The Best Fun and Educational Gifts for Toddlers

Our favorite picks from Little Tikes, VTech, Leapfrog, Mega Bloks, and more

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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The Spruce / Amelia Manley

When shopping for a toddler, the child's learning abilities, interests, and safety should be top of mind.

We researched the best options on the market, considering each pick's educational factors, entertainment value, and age suitability. Our favorite picks include fashionable plush pets from GUND, simple arts and crafts from Alex Toys, and a push toy from Melissa & Doug for early walkers.

Here, the best gifts for toddler boys and girls.

Our Top Picks

LeapFrog Number Lovin' Oven

5
LeapFrog Number Lovin' Oven

Courtesy of Amazon

The Number Lovin’ Oven by LeapFrog has a whole lot of fun and learning baked in. Over thirty different songs and phrases, plus 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.

GUND P.Lushes Designer Fashion Pets

GUND P.Lushes Designer Fashion Pets

Amazon

Add a designer fashionable pet to your toddler's stuffed animal collection with this adorable furry friend from GUND. Each one of these award-winning plushies feature detailed embroidered accents. These include sparkles, bows, collars, and more. Little ones will treasure their new snuggly pal for years.

Reviewers love the quality of these stuffed animals, ensuring they will last for years as your toddler grows with their fuzzy friend. Each one is unique with their own name and design and toddlers of all ages will love collecting them all.

WOW! STUFF Peppa Pig's Clever Car Toy With Lights and Sounds

peppa big car toy

Amazon

For the Peppa Pig or car-obsessed toddler in your life, combine their interests with this play set as they join Peppa and her family on a road trip! The interactive car plays music, makes realistic sounds, and recites popular phrases from the show. Young ones ages 2 and up can collect other Peppa Pig characters to chauffeur around in their cherry red convertible.

Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide

Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide

Target

Add some thrill to your toddler's life with this introductory slide. Now, you can bring the fun of the playground to your living room or backyard for outdoor play. Your toddler will love conquering their fears and sliding into a mountain of pillows or piles of leaves. The best part is they can enjoy it as they grow, starting as young as 18 months.

Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag

3.4
Mega Bloks

Courtesy of Walmart

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.

Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag

 The Spruce

"Our toddler was easily able to grasp and manipulate the blocks due to their larger size, but we did notice that they don’t encourage fine motor skill development in the way that slightly smaller blocks would."—Hailey Eber, Product Tester

Alex Toys Button Art Activity Set Kids Art and Craft Activity

3.6
Button Art

Courtesy of Amazon

Button Art is specifically designed as a toddler toy. It is aimed 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.

ALEX Toys Little Hands Button Art

"We found that the smooth plastic buttons—which measure 1.25 inches in diameter—were ideally sized to fit our toddler’s tiny hands. They snap easily into place with a satisfying click and come out just as easily.."—Hailey Eber, Product Tester

VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set

3
VTech-Kidi-Beats-Drum

Courtesy of Target

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. The drum and cymbal pads light up in follow along mode to help kids keep the beat.

VTech KidiBeats Drum Set

"Our toddler was initially drawn to the lights and sounds, but he quickly tired of all the bells and whistles. It seemed he found them overstimulating, and we felt the toy encouraged passive instead of engaging play. Of course, older toddlers might stay engaged longer if they can follow the learning sequences, which offer the ability to teach both letters and numbers."—Hailey Eber, Product Tester

P is for Potty!

P is for Potty!

Courtesy of Amazon

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 best-seller for kids between one and 3-years old and is essential to helping moms and dads ease little ones into this stage. P is for Potty has over 30 lift-and-peek flaps on 12 pages to keep tots curious and engaged.

Hide N Side Ball Pit, Play Tent and Tunnels

Hide N Side Ball Pit, Play Tent and Tunnels

Courtesy of Amazon

Before purchasing this, just be prepared for your child to never want to end playtime. This set consists of a ball pit, tunnels, and a few tents. It's suitable for ages one through six and is sure to provide hours of fun. The material is durable, easy to clean, and the set comes with a convenient carrying case.

Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set

Melissa and Doug Bake and Slice Set

Courtesy of Walmart

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.

