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It can be hard to find the perfect gifts for the toddlers in your life. You want to buy something they’ll love and will play with every day. And you hope your gift won’t get relegated to the toy bin in the corner of their room–or worse– donated to Goodwill within a few months.

It just so happens that I’m slightly obsessed with finding the best toys out there, and I’m here to help you!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned when it comes to toys, it’s the simpler the better. Battery-operated, loud, and flashy toys are fun and engaging at first, but children quickly lose interest in them. Plus, they tend to be poor quality and break easily.

Finding the Right Gifts for Toddlers

There are a few different criteria I consider when deciding what to buy for the tots in my life.

1. The item must engage a child’s mind, creativity, and imagination.

2. It should potentially have more than one use.

3. Preferably non-battery operated (there are some exceptions).

4. Won’t drive parents crazy.

I want to spend my money on well-made gifts that will actually get played with!

 

non-toxic toys

I also look for toys that are as non-toxic as possible. Am I fanatical about every toy needing to be 100% natural? No.

But I consciously avoid buying toys that I know contain harmful ingredients, especially those that would be handled a lot during play. Kids like to put things in their mouths and chemicals can also be easily absorbed through the skin.

appropriate age range for toys in this guide

The gifts for toddlers in this post are geared towards children ages 2-5, although some 2 year-olds might need extra supervision when playing with some of these toys.

Most of the toys I’ve selected are made by companies with a commitment to quality and safety, and many are made out of wood instead of plastic.

There are a few exceptions to this “rule” in the gross motor and water play sections of this post. Although these items are made of plastic by popular toy companies, they are not likely to get mouthed during play, so I’m comfortable with recommending them.

Here are my top recommendations for gifts for toddlers!

BOOK SUBSCRIPTION BOX

Amazon.com now offers Prime Book Box Kids, a curated subscription box perfect for children of all ages.

Each box contains 2 hardcover books or 4 board books, depending on the age range you select. The age ranges are baby-2 years old, and ages 3-5 years, 6-9, and 9-13.

Prime Book Box Kids allows you to tailor and either pick your favorite books for each box, or you can keep it a surprise.

What I like about this subscription box is that you can adjust the frequency of your box to arrive every 1, 2, or 3 months, and you can cancel at any time.

It’s so exciting for a child to receive something just for them in the mail! And books are a wonderful gift that can be enjoyed for many years. Click here to learn more about Amazon’s book subscription box for kids.

 

 

TOYS FOR FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Lacing Button Toy

This toy is perfect for helping toddlers develop their fine motor skills.

 

Montessori Animal Puzzles

These Montessori inspired animal puzzles come in a wide variety of fairly-realistic looking animals.

 

 

 

Plan Toys Bee Hive Toy

 

 

 

An adorable toy for learning colors and color matching. The colorful hexagon “hives” can also be used as blocks for stacking.

 

 

ART SUPPLIES

 

 

 

Hape All-In-One Wooden Art Easel

 

 

 

 This easel makes art accessible and fun for toddlers ready to express their creativity.

 

 

Children’s Earth Paint Kit by Natural Earth Paint

 

 

 

The colors in this kit are made from non-toxic vegetable dyes so they’re completely safe for toddlers and free from any nauseating fumes.

 

 

 

Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons

 

Honey Sticks are a great non-toxic alternative to crayons. If you’re vegan, be aware that they are made of beeswax.

 

 

 

 

TOYS FOR BUILDING

 

 

 

HABA Basic Building Blocks

 

 

 

 

Every toddler should have a good set of wooden blocks! These by HABA are beautiful and great for building elaborate castles.

 

Green Toys Build a Bouquet Stacking Set

 

Green Toys makes quality toys from recycled plastics without BPA, phthalates, or PVC. All their products are made in the USA.

 

 

Grimm’s Large Rainbow Stacker

 

 

 

 This rainbow stacker is definitely on my wish list for my kids! It’s beautifully made from one piece of wood and painted with non-toxic water-based paints.

 

 

Hape Master Workbench

 

 

 

This workbench comes with tools and various parts kids can actually build with! It also features a child-safe working vice.

 

 

PRETEND PLAY TOYS

 

Plan Toys Tea Set

 

Plan Toys makes beautiful pieces and this tea set is no exception. It comes complete with tea bags, sugar, and creamer cups.

