The 9 Best Gifts to Buy for Toddlers in 2018

Find the perfect present for the little tot in your life

Little boy playing plane toy
Weiyi Zhu / Getty Images
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Mega Bloks 80-Piece Bag at Amazon

“This set encourages imaginative play and aids in fine-motor skill development.”


Best Active: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike at Amazon

“The Radio Flyer Stroll ‘n Trike can become a classic tricycle for toddlers on the go.”


Best for Fine Motor Skills: ALEX Toys Button Art at Amazon

“Specifically designed to help toddlers to encourage creative play.”


Best Musical: VTech KidiBeats Drum Set at Amazon

“It lets toddlers rock ‘n’ roll to their own beat or to nine different melodies.”


Best Problem Solving: Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers at Amazon

“We found the perfect first dollhouse for toddlers.”


Best Gross Motor Skills: Melissa & Doug Alligator at Amazon

“This toy will help toddlers learn to keep their balance.”


Best for Potty Training: P is for Potty! at Amazon

“Essential to helping moms and dads ease little ones into the potty training stage.”


Best for Young Chefs: LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven at Amazon

“Perfect for kids to use with friends and develop social interaction.”


Best Pretend Play: Little Tikes Shopping Cart at Amazon

“Little Tikes Shopping Cart has been a favorite toddler toy for generations.”

  • 01 of 09

    Best Overall: Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag

    Excellent

    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 toddler 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. And, when play time is over, all the Bloks can be stored in the reusable storage bag making cleanup a snap. Moms and dads can keep these Bloks germ-free by easily washing them in hot soapy water or by throwing them onto the top rack of the dishwasher.

  • 02 of 09

    Best Active: 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. 

  • 03 of 09

    Best for Fine Motor Skills: ALEX Toys Little Hands Button Art

    Little Hands Button Art is specifically designed to help toddlers increase hand-eye coordination, develop fine motor skills and to encourage creative play. With chunky buttons that easily snap in and out of place, Little Hands Button Art includes a variety of activities. Preschoolers can complete any of the 10 different brightly-colored pictures.

    The set also includes over 40 different buttons in an array of colors for imaginative combinations. Plus, the storage tray allows for easy clean up and storage. This preschool skill builder will keep kids engaged in quiet play that they can do by themselves. Recommended for kids two years and up.

  • 04 of 09

    Best Musical: 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 free style 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.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Best Problem Solving: Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

    Dollhouses promote imaginative play, object recognition, problem solving, and social development through role play. And we found the perfect first dollhouse for toddlers. The Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home is an interactive toy that has different phrases, songs, and sounds that all promote teamwork, imaginative play, and helping others. This set comes complete with two siblings (Emma and Jack) and a dog, plus some accessories for their four-legged friend. All appliances and living room, bedroom, and bathroom furniture are built into the dollhouse so parents needn’t worry about losing pieces.

    Interactive features include: Discovery Buttons that light up and play songs about helping out around the house, a kitchen light, a dog bowl that can be filled up, and a whoosh sound when the toilet seat is lifted. When it’s time to pack up, all of the pieces fit inside the dollhouse that can be closed and latched for secure storage. An easy-carry handle makes this house ready for on-the-go fun.

  • 06 of 09

    Best Gross Motor Skills: 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 ones 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. 

  • 07 of 09

    Best for Potty Training: P is for Potty!

    P is for Potty — and for perfect present! The toddler years are the time when every parent is challenged with potty training. P is for Potty is a number one bestseller for kids between one and three years old and is essential to helping moms and dads ease little ones into the potty training stage. Potty-training toddlers can follow Albie and Elmo throughout their day while they practice sitting on the potty 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.

  • 08 of 09

    Best for Young Chefs: 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 two, 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, the interactive oven includes: pretend play slice-and-share pizza and bread, two cupcakes, a fried egg, spatula, two plates, a skillet, and a baking tray. All 16 pieces fit neatly inside the oven for easy storage or on-the-go fun.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Best Pretend Play: 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.

Products Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent an hour testing one of our readers’ favorite gifts for toddlers. They took it home, had their own kids try it out, and observed their responses. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this gift, from its durability to its 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)

Excellent

What We Like

  • Durable

  • Easy to clean

  • Great way to develop a child’s creativity

What We Don't Like

  • Some blocks fit loosely together

Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag
Mega Bloks Big Building Bag
Mega Bloks 80-Piece Bag
Mega Bloks Bag

One of our testers, who had her one-year-old child play with this toy, noted that “the size of the blocks were easy for a one-year-old to handle, and the different colors are a good teaching tool!” Our reviewers also loved that the blocks were durable and easy to clean. Although our testers didn’t have much to say in the way of downsides, some online reviewers noted that certain blocks fit loosely together — which means higher structures can get a bit wobbly.