Toddler playing with toys.

The Best Toddler Toys

The best toddler toy for the child depends on their age. The toddler has varying motor skills and the toy needs to be designed to match the child’s skill level.

Always check toy labels for the recommended ages! Some of the toys displayed on the shopping pages are not appropriate–please read recommendations listed beside toys or on the package.   

Occasion: Birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Get Well, Valentine’s Day, Easter         

(about 1 1/2 years)

The child likes to be on the move and enjoys toys he can push and pull. She likes to mimic what adults around him/her are doing. The child likes toys he/she can manipulate.

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Active toys

Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker -9 mos to 2 years

Push/pull toys

push toys with handles
Pull toys  (for steady walkers) 
Trains, trucks, and cars  (large-sized for small hands)

Ride-on toys

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

From about 1 1/2 years

Wagon  (low, open and child can fit into)
A small rocking horse  (handle rather than reins, knee height)
Ride-on toys propelled by feet  (four or more wheels and non-electric)

Outside toys


Large balls ( 1 3/4″ minimum. Do not buy anything they can easily fit into child’s mouth )  

Manipulative Play

First Builders Big Building Bag

Lightweight stacking blocks   (15 to 25 pieces)
Solid wood blocks    (check out the recommended ages)
Large hollow blocks 
Large plastic blocks 

Nesting cups  (round with few pieces. At 1 1/2 years can use other shapes)

Stacking toys and rings

LeapFrog LeapBuilders ABC Smart House – Insert the 20 double-sided learning blocks into the interactive Smart Star to hear sounds and phrases that introduce letters and numbers. 2+

Pop-up toys  (operated by pushing button or knob)

Puzzles  (3 to 5 piece with knobs)

Snap beads     
Stringing beads  (large beads–at least 1 3/4″ or bigger if the child can put easily into his mouth. Fewer than 10)

Number counting board  (1 1/2 years or older. 1-5 with large pegs)

Pounding/hammering toys

Shape sorters    

Disney Minnie Mouse Inflatable Playland Ballpit – 6 mos to 24 mos

Make Belief

Toy phones 

Play tools  (hammer, drill, pliers)

Dolls (soft body or all rubber. No hair or moving eyes or limbs. 5-6 inches.)
Doll accessories  (bottle, blanket)
Simple doll carriages     

Jellycat Sea Sorbet Narwhal -0 mos+

Stuffed toys   (Watch for choking hazards–no bows, bells, buttons, whiskers. Very soft with thin limbs. Check out age recommendations)

Simple housekeeping toys for 1-3 years

Cooking tools for 1-3 years


Dora, Sesame Street, Barney, Blue Clues items for 1-3-year-olds.

Fisher-Price toys for 1-3 years  

Playskool toys for 1-3 years   

VTech toys for 1-3 years                     

Sand and Water Toys

Simple floating toys    
Small pail and shovel 

Older than 1 1/2 years:

nesting tub toys           

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog -18 mos+

Toddler toys that play music

Rhythmic toys (make noise when shaken)


Nursery rhymes
Rhythmic children’s songs

Toddler videos

“Barney” series
“Winnie the Pooh”
“Beauty and the Beast”
“Arthur” series
“Giggle bugs”
“Baby Songs”
“Thomas the Tank Engine”

Toddler books for 1-year-olds

Stiff cardboard
One word
Read to a child: (about 18 mos.)
“Anybody at Home” by H. A. Rey
“Cat in the Hat Dictionary” by Dr. Seuss
“The Golden Song Book” by Katharine Wessels
“Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
“Look At Me Now” by Watson, Switzer, & Hirschberg
“Mother Goose”
“The Rooster Crows” by Maud & Miska Petersham
“Chicken Soup and Rice” by Maurice Sendak
“The Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown
“Pat the Bunny” by Dorothy Kunhardt

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Launch and Chase Police Tower -1 to 5 years


Always check toy labels for the recommended ages! Two-year-olds prefer action toys. Between 2 1/2 to 3 years has good hand coordination and enjoys playing with small objects.

Waddle bouncy horse 1+

Active play

As above for one-year-olds plus

Riding horses


Pull toys with strings

Push toys that look like adult equipment-vacuums, mowers, etc.

1-piece rattle & roll cart

about 2 1/2 year

tricycles and other pedal toys

Manipulative play

As above for one-year-olds plus

Color or picture dominos

Simple lotto matching games

Cubes for lacing, hooking, buttoning, etc.


As above for one-year-olds plus

Playhouses, farms, etc.

Dress- up clothes

Child size equipment-stoves, refrigerators, workbenches, etc.

Large trucks

Cars with removable figures

Play22 Wooden Train Set 12 PCS – Train Toys Magnetic

Simple trains with simple coupling, no tracks

Simple planes


As above for one-year-olds plus

Small backyard gym equipment

Sand and Water Play

As above for one-year-olds plus

Nuby Octopus Hoopla Bathtime Fun Toys -18 mos+

Bathtub activity centers


Sidewalk chalk
Non-toxic clay
Coloring books
Finger paints


Marches by Sousa
Folk songs by Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger
Baroque music
“Play Your Instrument and Make a Pretty Sound” by Ella Jenkins

YOTTOY Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus Soft Toy -or use it as a pillow. 12 mos+

Toddler books for 2-year-olds

  “Let’s Be Enemies”
“A Flower Pot is Not a Hat”
“Are You My Mother?” by P. D. Eastman
“Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey
“Caps for Sale” by Ezphyr Slobodkina
“The Carrot Seed” by Ruth Kraus
“Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson
“Curious George” Margaret & H. A. Rey
“Harry the Dirty Dog” by Gene Zion
“Play with Me” by Marie Ets
“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter
“There’s a Nightmare in My Closet” by Mercer Mayer
“Who Knows the Little Man” by Walburga Aflenberger
“Corduroy” by Don Freeman
“Noah’s Ark” by Peter Spier  

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