Melissa & Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy and Activity Walker

Melissa & Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy and Activity Walker

Melissa & Doug

For those who aren't quite walking yet, 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, your toddler will also be entertained by the chomping alligators, spinning butterflies, and ladybug wooden beads that clatter as they move this toy.

Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Amazon

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 cleaning time. 

Little Tikes Activity Garden Baby Playset

Little-Tikes-Activity-Garden-Playhouse

Courtesy of Walmart

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.

Fat Brain Toys Shape Factory

Fat Brain Toys Shape Factory

Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain consistently creates exciting toys for kids. This toy requires kids to fit all 10 shapes into the appropriate slots. Not only do they learn about shapes, but this is also a great way for kids to enhance motor skills. This is an ideal toy for kids two years old and up and the chunky pieces are designed for their little hands.

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center

Amazon

Though this toy is all about encouraging motor skills, kids will just appreciate how fun it is. The wooden activity center has pretty much everything to captivate a child's attention, from spinning dials, beads, gliders, and more. The toy measures just over 22 inches tall and has a sturdy base.

Learning Resources Smart Snacks Number Pops

Learning Resources Smart Snacks Number Pops

Courtesy of Amazon

Learning about numbers and colors can be fun, especially when it comes in the form of ice cream. Kids have to match the popsicles with their corresponding shells, which have different colors and numbers of dots. This simple, but fun toy is intended for kids 18 months and up.

WowWee Baby Shark Official - Singing Bath Time Bubble Maker

WowWee Baby Shark Official Singing Bath Time Bubble Maker

Amazon

If your kids still can't stop singing "Baby Shark," why not give them one of their own? This one will make bath time their favorite activity—besides singing, the shark can be filled with your favorite soap and will allow your baby to have a bubble party while singing along to the tunes. The toy can also be easily attached to your tub walls.

Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Your young animal lover and possible future veterinarian with love this 24-piece vet set. It includes everything they'll need to take care of their plush cat or dog, including a stethoscope, bandage, thermometer, and even an exam checklist. Everything can be stored away in a handy tote bag that has a cute paw print on the outside.

Petit Collage Floor Puzzle

Petit Collage Floor Puzzle, Our World

Courtesy of Amazon

As your child gets older, puzzles might naturally be a fun pastime for them, or even the family as a whole. You can get their love of puzzles started early with Petit Collage floor puzzle, available in various fun designs. The 24 pieces are made from recycled materials, printed with vegetable inks, and the puzzle sizes are perfect for kids three and up.

Radio Flyer in 1 Off-Road EZ Fold Wagon with Canopy

4
Radio Flyer 3-in-1

Courtesy of Amazon

 

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 kid-friendly wagon also has two cup holders and the foldable canopy protects kids from the sun.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck

4.9
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck

Amazon

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's also fun for parents to get in on the action.

This food truck can have your toddler slinging out tacos, pizza, burgers, and more. When your order is ready, don't forget to pay up with the adorable talking cash register. This food truck will be a fun activity for the whole family.

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo

love-to-hug-elmo

Courtesy of Walmart

This Elmo doll loves to give hugs and will sing and dance when you give him a cuddle. He stands are just over a foot tall, and he speaks English and Spanish when requesting hugs. Just note that while is fur is soft and plush, the robotic elements aren't as cuddly when you squeeze him for an embrace.

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

Courtesy of Amazon

There’s a reason why the Little Tikes Shopping Cart has been a favorite toddler toy for years. 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.

Yeaye Crawling Crab Baby Toy

dancing crab toy

Amazon

The dancing crab plays cheerful music and walks sideways. When your toddler goes near the crab, the crab will crawl away which will create an exciting chasing game, so it doesn't ever get boring even after a while. The crab also has bright colors and sparkling lights.

Learning Friends 100 Words Book

Learning Friends 100 Words Book

Amazon

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.

VTech Mix and Match-a-Saurus

VTech Mix and Match-a-Saurus

Walmart

With this VTech toy, toddlers are exposed more to role play 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.

Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy with Lights and Sounds

Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy

Courtesy of Target

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 ride-on toy play music only, or sing the alphabet, numbers, and other simple words.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart Push Toy and Puzzles

Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart and Puzzles

Macy's

Give your child a toy that will have them playing all day long without getting bored—this wooden cart set has numerous puzzles for your child to solve, get exposed to different shapes and colors, and sort various categories. The little fruit pattern is the perfect design to add a touch of color to your playroom.

BigShu Magnetic Tiles Building Blocks

Magnetic Tiles Building Blocks

Amazon

These magnetic tiles can be used to build anything and everything your toddler wants—it'll encourage them to be as creative as they want since the possibilities are endless. The set comes in various colors and shapes, so it'll be an experimental experience of mixing and matching the tiles for your toddler.

Toyk Aqua Magic Mat

Toyk Aqua Magic Mat

Courtesy of Amazon

A magic mat that gets easily activated with just water—it comes with numerous brushing tools that can be filled with water and stencils, so your toddler can freely draw with their friends on play dates. They can paint anything they want without the mess that comes with it since the mat will completely dry over time.

Taimasi Kids Musical Instruments, 33Pcs

Musical Instruments

The musical set comes with 33 instruments for your toddler to experiment with the different sounds, rhythms, and beats. Since it comes in a tidy and light bag pack, the instruments can be easily stored and carried whenever you're heading out with your toddler. It'll keep them busy and happy on any car ride.

Buckle Toy Store Bizzy Square

Buckle Toys Bizzy Square

Amazon

It's often difficult to find a toy that's easy to carry and bring anywhere but this buckle toy will be compact enough for your toddler to hold when leaving the house. It comes with multicolored buckles and numbered flaps with embroidered animals under each one, so your toddler can practice their motor skills while learning about the different animals.

VTech Jiggle and Giggle Fishing Set

VTech fishing set

Amazon

Upgrade play time with a magnetic fishing game—your toddler will use the mini rod to fish out colored sea critters! It's a fun and interactive game that can be easily shared with their friends since they can take turns. When they're done playing, all they have to do is put everything in the storage bin which can be stored on a shelf or toy closet.

Fat Brain Toys Ladybug's Garden Memory Game

Ladybug garden memory game

Fat Brain Toys

Challenge your toddler with a memory game that's both fun and interactive—the ladybugs can be lifted and moved around until they find the matching icons. The game can be played with their friends as they take turns to see who can match the most icons.

Fat Brain Toys Bugzzle

Fat Brain Toys Fat Bugzzle

Amazon

Puzzles don't have to be boring, they can actually be quite fun, interactive, and colorful! The Bugzzle comes with numerous cards with ways to place the colored pieces to complete the puzzle, so your toddler can experiment and play with it differently each time.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Take-Along Sorting Barn Toy With Flip-Up Roof and Handle

 Melissa & Doug Wooden Take-Along Sorting Barn Toy with Flip-Up Roof and Handle

Amazon

If your toddler loves animals or you're trying to introduce them to animals, this sorting barn toy is a great starting point. It comes with 10 wooden farm animal pieces which they need to place onto their empty spots on the barn. It'll help them learn the different animals while challenge them to some puzzle solving.

Joyjoz Baby Musical Mats With 25 Music Sounds

baby mat with musical sounds

Amazon

Your toddler can create their own melody with this musical mat that looks like a giant rainbow piano keyboard—the mat comes with 25 musical sounds, so they can mix and match with what sounds good to them! Whether it be running up and down the keyboard or jumping, they'll have a blast curating their own beat.

Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit

Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

Use your toddler's iPad as a learning tool with this interactive Osmo starter kit. All you need to do is place the iPad on the stand and the reflector will look at what shapes and materials are in front of your child to guide them through making letters and completing missions.

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

Educational Insights Microscope

Courtesy of Amazon

If your toddler loves nature or space, this microscope will immerse them into closer up looks of their everyday surroundings. With numerous samples, your toddler can place it under the microscope to see what they look like and learn fun facts about each one as they go through all of them. This will help them have a better understanding of what they may see on walks or on TV.

VTech Spin & Learn Color Flashlight

VTech Spin & Learn Color Flashlight

Courtesy of Amazon

Whether it be colors, numbers, or animals, your toddler won't be able to put their flashlight down because of how fun and interactive it is! They can use the multiple control switches to change the different options as they play around with the flashlight. As they're singing along, they'll also be learning basic colors, numbers, animals, and songs.

