Our Top Picks
"This set encourages imaginative play and aids in fine-motor skill development.”
"Specifically designed to help toddlers to encourage creative play."
"It lets toddlers rock ‘n’ roll to their own beat or to nine different melodies."
"Essential to helping moms and dads ease little ones into the potty training stage."
"Perfect for kids to use with friends and develop social interaction"
"Little Tikes Shopping Cart has been a favorite toddler toy for generations."
"Elmo loves to be hugged and will sing and dance when you give him a cuddle."
"Use this wagon three ways, to haul children, bring gear to the beach, or as a bench."
"This food truck can have your toddler slinging out tacos, pizza, burgers, and such."
"This doll sings four verses of the popular song, and comes in Mommy, Daddy and, of course, Baby versions."
01 of 19
Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag
Award-winning Mega Bloks are the perfect gift for toddlers. The Mega Bloks Big Building Bag comes with 80 durable, high-grade plastic pieces that are ergonomically designed for a toddler's hands to easily manipulate. They effortlessly snap together for hours of building and rebuilding fun.
This starter set encourages imaginative play and aids in fine-motor skill development. Our tester noted, "our toddler was easily able to grasp and manipulate the blocks due to their larger size."
02 of 19
ALEX Toys Little Hands Button Art
Little Hands Button Art is specifically designed as a toddler toy and to increase hand-eye coordination, develop fine motor skills and encourage creative play. With chunky buttons that easily snap in and out of place, Little Hands Button Art includes a variety of activities. Toddlers can complete any of the 10 different brightly-colored pictures.
Our tester noted that this toy “has the potential to grow with your child.” Which is a real plus for parents since some toys can have such a short lifespan.
03 of 19
VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set
VTech is a leader in kids electronic learning toys. The KidiBeats Drum Set promotes interactive learning that keeps little hands and minds busy. With three drum pads and a cymbal, the KidiBeats Drum Set lets toddlers rock ‘n’ roll to their own beat or to nine different melodies.
The set has four different modes that teach letters, counting skills, phonics and memorization with follow-along tunes. Little rockers can feel like real drummers in free play mode as they bang out new rhythms with the included drum sticks to four different musical genres: jazz, rock, dance and pop. The drum and cymbal pads light up in follow along mode to help kids keep the beat.
In free play mode, they light up every time the pads are hit. Number jams, Alphabeats, follow me, and freestyle will keep kids learning and jamming for hours. And when parents need a break there’s a quiet-play feature and an auto-shutoff to preserve battery life.
04 of 19
Training: P is for Potty!
P is for Potty — and for the perfect present! The toddler years are the time when every parent is challenged with potty training. P is for Potty is a bestseller for kids between one and 3-years old and is essential to helping moms and dads ease little ones into this stage.
Follow Albie and Elmo throughout their day while they practice sitting on the toilet with an interactive mix of fun and learning. P is for Potty has over 30 lift-and-peek flaps on 12 pages to keep tots curious and engaged.
Looking for more reviews? Read our best toys for 2-year-olds article.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
05 of 19
LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven
The Number Lovin’ Oven by LeapFrog has a whole lot of fun and learning baked in. Over thirty different songs and phrases and sixteen different ingredients let kids explore numbers, temperature, time, and basic math through interactive play.
Designed for kids as young as 2 years old, the Number Lovin’ Oven includes an easy-to-follow recipe card for things like fried eggs, pizza, and cupcakes. Little chefs can slice the loaf of bread or pizza for sharing, hear the skillet sizzle when it’s placed on top of the oven or bake up a batch of cupcakes.
Perfect for kids to use with friends and develop social interaction through shared play.
06 of 19
Little Tikes Shopping Cart
There’s a reason why the Little Tikes Shopping Cart has been a favorite toddler toy for generations. This is one toy that boys and girls will use for hours, engaging in imaginative role play as they fill the cart just like mom and dad do at the store.
