November 2, 2013

Gift Ideas for Toddlers

Christmas and Birthday Ideas for Toddlers

20 Gift ideas for toddlers
image courtesy of sixninepixels at

As December approaches, I am compiling all of my favorite toys and listing them by age.  So far I have shared stocking stuffers for boys, gift ideas for babies, and today I am putting together my best gift ideas for toddlers.  These toys are ideal for Christmas or birthday gifts for toddlers, and many will be favorites for many years after toddlerhood as well.

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20 Toys for Toddlers

Duplo Blocks - Blocks are my favorite toy for all ages.  They build fine motor skills, encourage creativity and problem solving, promote concentration, and spark imagination.  Duplo blocks are perfect for toddlers.  They are large enough for a toddler to grasp easily, and the snap together with only a small amount of effort.  They are hard enough to challenge little hands yet easy enough to not frustrate young children.  There are many sets to choose from.  I personally prefer the assorted blocks since they are open ended.

Playdoh - We make our own playdough, but give store bought as gifts.  If you'd like to make your own we have recipes for lemon playdough, chocolate playdough, fall scented playdough, and many more.

Basketball Hoop - I am a huge fan of any toy that promotes activity and builds gross motor skills.  This hoop is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.  If you'd like a basketball hoop that will grow with your child here is another option.  

Thomas the Train - Wooden trains are quite possibly the most popular toddler and preschool toy on the market and with good reason.  A toy that encourages imagination and builds problem solving skills gets two thumbs up in my mind.  The basic figure eight track is a great starter kit, or a train table set it another wonderful option.

Little Wheelies Ramp - We bought that one when J-Bug was 1.5 years old, and both he and JZ played with it every day for months.  They still reach for it upon occasion, and my two year old twins play with it regularly.  We bought this newer version for my nephew for Christmas last year, and he loves it!

Tall Stacker Monkeys -  I love Lauri toys.  You will see many of them on upcoming lists.  These stacker monkeys are my favorite for toddlers.  You can work on some very basic counting and math skills like patterning and coloring sorting with these monkeys, all while playing.

Shopping Cart - Toddlers love toys they can fill up and push.  Shopping carts make wonderful holders for stuffed animals, blocks, matchbox cars, and more!

Play Food - We have played countless games of bakery, smoothie shop, restaurant and store with just a few play food items.  This type of pretend play is perfect for exposure to early math skills.

Plasma Car -  We bought two of these at the county fair last summer, and we have since bought two more.  My sister bought two for her house after seeing the boys with ours.  This is hands down my favorite ride on toy for kids.  Actually, it's fun for grown ups, too.  ;)  I prefer the generic brand to the original and linked to the kind we own.

Wooden Puzzles - Wooden puzzles are the perfect starter puzzles for little hands, and they last forever.  We have many wooden puzzles that were given to us as hand me downs, and they are in near new condition.

Mesh Sports Balls - Toddlers love to throw and kick, and I am happy to provide them with soft, appropriate throwing toys.

Wooden Blocks - Again with blocks.  I did mention how much I love blocks, right?  At any given time my four boys will each be playing with a different type of blocks.  Like wooden puzzles, wooden blocks are durable and stand the test of time.

Cozy Coupe - All of the indoor gyms we go to have these cozy coupes, and my boys always seem to commandeer them.  If we had more space we would own a couple.  They are adorable and fun.

Sit 'N Spin - My mom who taught motor development for 25+ years says this is one of the very best toys for children for building gross motor skills.  Spinning is an activity that young children should be encouraged to do every day as it is crucial for brain development.

Sand Toys - Sand toys can be used for sand, water play, rice bins and much more, and children of all ages love them.  My kids have spent countless hours in our sand box scooping sand and building castles.

Board Books - Books are another gift you will find on all of my lists.  A household can never have too many books!  I love these Eric Carle board books for toddlers.  The stories are whimsical and beautifully illustrated, and board books are ideal for toddlers who tend to be rough on books.

Mr. Potato Head - This silly toy cracks kids up and provides the opportunity to build fine motor skills.

Art Easel - We actually don't own an easel, but I have always had one on my wish list.  I would love to build a big one outdoors.  Maybe someday.  :)

Foam Mat - These letter mats make a great addition to a play space.  The letters pop out and can be used for alphabet games and activities.

Mega Blocks Wagon -  I mentioned earlier that children love any toy that they can fill and push.  When JZ was 1.5 we bought this wagon for him for Christmas, and he ran around our house pushing it for hours without tiring.  Each of our boys have loved this toy.

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What are your favorite toddler toys?  Do you have a go to toy that you buy for toddlers' birthdays?

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  1. Love this post Allison, we don't need anymore electronic toys and JJ doesn't even like them. This has some great ideas for my little toddler! -Ashley

  2. I'm missing the link for the generic plasma car! Can you help me out?

    1. Hi Sandy - the one I linked (click the words plasma car) is the generic one. Sorry for the confusion. :)

  3. Great list! I have a niece and nephew to buy for this Christmas and this gave me some great ideas! Can you share why you prefer the generic plasma car?

    1. Thanks! The front wheels don't roll. There are four wheels in front, and only the small very front wheels don't roll, just to be clear. I'm guessing it is a safety feature, but honestly the rolling ones aren't dangerous. We had a generic brand before I ever saw an original, so it's what I was used to. Hope that helps. :)

  4. Great post! I love that sand toys.


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