Buying for toddlers can be tough with so much on the market. Some toys are grown out of so fast, or they end up in the black hole at the bottom of the toy box, never to be seen again. We’ve come up with the top five toys that make great toddler gifts, along with a couple which definitely don’t.
Let’s start with the 5 toys that are great for toddlers:
1. Play Tunnel
💰💰💰: Pacific Play Tents Tunnel 6 ft.
💰💰: Melissa and Doug Bug Tunnel
💰: Poco Divo 6 ft. Play Tunnel
Have a toddler party coming up and don’t know what to buy? Tunnels are a great toy for any toddler! It’s a fun, inexpensive gift idea everyone loves! Whenever I have gifted this toy, the parents always rave about how much their little one is enjoying it. As a parent, I especially love them because they fold up easily, and within seconds you can store it behind the couch or in a closet. Parents and even pets can have fun with this one, making this a perfect toddler toy to have at home.
2. Magnetic Tiles
💰💰💰: Valtech Magna-Tiles 37 piece set
💰💰: Magformers Rainbow 30 piece set
💰: PicassoTiles 60 piece set
These building tiles are one toy that is sure to grow with your toddler. Another bonus is that these magnetic tiles are easy to clean up since they stack together so easily. Build fun castles, forts, roadways – basically, whatever your little one’s heart desires, they’ll be busy for hours!
Since these products contain magnets and are intended for ages 3 and older, please make sure children are supervised while playing with magnetic building toys. Always follow the safety guidelines as instructed on the package.
“My eight-year-old got these for Christmas when he was 2 and he still loves them!” – Sara
3. Mess-Free Drawing Board / Mat
💰💰💰: AquaDoodle Classic Mat
💰💰: Boogie Board Play and Trace
💰: MegaToyBrand Magna Doodle
Sure, kids are going to use crayons and markers, but we love these mess-free alternatives for their writing and drawing development. Portable drawing boards are the perfect tools since your child can erase and start over with the click of a button. We found that these are great for road trips, too, because who wants markers all over their car?
Another great mess-free option to keep at home (or maybe to fold up and bring to Grandma’s) is the AquaDoodle. Just fill the marker with water, and you have a mess-free drawing mat for your little one! And even if they end up drawing with the “marker” on the floor, you won’t be upset. Easy peasy!
4. Play Kitchen
💰💰💰: KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen
💰💰: Hearth & Hand Magnolia Kitchen
💰: Step2 Espresso Bar Play Kitchen
This is a timeless toy every kid loves! Add some play food, pots, and pans, and your little one will be busy for hours. Watch your little chef cook up some delicious creations. They’ll love feeling like they’re cooking just like mom and dad!
5. Balance Bike
💰💰💰: Strider Balance Bike
💰💰: Banana Balance Bike
💰: Radio Flyer Glide N Go Balance Bike
We don’t think your toddler will even need training wheels after getting the hang of these bikes! Balance bikes are light-weight and an amazing way for kiddos to start their riding journey. As they ride, they’ll be learning to balance, rather than adapting and becoming dependent on training wheels.
“Both of my boys went straight from riding their Strider balance bikes to riding on two-wheelers like they had been doing it their whole life! I recommend these to all my friends with toddlers!” – Laura
Here are a couple of toddlers toys we are not fans of:
While this isn’t exactly a “toy”, this digital iPotty associates games and playtime with learning to use the toilet. Ummmm… 😬 We don’t want our little toddlers getting hemorrhoids from excessive straining, and we certainly don’t want to encourage unnecessary and more screen time. With all the bad habits this iPotty will give your little one, we don’t think it’s practical; therefore, we wouldn’t recommend putting it in your home.
We wouldn’t recommend ball pits for a lot of sanitary reasons, but this toy, in particular, we would never consider spending the money on. After reading only bad reviews on this inflatable Little Tikes Junior Ballpit, we’ve found that it doesn’t hold air and pops easily. For this reputable company, we believe there are much better Little Tikes options worth your investment.
Which toddler toy is your favorite? Which one could you do without?
Please let us know in the comments below!