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Today I am taking part in the Ultimate Gift Guide. Over 75 bloggers have collaborated to bring you a comprehensive guide to their favorite gift ideas for the holiday season.
I have decided to share my list of ‘Toddler Tested and Approved’ toys that would make great gifts for any kid from age 1 to 3 years old. Clearly, some are better for the younger toddler, some for the older toddler. However, these are all great toys and gift ideas. Many of them are used as toddler favorite learning toys at Sweet Pea’s school. Others are the kinds of toys that are so fun kids keep coming back to them month after month after month.
Sweet Pea’s all-time favorite toddler toy: Fisher-Price Go Baby Go Poppity-Pop Musical Dino. We gave Sweet Pea this great ’cause and effect’ toy for Christmas when she was just 4 months old and it was an instant hit. This toy definitely grows with your wee one because you can play it with them before they are able to sit up and it is fun enough that they will play with it as they get older. This toy is now slated for donation but if Sweet Pea sees it, she will want to play with it, even at 2 years old.
Blocks: Blocks are great for toddlers because they will develop fine motor skills, cause and effect, problem solving, and depending on the type of block- they can help teach colors, numbers, and the alphabet. These are two block sets I would check out.
Animals: Toddlers learn through imaginative play and one of the earliest set of imaginative play toys that are great for toddlers are play animals. There are many varieties but I like the ones included below because they are very realistic. Also, animal toys are great for reinforcing early vocabulary learning and animal sounds. In addition to play animals, The Melissa and Doug animal magnets make an excellent gift that is good for 1 year olds and 2 year olds. We stuck our magnets on the back of the garage house door (it is magnetic) and Sweet Pea is constantly messing around with them.
Electronic Toys: I know many Moms don’t like electronic toys. I get it. Really I do. I don’t mind them though. If you are considering electronic toys, the three included below are pretty fantastic. The Baby Einstein Count and Discover Treasure Chest is great for getting young toddlers to improve eye-hand coordination and fun for older toddlers in pretend play. LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket is fun for counting, shapes, colors, and having a pretend picnic with your toddler. The LeapFrog Farm Animal Mash-Up Kit is just plain fun. Toddlers will love the animal sounds, the funny animal configurations, and they will improve fine motor skills, learning how to put the pieces together in what is essentially a simple puzzle.
Puzzles: Wooden puzzles are probably one of the best toys you can give your toddler, regardless of whether they are a young 1 or an old 2. I have three representative puzzles here, all from Melissa and Doug. The first type is the chunky peg puzzle that is great for younger toddlers. Not only are the pieces bright, they are easy to manipulate and super fun to bang together. The second type is the pegless chunky puzzle. Again, this is a simple puzzle that has bright, fun pieces, but is a little more complicated than the chunky peg puzzle. By the time your toddler is 2 years old, they will probably be ready for the more complicated peg puzzles like this alphabet puzzle. This is Sweet Pea’s current favorite puzzle. Now only is it great for letter recognition, but since the pieces have to fit in the correct way, it is also great for developing fine motor skills.
Stacking Cups: Any type of stacking cups will be a great addition to the toy chest. They can be used in a variety of ways and are also very portable.
Pop-Up Toys: These are toys that I first noticed Sweet Pea playing with in the infant room at school. Sure enough, she loves them, even as a 2-year old. There are many different kinds of great pop-up toys but the one below is one of the more popular ones.
Musical Instruments: Give the gift of creative musical expression! These two gifts are both fantastic for aspiring music lovers. Sweet Pea especially loves the xylophone in the Toddler Music Box.
Baby Dolls: Baby dolls are important (for both girls and boys) for developing empathy, for pretend play, and for practicing life skills through play. Honestly, invest in a number of different kinds of baby dolls because if your toddler is anything like Sweet Pea, she will want to ‘put them to bed,’ ‘feed them,’ etc… all of them, and at the same time.
Alex Toys- Early Learning Learn to Dress Kitty: These little dolls are fantastic for older toddlers. I first saw Sweet Pea playing with them at school and I can see why the school uses them. Toddlers get tons of fine motor skill practice– buttoning buttons, lacing shoes, zipping zippers, etc.. Plus, they are both so cute!
Building Toys: There are so many great building toys on the market- blocks (see above), Lincoln Logs, Bristle Blocks, Tinker Toys, etc… However, it is hard to argue the mass appeal of Legos. Duplo Legos are the perfect size for budding toddler engineers. Magna-Tiles are new to me, but they will be under the tree for Sweet Pea this year. All I know is that numerous Moms have raved about them and Sweet Pea plays incessantly with them at school.
Push Toys: As soon as your toddler starts walking, they will want to practice! Push toys are great for building confidence. The popper is the classic push toy. If you want to combine gross motor skills with pretend play, you really can’t go wrong with a shopping cart.
Play Food: I mean, you need to have something to put in that shopping cart. I really love this brand of play food. It is realistic and well made.
BIG TICKET ITEMS! Do you want to wow your toddler on what will probably be the first Christmas that will make an impression on them? These big ticket toys are sure to accomplish that!
Radio Flyer Interactive Riding Horse– In my humble opinion, if you are going to spring for a rocking horse, this is the best one you can give. It makes neighing sounds when ridden, and kids can ‘feed’ it carrots… all with sounds. Plus, it is super fun to ride.
Sand and Water Table
Toddler-Sized Furniture: Toddlers love to feel like big kids. Why not let them enjoy watching Daniel Tiger or Veggie Tales from the comfort of their very own chair.
Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas!– Don’t forget the stocking stuffers! These inexpensive items are certain to be crowd pleasers!
Anyway, these are my picks for great gift ideas for toddlers.
Happy shopping and Happy Holidays!
Check out the entire list of gift guides from the other amazing bloggers who are collaborating on this project. Visit the Pinterest board to pin them for later! Follow Erica • What Do We Do All Day?’s board Gift Guides for Kids on Pinterest.