Finding a toddler toy that keeps your toddler happy and busy can feel like a lottery win. After all, it lavishes you with a chunk of our most precious commodity as parents: time. Having the opportunity to tend to other things without the guilt that goes hand in hand with parking tots in front of the television or giving them your smart phone is pretty priceless.
See more: Best Toddler Games
But more than simply keeping kids occupied, the very best toys stimulate their minds and spark their imaginations. From helping little guys and gals strengthen their fine and gross motor skills to building their vocabularies, and learning colors, numbers, and shapes, toys teach just as much as they entertain.
Whether you’re hoping to foster a love of music, art, agriculture or architecture, we’ve found the perfect toys to engage and delight your toddler so you don’t have to — at least not for a little while anyway.
LeapFrog's counting train lets kids insert the 10 double-sided learning blocks into the train to hear sounds and phrases that introduce professions and colors. Plus, when kids press buttons, they hear questions about colors and professions, as well as melodies and songs.
This toy combines music and learning to help kids with building and hand-eye coordination. A singing train? What could be better?
This wood play table from one of our favorite brands has eight different activities to help kids develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It has colors, patterns, and attached pieces that turn, roll, flip, spin, slide, and just generally keep your toddlers engaged and happy.
Admit it. You sort of want to play with this activity table, right? We don’t blame you. It looks cool, and has a ton of things for toddlers to do, all while sparking their imaginations.
Sorting shapes is an integral part of child development. This set is made from recycled plastic, and the shapes are the perfect size for little hands to try and fit them into the correct slots. They learn color-matching, too.
Not every kids’ toy needs to make noise or have flashing lights. This classic shape sorter teaches kids to recognize colors and shapes, and help develop hand-eye coordination.
This isn't just a ride-on toy. Oh no. The Pewi YBike can be used for riding, pushing, sitting, and supported walking. It's great for kids nine months and older. And it works best on smooth surfaces, in the home.
This ride-on toy is multi-directional and helps toddlers develop their balance, coordination, strength, confidence, and spatial awareness, all under the guise of having fun.
So you think you can dance? Hell yes, with this toddler game. Help kids ages 18 months and up with their coordination, spatial orientation and confidence.
You toss the plush cube to determine a color, choose a matching colored card and perform the directed move. You make a fool of yourself for your kids’ amusement. What could be better? Please note, this game doesn’t actually play music. So you’ll need to provide your own.
Kids can pretend to be farmers, or animal caretakers, with this wonderful barn toy. You get a toy farm that comes with a horse, a cow, a sheep, a pig, and of course, a farmer to keep things under control. It's portable. It's foldable. And kids can take the animals in and out and move them around.
Great for kids 18 months and older, this toy farm helps kids improve concentration and hone their hand-eye coordination as they move the animals in and out of the barn.
Suitable for kids three and up, this toddler workbench is a treasure trove of education, entertainment, and stimulation. It's the perfect size for little builders, and includes a functioning vise, a tool rack, wooden tools and hardware, and a storage shelf. Your kid's imagination will run wild, and he and she can hone hand-eye coordination skills as well.
It’s made of solid wood, so this toy will last for years. And kids can bang and build and create whatever they dream up. It’s a great role-play toy, too.
Kids one year and up will be sitting pretty in this musical chair, which has three developmental ages. Each stage is age-appropriate and teaches your kid things like numbers, opposites, actions and pretend-play. They can hop like a frog and play peek-a-boo.
This chair helps kids learn numbers, phrases, colors and songs. It keeps them entertained by having them turn book pages, press remote control buttons, and life the seat cushion to learn cause and effect.
Toddlers love making music and this melody-making music machine comes with a xylophone, a drum, a cymbal, a guiro, a clapper and drumsticks. No earplugs, sadly.
Music is a key part of development in kids, and this solid wood toy more than delivers. Kids can either play solo, or take turns and create their own band. It’s meant for kids two and up. The toy includes a wooden drum, cymbal, guiro, xylophone and a clapper.
