19 Best Toddler Toys

Best Toys for Toddlers


As a mom to three kids, we have been around the block when it comes to owning toys. My kids are hard on toys…if they are cheaply made they don’t tend to last more than a few days around here (not for a lack of my lecturing about taking care of what we have, mind you).

Last year, I shared several of our favorite toys for babies along with toys for boys ages 5-7. Since Little Sister (21 months) is now officially considered a toddler. I thought I would share some of our favorite toys for toddlers! Many of these we currently have, a few we will be purchasing this year, and some we have enjoyed at other locations such as friends’ houses or church!

My list of the best toys for toddlers is divided into sections based on the domains of early childhood development. After all, toys can provide some of the best learning opportunities all while being disguised as fun. :)

19 Best Toys For Toddlers

Toddler Toys that Encourage Fine Motor Development

best toddler toys - Tegu Magnetic Blocks

 1. Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks

These blocks are amazing and are on our toy gift wish list! They might look like ordinary wooden blocks…but they stick together because they are magnetic! The magnets are placed inside the wood, an important safety feature. The manufacturer says they are appropriate for children 6 months+, but I would still be hesitant to use the smallest cubes with toddlers who still put toys in their mouth. The only bad thing about these blocks is that they are pretty pricey. They are extremely well-made, however, and would last for years to come.

Melissa & Doug Pound-a-Peg best toddler toys

2. Melissa & Doug Pound-a-Peg

This is a toddler toy that has miraculously survived all three children in our household. It has been a favorite of my children and guests alike. And as they have grown, I have even transformed it into a learning toy!

LEGO Duplo Ice Cream best toddler toys

3. LEGO Duplo Ice Cream Set

We all love LEGO Duplo for our toddlers…but a pretend play ice cream set just takes the cake (no pun intended). :)

Rainbow Blocks best toddler toys

4. Rainbow Block Set

These blocks are so beautiful and are a great addition to the traditional block sets for toddlers. Plus, they could be used on a light table for another form of play!

Magnatiles best toddler toys

5. Magna-Tiles

Our church has a set of these Magna-Tiles and my kids love them. Technically the manufacturer only recommends these toys for 3 years and older, but I would be comfortable letting my nearly 2-year old use them as long as she was being supervised. Magnets as toys can be extremely dangerous so please use extreme caution and vigilance with children who still put things in their mouths.


Gross Motor Development Toys for Toddlers

LIttle Tikes First Slide

6. Little Tikes First Slide

This slide is currently sitting in the middle of my living room. I bought it about a month ago in anticipating of cold temperatures and it is used about a zillion times throughout the day by all three of my children (ages 7, 5, and 21 months)…despite the fact that it was purchased for the youngest. My only complaint is that it is advertising as “folding”, but really that just means you have to take it apart. It doesn’t actually fold. But it is easy enough to move to another room or even outside to slide in the leaves! :)

Toddler Basketball best toddler toys

7.  Little Tikes Basketball Goal

This is a great basketball goal for toddlers and perfect for indoor or outdoor use. We have had this goal for years. It is plastic (and sort of cheaply made), but it can be easily adjusted to six different heights and won’t hurt it is accidentally comes crashing down on someone (which we know from experience).



Prince Lionheart Wheelybug

8.  Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug

We have the cow version of the Wheely Bug and it is a favorite toy of our kids and other kids who come to our house. I love that this toy also comes in a variety of other animals (hedgehog, ladybug, pig, mouse, tiger, and bee).

Best Toys for Toddlers That Encourage Cognitive Development

Color Paddles best toddler toys

9. Color Paddles

This is currently one of my toddler’s favorite “toys” to play with. My daughter loves getting out the color paddles and matching them to items around the house. As she gets older, we can use them to illustrate how colors mix together to form new colors!



Melissa & Doug Shape Sorter

10. Melissa & Doug Match and Roll Shape Sorter

This toddler toy gets played with at our house every single day. Because of the cylinder shape, it is an activity that parents should participate in as little ones will get frustrated if it keeps rolling away while they are trying to put the shape in the correct spot. I actually consider this to be a positive aspect of this toy, as it gives me the opportunity to talk about the various shapes and colors. I debated between this one and the Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting cube, but decided against the cube after reading many negative reviews.



