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Keeping a toddler's attention is no easy task. That’s why it's so important to find a toy that's both entertaining and interactive. Of course, it’s also a nice bonus if the toy has an overtly educational component, but some say not to stress about this too much.
Experts, like Dr. Jody LeVos, chief learning officer for HOMER, say that play and learning are really one and the same in early childhood. Kids learn by engaging with all of the items and toys around them in new and interesting toys. The best thing you can do is provide multi-functional toys that hone their rapidly developing skills.
If you're not sure where to start, be sure to consider a toy's recommended age, longevity, and what kinds of skills it'll teach your little one. From there, you can narrow down the options and find your perfect fit.
Here, the best toys for toddler boys.
VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set
What better way to inspire your boy's creative side than with a drum set? With this set from VTech, they'll get drum pads, drum sticks, and cymbals as well as various settings for them to play around with.
"This small plastic instrument is equipped with four modes of play—Follow Me, Number Jams, Alphabeats, and Free Style. Different lights and a voice calling out phrases such as 'awesome' and 'follow the beat' encourages kids to play along."—Hailey Eber, Product Tester
Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles, Soft Baby and Toddler Toy Set
If you're looking for toys for an 18-month old, this set of four pull-back vehicles will provide hours of fun. It contains a school bus, a family car, a fire truck, and a police car to help teach your toddler to identify some of the most common vehicles on the road.
Also, no batteries required—simply pull the vehicle back to rev, let go, and watch it fly forward.
WEofferwhatYOUwant Robot Harry Electronic Pet Dog
This cute Dalmatian will teach toddlers what it’s like to have a pet dog. Harry runs on battery power, as he barks and walks throughout the house. But unlike a real dog, this robotic version also talks, sings, and dances to keep kids engaged. What Harry does is up to you: he responds differently depending on whether you touch his head, his tail, his nose, or his back.
Blue's Clues Peek-A-Blue 10-inch Plush
This is one stuffed animal that's stands out from the rest because of its interactive features. Besides being super soft, when Magenta's belly is squeezed, her ears pop up and down. Your youngster will love this game of peek-a-boo with their new plush friend.
VTech Smart Shots Sports Center
This multi-use activity center allows toddlers to play their choice of two popular sports: basketball or soccer. No matter which game they choose, the light-up scoreboard keeps track of the score and plays fun sounds, like crowds cheering. The sides of the goal post feature a variety of buttons and levels that review shapes and numbers, phrases, and more than 50 songs for even more fun. This toy is suited for children ages 12 to 36 months.
Fat Brain Toys Shape Factory
As your toddler starts to become more and more curious, a love of shapes and colors is sure to begin. This puzzle by Fat Brain Toys includes 10 different pieces that they must fit in the appropriate spaces. The blocks are large enough for tiny hands to grasp, making this is a perfect toy for kids two and older.
Uncommon Goods Construction Plate and Utensils
Pair this fun, award-winning plate with the matching utensils (sold separately)—a bulldozer pusher, a forklift, and a front loader spoon—to encourage kids to explore their food and make mealtime more exciting. And, let’s be honest, with a plate this cool, who wouldn’t want to eat their broccoli?
Step2 Charming Cottage Playhouse
A bit of a splurge, yes, but this fun playhouse has all the bells and whistles, like a working electric doorbell, a removable flower box for real or fake flowers, and indoor storage shelves for toys. Best of all? This roomy country cottage is big enough to go the distance—it’s suitable for kids as old as 6 years.
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table Playset
The best toys for toddler boys let them get messy and have a sensory experience. Water tables are a great way to do just that, plus they can cool kids down on a hot day. This toy can be used in multiple ways, with water, sand, or even fill it with rice or pasta for a real fun sensory activity.
Boon Building Bath Pipes Toy Set
Bath time is also playtime. This fun STEM-inspired pipe set lets kids build their own little creation where they can pour water through the pipes and watch it come out the other side. For parents who want to start getting their kids to shower this is a fun toy to get them excited about it, but it also works well in the bath.
Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set
You may remember this basketball set from your youth—and there's a reason it's still around today! This toy can be used for children ages 18 months and up and help them work on their coordination and keep them active.
Little People Take Turns Skyway Wheelies Racetrack Set
If your toddler already has a strong love of cars that go fast, he'll love this racetrack. It's great for siblings, as long as your children are old enough to take turns peacefully.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck
Why not have him start his own food truck with this adorable playset? Here, he can "prep" his food, present a menu, "ring" up food, and "wash" dishes in the sink. This set is so adorable, mom and dad might also want to play along as well.
Radio Flyer Inc. 3-In-1 EZ Folding Wagon with Canopy
Cruise around the neighborhood in style with this clever wagon which you can load up with some snacks and have a picnic at the local park. Your toddler boy will get a kick out of this wagon and who knows, he might want to pull this around too.
Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike
If your boy has a lot of energy to burn this trike is a perfect toy. The pedal-powered bike is decked out with the Harley-Davidson logo which makes it super cool for mom and dad as well. It has easy-to-grip handlebars, large foot pedals, and a wide, stable wheel-base to keep your little one upright. And—bonus—an under-the-seat storage compartment provides a place to tote snacks and toys.
"The trike has solid silver handlebars with a comfortable grip, pedals that are large and easy to turn, and a spacious seat that seems comfortable for a range of body types."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
What to Look For in Toys For Toddler Boys
Whenever you’re shopping for a toddler, check the age range of the toy you choose before you buy it. Certain products may contain small pieces or other parts that can be dangerous for small children—particularly those made for children three and over, says Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association.
Toddlers learn so much in these key developmental years, so you may want to look for a toy that helps improve their skills. Certain toys focus on motor skills or walking, while others help develop language skills or critical thinking—pick one that's right for your toddler's development level.
During their first few years, children grow, learn, and develop at an astounding pace, so it’s always beneficial if you can find a toy that’ll keep their interest as they progress. Toys that encourage open-ended play and can be tailored to a child’s development level are perfect, as they can often be used for several years.