Choosing holiday gifts for toddlers is fun, but it can also be a challenge.
Finding something that will hold a toddler's attention for more than two minutes isn't easy. And, of course, every toddler toy worth its weight in gummy bears should help kids learn while they play.
If you need help choosing the best toddler gift for a special little person, we've got you covered.
With our list of the 15 best toddler toys, choosing the perfect present is child's play! Check 'em out.
- How to Choose Gifts for Toddlers
- 19+ Gifts for Toddlers for 2020
- #1: LEGO DUPLO
- #2: Orbrium Wooden Toy Train Set
- #3: Little People
- #4: Mega Bloks First Builders Build ‘n Learn Table
- #5: Step2 Game Time Sports Climber and Slide
- #6: Play-Doh Fun Tub
- #7: Melissa & Doug Take Along Wooden Doorbell House
- #8: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Car
- #9: Hape Original Super Maze Bead Maze
- #10: Leapfrog Scout and Violet 100 Words Book
- #11: Bristle Blocks by Battat
- #12: Step2 Fun with Friends Kitchen
- #13: Kinetic Sand
- #14: VTech Go!Go! Smart Wheels Amazement Park Playset
- #15: Crayola My First Crayola Touch Lights
- #16: Fisher-Price Little People A Christmas Story
- #17: ALEX Toys Bath Banyard Stickers
- #18: Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
- #19: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight
How to Choose Gifts for Toddlers
Looking to claim the title of best parent/grandparent/uncle/aunt? Here's how to choose a gift toddlers will love.
- Know your toddler. Unlike babies, toddlers can (and will!) let you know if your gift sucks. Our advice? Get to know what the recipient is into at the moment (think: dinosaurs, dolls, cars, art) and run with that theme.
- Try to choose open-ended toys. Toys that allow kids to play in different ways spark imagination and creativity. Open-ended toys like blocks, cars, dollhouses, and playdough will also get a lot more use than structured toys like puzzles or shape sorters.
- Opt for toys that boost development. Toddlers learn through play. Toys that allow kids to flex their imaginations and work on vital skills (language, social skills, motor skills, problem-solving, etc) are well worth looking for.
- Don't allow gender stereotypes to limit your options. Toys are toys. Playing with dollhouses can help foster a nurturing attitude in boys and improve social skills, while toolsets give girls an opportunity to work on fine motor skills and develop critical thinking.
- Forget the flimsy stuff. Toddlers can be tough on toys, so it's a good idea to choose something that's capable of withstanding abuse.
- Look for age-appropriate options. Toys come with age recommendations for a reason. Not only can toddlers choke on smaller parts, but some big kid toys might be too complicated for younger children to fully enjoy.
Got some idea of what to look for and what to avoid? Great! Let's move onto the good stuff.
Here are the 19 best toddler gift ideas (in no particular order, because we all know that one toddler's treasure can be another toddler's trash!):
19+ Gifts for Toddlers for 2020
#1: LEGO DUPLO
When we surveyed parents of toddlers and preschoolers, the top answer to the question “what’s your toddler’s favorite toy” was DUPLO.
I guess these toddler-friendly LEGO sets withstand the test of time, because I remember playing with DUPLO when I was little and loving it.
#2: Orbrium Wooden Toy Train Set
Amazon’s Best Overall Train Set and another popular vote on the “toddler’s favorite toy” list is the Obrium wooden set.
After Poppy glued herself to the train set at her grandparent’s house last summer, we picked one up for screen-free playtime.
#3: Little People
Another popular toy I heard over and over again was Little People. While Little People in general were a hit, and some even made it onto Amazon’s 2020 Kids Gift Guide, lots of parents mentioned specifically Little People sets that include trucks and cars, like this one.
Considering toy trucks were another popular answer for toddler boys and girls alike, this isn’t surprising.
Blocks are a universal kiddie favorite and it's almost impossible to go wrong with this option. The chunky pieces are perfect for little hands and the folding table pulls double duty as a building platform and a portable storage case.
