Toddlers learn the widest range of skills in the shortest amount of time than any other age range! Probably why they are so spirited, that is a lot of work. But thankfully for us parents, they work on a lot of those skills while playing. These toddler gift ideas are all about helping our little people thrive in everything they are learning. These ideas include open ended play, pretend play that is new and exciting for young toddlers, skill building like vocabulary and puzzles and just overall fun that can be enjoyed for years to come.
I’m including 12 months- 35 months (1-2 years old) in this gift guide. Since so much changes in this age, I’ve listed more specific age requirements in the description if applicable. Some of the toys are perfect for the young 1 year old toddler, others are best for 2 years and up. Finally, they are organized into categories. Hope this guide helps cut down some of your gift shopping time!
Related Posts: Daily Schedules and developmental milestones for toddlers can be found on the main routines and schedules page. Split up into specific age ranges.
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Learning through Play Toys
Toddlers are working a lot on speaking and vocabulary. These animal sets are perfect for so many different types of play. You can talk about the animal names, they can set up a safari scene, you can buy another farm set and categorize which ones go together. I love putting these in our diaper bag for when we are on the go, they work great waiting at a doctor’s office or other random places where you need something to do.
Working on tasks that we find simple, are actually some of the best toddler toys. I have made some travel busy bags from household items that were LOVED by my boys- especially from 15-24 months. This activity binder has everything you need for a perfect travel toy- buckles, zippers, tying work, and buttons.
Books are the best way to introduce lots of different topics to children- it’s never too early! This set is adorable and teaches your young children about amazing women throughout history. Great for babies-toddlers (longer length books for preschoolers)
Shape sorters are a perfect gift for the young toddler (12-24 months). It’s easy to take along to a restaurant or weekend trip, but also play at home. Identifying shapes and the motor skills associated with playing will guarantee lots of great play with this toy.
Beginner wooden puzzles are a great introduction to puzzles. They are good quality, have bright colors, and are just hard enough that it will take your young toddler some time to play and figure them out. 18 months- 3 years old
I love the entire line of puzzles from this brand! They are all wooden, beautifully made, durable and a great “next step” puzzle. Better for 2 year old toddlers and older, after they have mastered matching puzzles, they can move on to forming a picture with pieces.
Lots of Pretend Play
This age is the beginning of pretend play and toys that fall into this category are perfect for this age. As their vocabulary grows, their ability to create and tell stories bursts. It’s a pretty cool milestone to observe. Start writing them down! You’ll love looking back at these as they get older. The doctor set is our first one in this category. Can be any other kit for pretending to be a profession that they really like.
Hideaway spaces are perfect for the imagination. I love how this teepee tent comes with a carrying bag, decor, and fairy lights! It’s also waterproof, which is everything with kids. It’s a great place to read with your kids or have them tell stories to each other. Possibilities are endless.
I love how neutral this pretend kitchen is. We ended up moving ours out of the playroom and into the kitchen and it’s nice when it’s not an eyesore to move around your home. My boys stopped playing with theirs as much, but I turned it into a real kitchen station for them and it’s serving a whole new purpose.
I always see this pretend cleaning set recommended. You might also see it everywhere. And it’s because- it is that good. It’s simple, inexpensive and kids love it. Not sure why it really makes kids want to help. My 3 year old son loves this broom ( and has since 20 months when we got it) ! He grabs it whenever he makes a mess and tries to help.
Pretend and imaginative play is not complete without some dress up costumes. You can get a pack of 6 or pick out the ones your child would be most interested in- maybe a fireman suit or a pack of princess dresses.Wooden Doll House
Perfect wooden doll house that is good quality and fully furnished. This traditional 3 story dollhouse, is award winning and sparks role play imagination among friends. I like that it’s gender neutral, and anyone can play with it.
A tool box is part of the idea that they can “help” you around the house through pretend play. And we all pray that it lends itself to real helping later on. 🙂 But seriously, kids love to mock us, feel part of the family and feel important. These types of toys do that.
Active Play & Building Sets
Your toddler is really working on hand eye coordination and this basketball hoop is a fun way to work on it! Can go indoors or outdoors.