The Little Tikes Cart stands at two feet tall and is made from durable, BPA-, latex-, PVC- and phthalate-free plastic. The easy-push wheels are designed to protect indoor surfaces, yet they’re durable enough for outdoor use. Little shoppers can load up the basket with all the items on their shopping list and there’s even a fold-down seat (just like in a real shopping cart) so they can tote along their favorite doll or stuffed animal.
07 of 19
08 of 19
Radio Flyer 3-In-1 EZ Folding Wagon with Canopy
Schlepping small people and their stuff just got a lot simpler with this foldable red wagon, which can be used in three ways: To haul two children around (there are even seatbelts and back cushions), to carry all the gear you might for the park or beach, and, when you drop the zipper, as extra, bench-style seating.
The wagon also has two cup holders and a one-handed folding mechanism. The canopy protects kids from the shade but can be folded and tucked into a pocket when not needed.
Looking for more? Check our reviews on the best ride-on toys.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
09 of 19
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck
When looking for a toy for a toddler, pretend play toys are a great place to start. Not only is it adorable watching your kid act out scenes, but it is also fun for parents to get in on the action.
This food truck can have your toddler slinging out tacos, pizza, burgers, and such. When your order is ready don't forget to pay up with the adorable talking cash register. This food truck will be fun for the whole family.
10 of 19
Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Doll
If your kids still can't stop singing "Baby Shark," why not give them one of their own? This one sings four verses of the popular song, and comes in Mommy, Daddy and, of course, Baby versions. You turn it off and on by pressing its tummy, and it runs on replaceable cell batteries that sit in a secure compartment.
11 of 19
Melissa & Doug Slice-and-Bake Wooden Cookie Play Food Set
This colorful, sturdy play baking set is nice enough to rival the tools you have in your own kitchen. It comes with 12 sliceable cookies that can be stored in a tube, 12 toppings, a knife, spatula, cookie sheet, and kitchen mitt. Kids will just know they're having a blast making pretend treats for each other—not that they also happen to be practicing early math concepts and fine motor skills.
12 of 19
Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth
The smiling sloth, which is part of the Linkimals line, is pretty adorable, and even claps his hands and bobs his head to the music. When your toddler presses the buttons on his feet, she'll hear phrases relating to numbers, colors, opposites, and the alphabet, with plenty of flashing lights and music to keep her entertained.
There are other Linkimals sold separately, including an otter and a moose, and if you pair two or more together they're designed to interact with each other by singing and talking.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
13 of 19
VTech Mix and Match-a-Saurus
The best toddler toys teach while are also being engaging. This toddler toy uses roleplay with a mix of emotions, music, and characters to help work on their feelings.
Children ages 2 to 5 will work on their fine motor skills as they load up the dinosaur with different tiles. When the dinosaur comes to life your kid will learn how to express different emotions all while having fun.
14 of 19
Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy
Aimed at kids ages 1 and up (with a maximum weight of 55 pounds), this adorable canine provides a stable-yet-bouncy play spot. The handlebars feature a snazzy light-up roller that little ones will love to spin, and parents can choose between having the toy play music only, or sing the alphabet, numbers, and other simple words.
15 of 19
LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
You definitely can't judge this book by its cover: Designed for kids 18 months and up, this interactive toy was created to help toddlers build early vocabulary skills in both English and Spanish.
There are three play modes: Words (more than 100 are covered), fun facts, and music, and each page is devoted to a different category, such as animals, food, opposites, and body parts.
Want to read more reviews? Check out our guide to the best learning toys for toddlers.
16 of 19
Melissa & Doug Alligator Wooden Push Toy
Young toddlers who are starting to practice their walking skills will get a kick out of this push toy and activity walker. For those who aren't quite walking, this toy will help them learn to keep their balance. For when they are officially on the move, they'll love to zoom this around the house (and probably into your walls and furniture, so watch out!).
Besides helping them get on their own two feet, they'll also be entertained by the chomping alligators, spinning butterflies and ladybug beads that clatter as they move this toy. This toy is suited for 12 months and up, so great for the new to toddlerhood set.Continue to 17 of 19 below.