Melissa & Doug Puzzle best toddler toys

11. Wooden Puzzles

Wooden puzzles are a wonderful toy for toddlers and helps them to develop important cognitive skills such as matching and spatial awareness. The specific type of puzzle will be dependent on the age and ability of your child. The puzzle above is appropriate for a 2-year old while beginning jigsaw puzzles would be more appropriate for a 3-year old.


Best Toddler Toys for Pretend Play

melissa & doug grocery cart best toddler toys

12.  Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart

This is on our Christmas gift list for our toddler this year!


Cutting Fruit best toddler toys

13. Kid O Cutting Fruit

We used to have a fruit-cutting activity similar to this, but it was made with Velcro which eventually wore out. This set is made with magnets and is very durable.

Play Kitchen best toddler toys

14. KidKraft Play Kitchen

This is another item on our toddler toy wish list for Little Sister. A play kitchen is a wonderful way to encourage pretend play for boys or girls!


Caterpillar Construction Toys

15. CAT Caterpillar Construction Set

My neighbor has this set and her boys and they both loved playing with them, especially outside in the dirt! They are small, so they are easy to take along as well.


Best Toys for Toddlers that Encourage Language Development

In my opinion the best way to encourage language development in your child is to read for at least 20 minutes every day and talk about things you do throughout the day. Here are a few other ways.


Red Barn and Farm Animals best toddler toys

16.  Little People Barn and Farm Animals

From my personal experience as a mom of three, I have found that learning animal sounds as a young toddler is a huge stepping stone to language development. Once my children started saying animal sounds, they quickly began saying many other words as well. We have a farm set nearly identical to this one and it has been a favorite toy for all three of my kids!



Imaginext Rescue City Center best toddler toys

17. Imaginext Rescue City Center

Just like the farm animals are great for learning animal sounds, this play center is great for recreating and talking about various places around town. My neighbor’s boys have this and it has been a favorite toy for the last couple of years!


Musical Instruments

18. Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box

Music is a wonderful tool for encouraging language development with toddlers. In addition to learning important components of language such as rhythm and rhyme, music also has been proven to use many different parts of the brain. Finger plays, simple songs, and exposure to various musical instruments are all excellent ways to promote language development!


Favorite Books for Toddlers

19. Books, Books and More Books!

Although technically not “toys”, I couldn’t write this post without including some of our favorite books!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Toes, Ears & Nose by Marion Dane Bauer

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss


The Best Toys for Toddlers


First published November 2015. Updated 2018.


More Awesome Gift Ideas For Kids:

Best Baby Toys

Best Gifts For 5 Year Old Boys

10 Cool Lego Gifts For Boys

Experience Gift Idea:  12 Months of “Dates” With Your Kids

Experience Gift Schedule For Multiple Kids

Big Brother or Big Sister Gifts to Give Older Siblings At The Hospital

Homemade Gift Ideas

No Clutter Gift Ideas For Kids


  1. Loved the collection of toys, wanna buy each one for my toddler!!! My little one also like the little tikes car!!!! Thanks


  2. Thanks for sharing such an wonderful list ., i’m always very confused what kind of gifts to buy for my nephew and I was looking for a useful toys which can encourage him in learning, these wooden block toys are really the perfect gifts for him. Hope he would love to play and learn with them.

  3. This was a great list of play toys for toddlers. A lot of these have stood the test of time and nice to hear that they are still loved. The Barnyard, pound-a-peg, shape sorter, wooden puzzles, the construction caterpillar set, these are all toys I grew up with, and I’m a grandma now. A good toy is still a good toy no matter how old.

  4. Wow, that’s a wonderful list. The best toys for 1 year olds are something that will keep them entertained for hours and also develop their essential skills at the same time.

  5. What a wonderful list. I especially love the wooden puzzles. They are tactile and babies/toddlers really love feeling them. I think water/sand tables are great options as well.

  6. This is a great list! We have the majority of these toys and our kids have so much fun. My son’s favorite is the Magna-Tiles since he’s obsessed with building things.

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