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set

4.6
Melissa and Doug's cleaning set includes a dustpan that attatches to the handles of the other tools.

Amazon

Don't stress and worry about having a whole to-do list of chores around the house when you're also taking care of your toddler with this dust, sweep, and mop set. It may often be difficult to get stuff done when your toddler is following you around wanting to do it themselves, but with the set, they can copy what you're doing but in a lot safer way. This way, both you and your toddler can feel happy and accomplished afterwards.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Magic Color Mixing Bowl

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Magic Color Mixing Bowl

Courtesy of Amazon

Your toddler can whip their own goodie with this laugh and learn magic color mixing bowl, while also learn about the different color combinations when mixed together. As they add different ingredients to the bowl, the mixing bowl will play songs and phrases to help your toddler learn the alphabet, numbers, and colors.

Learning Resources Pretend Cash Register

Learning Resources Pretend Cash Register

Courtesy of Amazon

The Learning Resources Pretend Cash Register is a great way to get your toddler started on learning numbers and simple calculations through interactive money handling. The cash register makes a realistic register sound and has numerous realistic bills and coins, so your child can learn counting, subtraction, and addition while also having fun.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Toy

4
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Toy

Walmart

Does your toddler love fun songs and singing? This tunes toy has an easy grip holder, so you toddler can bring it wherever they go whether it be the car or their friend's house. It plays 10 kinds of songs, so they won't ever get bored of the variety of songs they can play since they can choose the one they want to listen.

nutty toys 8 pk Pop Tube Sensory Toys

nutty toys 8 pk Pop Tube Sensory Toys

Courtesy of Amazon

Make your toddler's building dream a reality with these easy pop tube sensory tubes that can be easily connected to make anything they want. From tunnels to abstract sculptures, they can pair the different colors and stretch out the tubes to their preference.

Melissa & Doug Top and Bake Wooden Pizza Counter Play Food Set

Melissa & Doug Top and Bake Wooden Pizza Counter Play

Courtesy of Amazon

If your toddler always seems fascinated by you when you're in the kitchen cooking or cutting ingredients, this may be the perfect toy for them. The set comes with numerous pizza toppings and cards that they can follow to create multiple kinds of pizzas. It'll help them learn about the different vegetables and challenge them to complete each task.

Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Adventure Pack

Paw patrol adventure backpack set

Amazon

PAW Patrol is a popular show toddlers love and we can't blame them! This PAW Patrol adventure pack includes a whistle, adjustable binoculars, a 3-in-1 tool with a magnifier, a compass, activity guide, a badge, and more to bring the excitement of finishing missions on the cards. It will inspire your toddler to get creative and active since they'll be actively moving around to figure out clues.

Horizon Group Bluey Aqua Art Pad, Color-with-Water Book

Bluey Aqua Art Pad, Color-with-Water Book

Amazon

Coloring is a simple and fun activity for all kids, however, it can often get messy with the colors leaking all over surfaces or on your little ones' hands. This Bluey Aqua Art Pad comes with a numerous sheets that need to be filled out with its magic pen. All you need to do is fill it with water (yes, you read that right—just water) and there you go! As they fill in the sheets, colors will magically appear so they can practice coloring within the lines before the real deal. The pad will dry overtime and become blank again, so they can use it as many times as they want.

Hapyland Old Wooden Reading Blocks Flash Cards

Montessori flash card game

Amazon

Your toddler will love learning new words with the Hapyland Reading Blocks Flash Cards. The set comes with various wooden dowels that can be placed in the wooden holder, and the revolving blocks can be rotated until they create new words. It's up to your toddler to find the matching cards as they make new words.

LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

LeapFrog Fridge Phonics
LeapFrog

If your toddler is beginning to learn the alphabet, get them this phonics letter set to help make it an enjoyable process! They can either place the letters on your fridge to make new words or place it into the machine to hear how it sounds like.

CozyBomB Magnetic Wooden Fishing Game

CozyBomB Magnetic Wooden Fishing Game

Courtesy of Amazon

Let your toddler practice their "fishing" with this handy wooden toy that'll allow them to use rods to fish out letters. They can either take turns with their friends fishing out letters or you can help them spell words as you call our easy words to spell. It'll make spelling a lot more fun and interactive.