One of our favorite brands strikes gold yet again with this cube, which encourages kids 10 months and older to explores shapes. It's made of 100 percent food-grade, BPA-free silicone, and helps toddlers develop fine motor skills and visual-spatial skills.
Kids grab the tethered shapes and fit them into their corresponding slots. The toys is designed to teach toddlers about shapes and colors, and they can even chew it.
This is one dirty dozen you'll love. The eggs help toddlers learn to count, sort, and match. Each plastic egg contains a different color and number, with corresponding pegs and holes for little hands to explore.
Ideal for 18 months and up, this set of 12 eggs helps toddlers have fun and also improve hand dexterity, color recognition, and fine motor skills. Also, they might learn to love omelettes.
Take the toddler play action outside with this wonderful water table, which includes a rubber duck, a water squirting frog, fish, five maze pieces, one large bucket, one flipper and three water scooping tools.
Great for kids two and older, this water table lets kids make it rain while they splash and play in their own backyard. They learn cause and effect, and enjoy the wonders of getting soaked.
Ideal for kids ages two to five, these cardboard blocks provide endless opportunities for them to create castles and cities and forts and whatever else they dream up. The set includes 40 blocks in three sizes.
Encourage budding architects to build skyscrapers and houses with these lightweight cardboard blocks. They feature a wipe-clean surface for simple clean-up.
Few toys are as classic as construction blocks. But these take the fun factor to new heights by lighting up when connected. This set includes 36 blocks and will inspire creativity and wonder. Choose from four modes for your desired brightness: always on, 15 minute auto-off, flashing, and fading.
These brilliant light-up blocks help kids learn hand-eye coordination, and promote creativity through open-ended play. Kids can design their own nightlights, robots, towers, and more as the configuration possibilities are endless. They keep tots busy building away for ages.
Test out fishing without getting seasick with this tub-time favorite, which lets toddlers pick up bobbling sea creatures that double as bath toys. It’s suitable for kids 24 months and older.
They’re super-cute, they’re fun, and these fishing toys help toddlers perfect hand-eye coordination.
Bring Old MacDonald to life with this play farm which comes with animals and features six doors that kids can unlatch and open, giving them a chance to identify and admire animal pictures. In addition to prompting imaginative storytelling and pretend play, this farm helps toddlers work on fine motor and counting skills.
Melissa & Doug’s toy barn keeps kids busy for hours while engaging in creative play. Even after a year of owning it, tots return to this farm daily.
This is the only kind of hedgehog you want to see in your playroom. Thanks to its colorful quills, kids build color recognition, sorting, and counting skills while working on their fine motor skills.
Great for kids 18 months and older, this toy hedgehog is compact and portable so it’s perfect for trips. Kids can play alone or with siblings and learn patterns and numbers.
Just fill the pen with water and let your little artist get to work. Then, watch as drawings magically disappear within three to 10 minutes depending on the temperature and air flow in the room. Made of soft polyester material, this Doodle Drawing Mat is eco-friendly and non-toxic. It’s designed for ages two and up.
Kids can draw free hand or use the included stencils to create their own masterpieces. The mat is large enough for a parent or sibling to join in the fun. Enjoy art time without the mess or traditional markers or colored pencils.
Bring back open-ended play with these wooden blocks, created with sustainably sourced hardwoods and safe water-based finishes. It’s ideal for ages one to 99, and that's no joke.
The perfect size for little hands, the edges are very smooth, so you don’t hav etc worry about splinters. The manufacturer supports helping Honduran workers and keeping the rainforests healthy, so you can feel good about your purchase.
Bring the playground indoors on those rainy days with this slide that allows little ones to work on their gross motor skills by promoting fitness, balance, and coordination. It folds and unfolds in seconds. The weight limit is up to 60 pounds.
Sturdy and stable. Toddlers who get this for their first birthday will still be playing with this for years to come. Place in a ball pit or outdoor pool for added fun.
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