Sarah’s Silks Enchanted Playsilk

 

This playsilk has endless potential uses for pretend play and kids will love feeling the silky texture in their hands.

 

Bullyland Animal Action Figures

 

 

Bullyland is the only company I know of that manufactures realistic action-figures that are completely free of PVC plastics. They’re made in Germany and can be a bit pricey, but you can plan to build up your stock over time if you buy only a couple at each gifting season. (That’s what I plan to do!)

 

Hape Doll Family

 

This doll family features wooden dolls with bendable arms and legs, yarn hair, and real clothes. I like how simple and cute they look.

Hape All Seasons Kid’s Wooden Dollhouse

 

 I would have gone nuts over this solid wood dollhouse as a kid! It’s spectacular! It features six fully-furnished bedrooms and three stories.

 

 

Grimm’s Seven Friends in 7 Bowls

 

This toy by Grimm’s can be used for so many different play scenarios! Great for fine motor coordination and color matching, but also for pretend play. The bowls might become cars or planes, the tray might become a magic carpet, and think of how many ways your kids might use the little peg people! The possibilities with this toy are endless.

Manhattan Toy Baby Doll 

 

Manhattan Toy Company makes the cutest dolls! My siblings and I had a few of these dolls in childhood that are still in great condition nearly decades later!

Manhattan Toy Snuggle Pod Lil’ Peanut First Baby Doll

I couldn’t resist including these adorable dolls (also from Manhattan Toy) in this list. These dolls come in several different varieties of “snuggle pods” with a sweet sleeping baby doll inside. Each snuggle pod has a different theme, including “Snuggle Bug”, “Sweet Pea”, “Hunny Bunny” and more. Toddlers will love putting their dolls in and out of their pods. They’re just the right size for tiny hands.

Green Toys Garbage Truck

 

This is such a fun truck from Green Toys with a door that lifts and a large trunk area for “garbage”. Toddlers will enjoy putting small objects inside the truck and rolling it around on its tough and sturdy wheels.

 

 

Melissa & Doug Cleaning Set

 

This cleaning set gets daily use in our house! So much fun and really looks like the real thing, but the perfect size for toddlers.

 

Brio My First Railway Train Set

 

Every kid needs a good train set, and this one by Brio is a great starter option. Brio is a high-quality, non-toxic toy company based in Europe. Check out their awesome selection of other open-ended toy sets on Amazon!

Hape My Creative Cookery Club Wooden Kitchen

 

 

 My son is currently obsessed with cooking and although I try to involve him as much as I can in the real thing, he enjoys play cooking as well. This play kitchen is the perfect size for toddlers and all made of wood. It includes play food as well.

 

 

 

 

TOYS FOR GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Board 

 

I’ve been eyeing this balance board for months. It’s made of wood and can be used for rocking, flipped over and used as a slide, a tunnel, a bridge–basically it’s the ultimate open-ended toy. I seriously can’t wait to buy one!

Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike

 

Balance bikes are all the rage right now because they help improve balance and enable young children to ride on a two-wheeler without needing training wheels first. Kinderfeets makes some lovely wooden balance bikes.

 

 

Hape Scoot Around Ride On Wood Bike

 

 

Ride-on toys work well as a precursor to a balance bike or tricycle. They’re also great for indoor use.

 

Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set

 

 I love how this free-standing hoop makes basketball accessible for little humans.

Kids Trampoline with Handrail

 

 Our boys LOVE to jump. Great for indoor use during those moments when you need to get the wiggles out, or when weather doesn’t allow outdoor play.

 

 

 

 

WATER PLAY

 

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

 

Water play is a fun sensory activity that most children love. A water table is a great gift to fullfill that natural desire kids have to splash around. Bonus that it can be enjoyed by more than one child at once!

 

 

Gifts FOR MAKING MUSIC

 

PlanToys Big Drum

 

 Drums are a favorite in our house. This one is beautifully made and just the right size for kids.

Nino Percussion Woodpecker Effect Instrument

 

Although this isn’t geared specifically toward children, it’s a cool percussion instrument the whole family can enjoy.

Wood Frog Guiro Rasp

 

 

My friend has one of these on her coffee table and it’s such a favorite with my son whenever we go over to visit. Cute and fun to play with!

 

What gifts stand out to you in this guide? Do your kids have any of these toys? What do they think of them? Let me hear from you in the comments!

 

 

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