children and can have significant impact on emotional and physical growth and child development,” explains Adams. Whether you’re looking for gift ideas for someone else’s child or your own, “toys are also a great opportunity for parents and children to connect together and build a positive, loving relationship,” says Eromenok. Our expert sources and parent network (including myself, a newly minted toddler mom) came together to provide the list below of all the toddler toys worth shopping, for one-, two- and three-year-olds.

Best toys for toddlers by age

Our favorite toys for toddlers, at a glance

  • Best for Open-Ended Play: Moluk Mini Bilibos Baby Toy, $20
  • Best Wooden Toy: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench, $15
  • Best Outdoor Toy: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Car, $54
  • Best Teething Toy: Smily Mia Penguin Silicone Teething Toy, $9
  • Best Soothing Toy: Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother Musical Crib Toy & Sound Machine, $32
  • Best Bath Toy: B. Toys Water-Play Bath Toy Set, $23
  • Best Sorting Toy: Toomies Hide & Squeak Easter Eggs, $22
  • Best Scooter Toy: Skip Hop Zoo Ride-On Unicorn Toy Scooter, $65
  • Best Toy for Budding Walkers: Speedy Monkey Multi-Activity Push Toy, $87
  • Best Musical Toy: VTech KidiBeats Drum Set, $16

Best Toys for 1-Year-Olds

When looking for age-appropriate toys for the newest toddlers on the block, Adams says the best ones are simple: “Some might not even look like traditional toys.” Mandy and Mel Craig, the experts behind the Toy Testing Sisters, recommend the spinners below, but there are some items, such as the set of scarves on our list, that are everyday things tots can use for endless rounds of stimulating play. Says one of the sisters, “We never pack for an outing without my daughter’s Smily Mia penguin (IMHO it’s much better than Sophie the giraffe, but I’m not here to start a war), and she has ‘baked’ countless muffins in her kitchen set, so these (plus the rest of this list) are real-parent approved.” Whether a child is working on learning object permanence, fine motor skills, or crafting their first meal out of play food in their very own kitchen, the toys below will bring joy to any young toddler.

Fat Brain Toys Whirly Squigz 3 Silicone Spinners

Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack

The Original Toy Company Pop-Up Fire Truck

Smily Mia Penguin Silicone Teething Toy

Winique Wooden Shape-Sorter Toy

Geyoga Fabric Play Scarves (Set of 9)

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Mix & Learn DJ Table

Step2 Best Chef’s Kids Kitchen

Jellycat “The Very Brave Lion” Board Book

Montessori Toy Wooden Shape Peg Puzzle

Best Toys for 2-Year-Olds

During this time of pushing boundaries, Adams and Eromenok tell us, toys create an essential place for active toddlers to feel some control over their environment. Says Eromenok, “Then they don’t seek out control as much in ways that can create power struggles.” Let them be the boss of their own garage or workbench with the toys below. The pounding bench is a top pick of our parent crew as a way to get some energy out as well. And if they become overwhelmed, one of the soothing toys, like the Sea Dreams Soother or the snuggly walrus, will calm them down for nap time.

Moluk Mini Bilibos Shells

Battat Car & Color Sorting Playset

Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother Musical Crib Toy and Sound Machine

Toomies Hide & Squeak Easter Eggs

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench Wooden Toy With Mallet

Bunmo Easter Poppin’ Pipe Pop Tubes (4-Pack)

Play Doh Fun Factory Deluxe Set

Lego 2+ Disney Pixar Lightning McQueen & Mater’s Car Wash Fun

Toniebox Audio Player Starter Set With Playtime Puppy

Fisher-Price Baby Chill Vibes Walrus Soother

Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds

Now’s the time when toddlers enter fully into the world of pretend play and role play, and toys are the way children connect with caregivers and learn coping skills, say Adams and Eromenok. These toys will help toddlers learn real-life skills while spending time in their playroom before taking their new abilities out into the world.

PicassoTiles Magnet Building Tiles (100 Pieces)

Magnetic Color & Number Maze

Melissa & Doug Fill & Roll Grocery Basket Play Set

LeapFrog 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch

Melissa & Doug Work & Play Desktop Activity Board

Baby Einstein and Hape Magic Touch Piano

Useful Gifts for Toddlers

Some of the best gifts for toddlers acknowledge “this amazing stage of development where a child’s brain grows extremely fast,” says Adams. When looking for useful gifts for this formative stage of life, think of items that are learning resources for mental, emotional, and physical skills. And it doesn’t hurt to find some options that make bath time easier on both parents and children. Mandy and Mel are fans of anything that gives toddlers a chance to experience sensory and open-ended play, meaning they’ll work on new skills while also burning off some of that enviable toddler energy.

Lunix LX15 Modular Kids Play Couch

Marlowe & Co Indoor Cotton Sensory Therapy Compression Swing

Glo Pals Water-Activated Light-Up Cubes (12-Pack)

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank

Fat Brain Toys Pretendables Cleaning Set

Noriter Project Dream Bundle

Skip Hop Zoo Ride-On Unicorn Toy

B. Toys Water Play Bath Toy Set

Crayola Bath Slime Scented Soap (6-Pack)

Best Toys for Active Toddlers

Yes, the best toys for toddlers are those that help them learn and grow during playtime, but sometimes you need a toy that’ll get the wiggles out while doing so. If you have the space, outdoor toys like the car below can be a lifesaver. If you have a small apartment, don’t fret, it can still be transformed into a toddler-appropriate obstacle course with a friendly bouncing animal to ride or a musical toy like a mini drum kit to bang on. Adams and Eromenok assure us that these toys will promote active play, while also leading to less couch (or parent) jumping.

Foldable Climbing Triangle Ladder

Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Bowling Friends

Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Bowling Friends

Special Supplies Stepping Stones

Speedy Monkey Multi-Activity Push Toy

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Car

PlanToys Mini Golf Play Set

Fisher-Price Corn Popper Push Toy

Waddle Bouncy Hopper Inflatable Hopping Animal

Best Toddler Toys for Travel

Traveling with a toddler can be an anxiety-inducing experience, so the best toys for travel will keep your tot “engaged, contained, and occupied without their normal routine” while taking up the least amount of carry-on space, says Eromenok. And if they help your child learn their ABC’s or practice hand-eye coordination while doing so, even better!

Mini Voyager Travel Activity Kit

Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Sensory Toy

Guolely Busy Board Montessori Toy

Kids Erasable Doodle Book Set

Bizyboo The Original Seek & Find Plush

“My Sticker Dress-Up: Baby Animals” by Louise Anglicas

Melissa & Doug Paw Patrol Water Wow! Activity Book

Jellycat Jungly Tails Cloth Book

Inzerwudi Busy Board Cube Montessori Toy

LiKee Silicone Baby Teething Strings

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