17 of 19
Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike
The 4-in-1 Radio Flyer Stroll ‘n Trike is designed for youngsters from nine months to five years old. For babies, the trike has a wraparound safety tray that can hold snacks and a sippie cup, a five-point harness, back and head support and a sun canopy. Mom or dad can push the trike from behind, just like a stroller, with parent-controlled steering, adjustable push handle height and a storage pocket for things like a wallet or cellphone.
When baby is ready to graduate to trying to pedal, the safety tray and canopy can be removed. For kids ready to trike all on their own, parents can remove the push handle and head support so the 4-in-1 Radio Flyer Stroll ‘n Trike becomes a classic tricycle for toddlers on the go. The seat is adjustable for little legs and this trike comes with a handy storage bin located at the back for kids to take their favorite things along for the ride. In the business of making iconic toys for more than 100 years, Radio Flyer has an impeccable reputation for durable, reliable, and memorable toys that withstand the test of time.
18 of 19
Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
Spike the Hedgehog has a lot going for him. His removable quills—12 of them in four different hues—help toddlers practice their fine motor skills as they maneuver them in and out of the holes, and kids can also use the pegs to practice sorting, counting, and color recognition. But the thing parents may appreciate the most is that his quills pack up neatly into his shell when it's clean-up time.
19 of 19
Little Tikes Activity Garden Baby Playset
This play center might take up some valuable real estate in your home, but it's packed with activities guaranteed to delight your little one at a mix of ages and stages. It can be switched from a closed structure for babies to an open, two-sided design for toddlers. There's an archway to encourage crawling, a ball drop, shape sorter, toy piano, and telescope.
If you're traveling, you can detach the play panel, which has fun distractions like a mirror, spinning ball, and musical sounds. It also has a longer shelf life than many baby items, as the recommended age range is six months to three years old.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought three top-rated gifts for toddlers and our reviewers tested them for 10 hours. They took them home, had their own kids try them out, and observed their responses. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these gifts for toddlers, from their durability to their educational value. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Gift for a Toddler
Age range When you’re buying gifts for children, you want to make sure that the one you pick is age appropriate. It might not seem like a big deal to buy a toy suited for 5-year-olds for a 3-year-old toddler, but products for older kids often have smaller pieces that can be dangerous in the hands of young children.
Educational value Toddlers are busy practicing new skills all the time. Because they’re learning constantly, you may want to consider purchasing a gift that has some sort of educational value. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring, though — block sets, dollhouses, and toy ovens can all teach young children cognitive reasoning while helping them practice their fine motor skills.
Engagement A toy with fun, exciting elements is sure to keep young children engaged. Consider one that offers sound effects, fun illustrations, or bold colors — it’ll likely be a hit with any toddler.
Test Results: Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag (Best Overall)
What We Like
Easy to clean
Great way to develop a child’s creativity
What We Don't Like
Unequal amount of each block color
One of our testers, who had her 18-month-old son play with this toy, said, "Our toddler was easily able to grasp and manipulate the blocks due to their larger size." Our reviewer also loved that the blocks were durable and easy to clean but noted that they shouldn't go in the dishwasher. Her toddler wasn't totally engaged with these blocks and she felt like "they don’t encourage fine motor skill development in the way that slightly smaller blocks would."
Test Results: ALEX Toys Little Hands Button Art (Best for Fine Motor Skills)
What We Like
Easy to use
What We Don't Like
Somewhat flimsy construction
No spare buttons
One of our testers thought that this toy was easy to use and well priced, especially given that it “has the potential to grow with your child.” On the other hand, according to one reviewer, its construction was “somewhat flimsy.” One of our testers also wished that it came with more spare buttons because they “got lost easily.”
Test Results: VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set (Best Musical)
What We Like
Entertaining to children at first
What We Don't Like
Too small for intended age range
One of our testers liked that this toy’s “noises and flashing lights were initially entertaining and alluring to small children.” Our reviewers were also fans of its freestyle mode, which allowed kids to play and experiment on their own. However, one tester said that, overall, “it was overly complicated and stimulating with its various noises and sounds,” which were also “annoying for parents.” Lastly, our reviewers thought that it seemed too small for its intended age range.