- Offers plenty of opportunity for imaginative play.
- Comes with two car wheelbases that can be used on the platform's built-in track.
- Table features a built-in storage compartment.
- Folds down for on-the-go use.
- Building platform keeps blocks off the floor.
- A bit shorter than pictured.
- Locking the legs into place can be tricky.
This mini sports center gives toddlers a chance to work on gross motor skills and burn off some of that boundless energy. A basketball hoop, soccer goalposts, a climber, and a slide keep kids moving and exploring.
- Suitable for both solitary and group play.
- Lots of activities to keep toddlers interested.
- Durable construction should last for years.
- Easy to assemble.
- Large footprint might not be ideal for smaller homes.
#6: Play-Doh Fun Tub
Molding and shaping playdough somehow never gets old and this Play-Doh Fun Tub has everything toddlers need to get started. Encourages creativity and makes for a fun, hands-on introduction to colors and shapes.
- Four tubs of playdough and loads of tools deliver hours of fun.
- Allows young imaginations to run wild.
- Great for playing with friends or without.
- Plastic tub makes it easy to keep playdough and accessories in one place.
- Play-Doh tubs are small.
- Play-Doh isn't gluten free, so you might want to skip this one if your toddler is gluten intolerant.
This wooden dollhouse holds special appeal for toddlers thanks to a set of real keys with corresponding locks and working doorbells. A well made option that offers lots of different ways to play.
- Placing the keys into the correct locks encourages critical thinking while ringing the doorbells helps develop fine motor skills
- Keys are tethered to the dollhouse.
- Comes with four poseable wooden dolls.
- Features a carry handle for fun on the run.
- The clothes are glued onto the dolls, but this could be an advantage for some.
- Toddlers might need some help with the locks and keys at first.
This adorable ride-on features an adjustable design that grows with kids for years of fun. A closed body, canopy, and a parent push handle makes it suitable for younger toddlers too.
- Floorboard can be removed when kids are big enough to push themselves along.
- A working horn, removable gas cap, and clicking ignition inspire imaginative play.
- Door opens and comes with a lock for safety.
- Swiveling wheels make for effortless steering.
- Features dual cup holders for drinks and snacks.
- Assembly can be a hassle.
- Nearly impossible to take apart after it's assembled, so be careful.
- Parent handle is a little short.
Ever seen the way toddlers gravitate toward those giant bead mazes in doctor's waiting rooms? This award-winning bead maze lets you take the action home, and thanks to generous dimensions, several kids can play at the same time.
- Moving the beads along the wires improves hand-eye coordination and helps develop problem-solving skills.
- Colorful beads and wires assist with color recognition.
- Large size adds to the novelty and is ideal for group play.
- Made with non-toxic, child safe materials.
- Takes up a bit of floorspace.
- Taller toddlers might need to sit down while playing.
Not your average toddler book, this feature-packed option helps kids expand their vocabulary with touch-activated sound effects. An excellent learning tool with multiple settings, 100 words, and 12 different categories.
- Words are hand-picked by learning experts and span across a wide variety of categories.
- Sound effects, fun facts, and two learning songs make for a comprehensive learning experience.
- Easy for toddlers to use all by themselves.
- Durable and easy to clean.
- Definitely not a “quiet” toy.
- Requires batteries.
- Extremely sensitive to touch and enthusiastic fingers might trigger multiple sound effects at once.
Block-loving toddlers looking for a new experience will have a blast playing with these bristle blocks. Soft interlocking bristles make it easy for little hands to fit the pieces together and creations won't quickly fall apart.
- Bristles on every side allow the blocks to fit together in new and interesting ways.
- A variety of textures and colors deliver a sensory feast.
- Comes with 128 pieces, including plants and three animals.
- Storage bucket features a bristled lid that doubles as a building platform.
- Getting all the pieces back into the container can be difficult.
- Cleaning between the bristles can be a challenge.