CENOVE Flower Garden Building Toy

CENOVE Flower Garden Building Toy

Amazon

The CENOVE flower garden building kit comes with various flower pieces in a handy toolbox, so it's always organized and they can bring it anywhere they go. Your toddler can experiment with the different colors and create all kinds of flowers for their personal little garden.

Exorany Busy Board

Exorany Busy Board Montessori Toys

Amazon

Help your toddler learn the basic skills of buckling, unbuckling, zippering, and tying laces—this toy is the perfect way to get them started. The busy board comes as a portable kit with straps, so it can be easily carried throughout the house or when going outside. They'll become a professional in these skills in no time.

CoolToys Monkey Balance

CoolToys Monkey Balance Cool Math Game

Amazon

If your toddler isn't too excited about learning numbers, gift them this monkey balance which will make the experience a lot more fun and interactive. As they place the numbers on one end, they have to count the same number of monkeys to place on the other end, so the scale balances. It'll help them learn about numbers and the concept of balance.

Playkidz Durable Pound A Ball Toys

Durable Pound A Ball Toys for Toddler

Amazon

Who doesn't love a simple but exciting game? With the Playkidz Durable Pound A Ball Toy, your toddler gets to hammer in the colored balls and watch as they slide down the ramps. As a learning game, you can ask your toddler which ball is what color and they would have to hammer the one that's correct.

BESTAMTOY 36 PCs Wooden Sorting Stacking Rocks

BESTAMTOY 36 PCs Wooden Sorting Stacking Rocks

Amazon

Does your toddler love to play with rocks when going outside? If the answer is yes, this sorting kit may be a better alternative than the ones outside. It comes with 36 pieces of multicolored wooden rocks that can be sorted by color or even stacked on top of each other. Your toddler will be able to learn how to coordinate colors and manage balance when stacking.

LIKEE Wooden Pattern Blocks Jigsaw Puzzle

LIKEE Wooden Pattern Blocks Jigsaw Puzzle

Amazon

The great part of the LIKEE Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle is that your child has so many cards to look at and build with the puzzle pieces. Each completed puzzle will be a cute critter that'll have your toddler giggling.

VTech Count and Chomp Dino

VTech Count and Chomp Dino

Amazon

Each token has a certain amount of fruit and as it's being fed to the dinosaur, it will provide a fun response whether it be a melody or phrase. Your little one will be able to learn different shapes, colors, and foods since the toy plays more than 130 songs.

RAEQKS Counting Dinosaur Toys

RAEQKS Counting Dinosaur Toys

Amazon

With the RAEQKS Counting Dinosaur Toy, your toddler will have multiple colored bowls which they need to sort the colored dinosaurs into bowls using the tools. As they're organizing, they can learn the colors and how to count.

YEEBAY Interactive Whack A Frog Game

YEEBAY Interactive Whack A Frog

Amazon

The Whack A Frog Game comes has two different game modes and 38 speed-changing levels, so your toddler can go at any pace that fits them. Whether it be playing with their friend or by themselves, they will learn how to be patient and hand-eye-coordination.

AugToy Montessori Learning Toys Slide Puzzle Color & Shape

Montessori Learning Toys Slide Puzzle Color & Shape

Amazon

If your toddler loves puzzles, gift them this wooden slide puzzle which comes with cards, so they can look and match their board with the one on the card. As they move each piece, you can go over what color they're moving so they can learn what they're looking at as well—a great bonding activity!

What to Look For in a Gift For a Toddler

Recommended Age

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, says Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association. Refer to the age recommendations on the packaging as a good judge of how safe and engaging a toy will be.

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, says Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in South Overland Park, Kansas.

Stability and Durability

Toddlers are notoriously rough with their toys, so it’s a good idea to look for toys that can withstand heavy use and the inevitable drops that’ll happen as your toddler develops better coordination and organization. Thick, durable plastics or solid wood toys are best equipped to withstand this type of usage.

Why Trust The Spruce

This article was updated by Julia Fields a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product round-ups, expert-focused articles, and more.

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