Mega Bloks are a great way to start building before toddlers are ready for the LEGO Duplos that are for 2 years old and up. My boys started with Mega Bloks around 15 months. And they still played with them after we got more LEGOS.
There is nothing like simple natural wooden blocks for endless open ended play and building. The quality is also exceptional and can be passed down to multiple kids or given to another family when your kids outgrow them.
No gifts for toddlers list is complete without mentioning LEGOS. Start with DUPLO sets for 2 year old toddlers. They’ll graduate to the traditional sets at 4 or 5 years old.
These magna tiles are all the rage and for good reason! Higher price than other toys but we have built some pretty amazing structures with these- there are really endless amounts of possibilities so it helps your 2 year old use various skills at one time. And it grows with them through at least 5 years old or more. There are other sets you can add and expand your collection- they include vehicles and other shapes that help them build completely new ideas.
These aren’t exactly toys, but I’m a HUGE fan of toddler learning towers. After having a second son that always wanted to help and at least see what I was doing, a safe tower to be involved was a perfect addition. This is the original, but I have a whole post on everything toddler learning tower– what it is, why you would want it and other options out there.
Riding Toys are Great Toddler Gift Ideas
Riding toys are a big hit at the toddler age, or anything that resembles a car. So I have a few different recommendations. When we didn’t have a playroom, my sons would chase each other around the kitchen island with theirs’. Even better if they can ride outside or in a basement. The cozy coupe is a well loved option or a motorcycle type riding toy.
Most PowerWheels are for 3 and up, but this Thomas ride starts at 18 months. If you have the space and a Thomas fan, this will probably be their favorite gift ever! It’s so fun and will make them truly feel like train conductors.
This is a great alternative to a stroller. When we lived down the street from the park, we’d always take the car instead and it was a favorite for both my boys (third is still pending since he’s only 8 months, but I’m sure he’ll feel the same!) 12 months and up.
This beginner’s tricycle is a must for younger siblings especially. They’ll have a little chance of keeping up with their older siblings. Great for 2 years old and up- it takes them a while to get a hang of pedaling so nice for them to have something now before they are full bicycle age.
Fun & Musical Gifts for Toddlers
There are just some toys that are purely fun. I couldn’t leave this guy off my toddler gift ideas list, because this singing and dancing robot doll was so well loved by both my boys! It was also fun for me to watch them dancing and singing along with the robot. Now I buy it for a lot of my friends and their baby’s first birthday. Great gift for young toddlers 12-18 months.
Construction vehicle set that is environmentally friendly. Yes please! Great first set of vehicles as they are not sharp or heavy, since young toddlers still like to put things in their mouth and throw things up in the air. 12 months- 2years old
Musical instruments are exhilarating to young toddlers. I know, I know- the noise is not always pleasant. Lol. But you could store them and take down when you are up to hearing their beautiful musical percussions!Wooden Railway Set
A large train set really leads to hours of play- with setting up the tracks in lots of different ways and then playing with the trains. We’ve acquired at least 3 different sets that my boys put together.
If you have avid train set fans, than a train table may be the right route to take. A train table keeps all the tracks together and organized. It is one of the first toys that my boys (at 2 and 4 years old) played together for hours without any arguments or destruction. So I would suggest it a lot when they were looking for something to do.
I’m really excited about this new Echo Glow lamp (comes out 11/20/19)! You do have to already own an Alexa compatible device like an Echo Dot to be able to program it. After you have both, you can set lighting cues to help with routines or rainbow countdowns. I don’t like alarm sounds at all. Having my kids pick their favorite song and color to wake up to sounds so much better!
Gifts for toddlers wouldn’t be complete without some art items. Even though this play will truly flourish for many preschoolers. An easel is a great toddler gift that sparks creativity and is easy for you to help them draw shapes or letters. As my oldest son Miles started practicing writing, he would use the easel to practice and easily show us what he was working on.
Easy to use and put away! Great introduction to marker play and creative design. Helps develop hand eye coordination and art creation in a simple medium before advancing to more complex drawing.
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