This little kitchen has so much going on that toddlers can easily play for hours without getting bored. Features plenty of realistic details, including a coffee maker, appliances with doors that open and close, and convincing sound and light effects for the ultimate role-playing experience.
- Roomy enough for group play and the height is perfect for ages 2-6.
- Moving parts allow kids work on fine motor skills while they play.
- Comes with LOADS of accessories.
- Sturdy enough to handle whatever toddlers dish out.
- Built-in storage space makes it a breeze to keep everything together.
- Has a considerable footprint.
- Smaller kids might need help reaching hanging utensils.
- Expensive, but well worth it if you're going to splurge anyway.
#13: Kinetic Sand
Playing with kinetic sand is a fantastic sensory activity for toddlers. This beach-themed set comes with everything kids need to build a sandcastle at home, but when it comes to creative expression, the sky's the limit.
- Delivers all the satisfaction of playing with sand, but with none of the germs or mess.
- Endless ways to play makes for hours of fun.
- Comes with all the tools needed to make an awesome sandcastle.
- Non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
- Toddlers under the age of 2 might not be able to resist tasting the sand.
- Some adult direction might be necessary at first.
An interactive car track with plenty of dips, loops, and interactive features to keep toddlers entertained. It's also compatible with other Go!Go! Smart Wheels sets if kids want to extend the track later on.
- Toddlers get a serious fine motor skill workout by pushing the car along and manipulating various moving parts on the track.
- Car-activated smart point locations play music and phrases.
- Ramps, loops, and drops offer fast-paced action.
- Sturdy enough for a bit of rough handling.
- Assembly can be time-consuming.
- Only comes with 1 car.
- Takes up quite a bit of space.
A doodle board with a difference, this innovative option features a gel drawing surface, 12 vivid light colors, and optional music to inspire budding artists. Great for on-the-go creative fun.
- Allows toddlers to get creative without making a mess.
- Gel doodle surface is pressure-activated, so kids can draw with their fingers.
- Chunky, sturdy, and easy to grip.
- 12 different light colors and 6 songs keep things interesting.
- Requires batteries.
- Properly clearing the gel screen can be tricky for little hands.
If you're looking for a fun way to teach toddlers about Christmas, this nativity set won't disappoint. Comes with all the key players and everything else you need to reenact the nativity.
- Helps toddlers understand the basics of Jesus' birth in a memorable, hands-on way.
- Plays “Away in a Manger” and the star lights up when pressed.
- Grasping and positioning the figurines assists with the development of fine motor skills.
- Packaging could do with improvement.
- A few more Christmas carols wouldn't hurt.
- Shepherds are sold separately.
These simple foam stickers adhere to tiles and bathtub walls when wet, instantly turning bath time into fun time. Great for toddlers who put up a fight at bath time.
- Comes with five adorable animals.
- Can be used to teach toddlers animal names and sounds.
- Removable heads can be swapped around for fun or used for a matching game.
- Mesh storage bag with suction cups allow the pieces to dry between use.
- Pieces might not stick if bent.
- Younger toddlers might be tempted to take a bite out of the foam.
This cute little hedgehog might be simple, but kids seem to love him, nevertheless. Brightly colored removable quills help toddlers polish fine motor skills.
- Peg shaped quills slot into the hedgehog's back, helping toddlers work on fine motor skills.
- Quills are brightly colored to assist with color recognition and can be used for counting as well.
- Hollow back doubles as storage space for the quills.
- Older toddlers might tire of it quickly.
- Play options are somewhat limited.
Toddlers don't usually look forward to bedtime, but a good story can work wonders. This dino-themed bedtime story outlines common bedtime antics in a humorous way that shows kids what NOT to do.
- The storyline is highly relatable with characters acting out typical toddler bedtime avoidance tactics.
- Beautifully illustrated with vibrant colors for visual interest.
- Features 10 dinosaurs (and their scientific names).
- The paper pages in the hardcover version can be ripped by enthusiastic toddlers.
There you go — 19 awesome toddler gifts that you (probably) can't go wrong with!