From holidays and birthdays to bringing a present when visiting family or friends, you may search for a thoughtful and engaging toy that would be liked by both the parent and child. A priority for finding a toy for a toddler is safety: Can it hurt the child in some way such as a sharp edge or pointed edge (can poke an eye or ear)? Can a finger get stuck in a flap or closing mechanism? Are the parts small enough to fit into anyone’s mouth? Are there any parts loose that can come apart? Another factor for a good toy is how easy it is to wash or clean the toy. Here are some immediately likeable toys and books you can gift a toddler.
Pretend play with this VTech dog house, although cars and other animals find themselves in the dog house from time to time. Eggs? Yes, toddlers love sorting, matching and opening toy eggs! This color matching egg set teaches colors and numbers and are smooth all around (some toy eggs have jagged shells). Radio Flyer’s Fold 2 Go Trike is for 1.5-3 year olds. Radio Flyer also offers an indoor busy buggy that my kids love (and no need of batteries!). An electronic-free Radio Flyer Busy Buggy for indoor use will let your toddler zoom up and down the hallway for hours. Compared to other ride on toys, it is slightly higher and larger so good for taller toddlers. Because it requires no batteries, it is rinsable in the shower. Brio a mbulance (with siren lights and sound) and Brio firetruck (with siren lights and sound) are smooth plastic trucks and just the right size and great pretend play. The ambulance has a driver and stretcher, while the firetruck has a re-tractable hose (turn the yellow knob) and ladder. Small friction push tractor and cement truck (they come in a set with bulldozer and dump truck) are well-made and detailed for digger fans. And a green dinosaur from Peppa Pig’s mini buggies set has escaped. Non-staining and reusable, Water Wow water-reveal activity pads are a hit with toddlers and parents alike. We were gifted 2 pads and we got more as they liked it so much. Toddlers love building blocks like Lego’s Duplo or Mega Bloks (which are larger in size so less of a choking hazard and easier to handle). Can foster solo play and grow concentration skills. Magna-Tiles are ubiquitious in STEM classes and preschools and everyone else’s homes. Magna-Tiles even have extension sets, which are a great gift (less pricey) and will delight a toddler to add to its collection. (Tip: The 2 car expansion set is everyone’s favorite and can be linked to form a train.) The other brands making similar magnet tiles don’t stick as well and have broken off pieces, so going with the Magna-Tiles are worth the quality. For toddler girls or boys, this shape sorting house is cute and stable, with shaped holes for various colored shapes, with a bear in the sliding window, but also has a door that is locked and unlocked by a large plastic key. When the door is locked, the shapes are can stored inside the house. The plastic house can be rinsed and is electronic-free. String together colorful wooden shapes in this Delu xe lacing ki t (hint: the Primacy lacing kit had shapes with difficult to pass holes, so this set is better). Can use the dots to learn counting and these shapes are stackable blocks too. Help your toddler learn vocab and place stickers on clear glossy pages of desert, ocean, forest, playground, market and more in these Tiger Tales sticker books. This set includes First Words, Farm, Colors, and Animals. The easy to carry velcro-closure box stores the books nicely. This same company also has a set that contains a combo 1 sticker book + 1 large sized puzzles that my toddlers love. The puzzle of course needed adult guidance, but they were fascinated for an hour! This Melissa & Doug’s garage with car was h has an elevator, ramp, car wash lane, doors, gas pump and 2 levels. Be prepared for your child to be engrossed for hours! It also comes with 2 wooden cars, but other cars from other toy makers (and animals) may find their way in. Don’t worry if your toddler is trying to draw on your white walls, these markers from Aquadoodle are filled with water, then drawn on the doodle travel mat as seen behind. Why the travel version? It folds up with a Velcro strap to seal and is easy to keep. This plastic grocery cart will be used to haul toys and blankets all around your living room (and possibly outside). Tip: Just ditch the toy cartons it comes with, too filmsy. But the Battat grocery cart is strong, well-made, sturdy and all smooth edges. Alex button art set for little hands to color match and push buttons into holes. (These buttons are larger-sized so unlikely to be swallowed.) These farm animals are perfectly sized for chubby hands without any sharp edges for imaginative play in the bathtub or living room. Teach your toddler animal names and sounds. Boley also has 12 zoo animals. Gender neutral toys: Dress up Linzy Bear has a button, zipper, strap and shoe laces or shoe velcro straps in his overalls. (Although I have caught his outfit on another bear in our household.) The green and orange buckle toys are much used – toddlers love buckling the straps (although you will be unbuckling every 15 minutes). I wash the buckle toys in the washing machine. Activity cubes (such as this B Toys Zany wooden activity cube) are much liked by toddlers and provide a range of activities. (Be watchful that the wooden cube can be heavy if tipped over.)