Once your little one gets to be just about a year old, there are SO many amazing toys that will allow your babe to be creative, engage and entertained. This list is meant for babes from about one year old through age three and is equally applicable to boys and girls. Psychology Tidbit: The types of toys that we give our children to play with can have lasting impacts on them. In fact, one theory as to why there are professions that are so male- or female-dominated is that toys that are typically geared toward boys or girls propagate gender stereotypes. This in turn pushes boys and girls toward certain interests (i.e. “girls with doll houses” and “boys in play tool shops”) that can lead them to certain careers (or keep them from being exposed to a potentially different path). So don’t be afraid to give them something a little different this year in addition to whatever they are currently obsessed with (Moana anyone?!) -you might be surprised at what they end up loving! Enjoy and happy shopping!
1. Bubble Machine– Tons of bubbles without you needing to get covered in sticky bubble solution. This machine is easy for little ones to operate by themselves giving you a much needed break. AWESOME!
2. Trampoline– Anything that will help a toddler burn energy without needing to run laps or break things is a win, but this trampoline, in particular, is great! It is extra bouncy to help the littles learn to jump and the handle helps them stay safe.
4. Teepee– A private little “fort” perfect for story time and playtime.
5. Play Kitchen– We keep our play kitchen in our actual kitchen and my girl loves to pretend to cook while I am cooking. (She loves chopping the veggies and like little “sauteeing” sound the stove makes!) It’s fun for both of us and she’s learning a lot!
6. Sports balls– This little set is perfect for small hands to practice throwing, catching, and kicking. They are inflated enough to offer some bounce but are certainly soft enough to take one to the face and walk away without tears. WIN.
7. ABC Magnets– Another great thing to keep your little occupied while you are in the kitchen. These are great because the letters are large and the entire backside is magnetized (aka no choking or ingestion worry), they teach the child the letter sounds, sing a few songs, and help develop fine motor skills by having the child put the letter in a little slot to hear the letter sound.
9. Art supplies (coloring book, crayons, markers, finger paints, window crayons). Just look for washable crayons, paints, and markers and you and your babe will both love this gift!
10. Arm Chair– A little, soft arm chair for reading, watching shows and hanging out. Littles LOVE these! I am a huge fan of the one linked here because there are no wooden components to the chair- its all foam- meaning there is nothing to get injured on. Are you seeing a theme in this post?!
11. Kitchen learning tower (gives your little a place to stand so they can see and reach the counter tops with you)- I use our tower multiple times a day, everyday. My girl loves helping me prepare meals using it and we also use it to complete crafts in the kitchen. I love that cooking can be an interactive thing for my daughter (and soon my son!) with this- she is there helping me with what she can and is watching me do the things she isn’t quite ready for.
12. Dress Up Trunk. There are so many costumes out there on sale and clearance after Halloween. I snagged a few right after Halloween for Lily and the rest I picked up from littleadventures.com The costumes are super well made, yet they are lightweight and perfect for ACTUALLY playing in them! I am a big believer that if my girl wants to jump in puddles in her costume, she should jump in puddles in her costume; so high quality and durable costumes are a must. This site has lots of princess dresses, great occupational costumes like fireman and doctor, as well as super hero outfits, and make believe costumes!
13. Baby Doll. There are a million baby dolls out there, but I have a special place in my heart for Cabbage Patch Dolls. I got my daughter a full sized one last year and also one of the mini ones dressed as an animal linked above. She by far prefers the little one dressed as a bunny and I love how packable it is! I also love all of the different little animal options! I linked a deer baby above because its cute and festive 😉 I should also note that many little boys love taking care of baby dolls too (especially if they have, or are expecting, a new baby sibling). These little animal ones might be a great choice for a little guy because they aren’t all pink and “cutesy”.
14. Stroller. You need a stroller for that new little baby doll!
15. Magnatiles– Anything that lets a child build is a win in my eyes. These are awesome because you can make SO MANY cool things!
16. Decals. Not exactly a “toy” but kids LOVE them! We have a set of Alphabet decals, the numbers 1-10, a solar system, map of the USA, and a map of the world in our playroom and they all get used almost daily AND I DONT HAVE TO PICK ANYTHING UP!
17. Books- here are some of my favorites: 5 minute story books (Compilations of short 5 minute stories featuring familiar characters. You can get these books with almost any of your tots’ favorite characters) Curious George books, The Amazing Machines series, and the Baby Loves Science series.
18. Musical Instruments– Kids love noise makers and shakers, and musical toys can help them learn about rhythm, turn taking, and, well, the joys of music!
19. Wooden puzzles– These types of puzzles facilitate hand-eye coordination, matching skills, and help children learn to categorize objects. Babes as young as 11 months or so will love these and will continue to love them through toddler-hood.
20.Foam Rocket Launcher– Lily received one of these last christmas from her aunt and she became OBSESSED! This simple design is a serious hit every single time we have friends over too. Kids all love it!
21. Sport Equipment- Many children love being active and they are also in serious monkey-see, monkey-do mode as toddlers so if they see their mom hitting golf balls or their older brother kicking around a soccer ball, chances are they will want to do it themselves. You cant go wrong with a little T ball Set, basketball hoop, soccer net, or golf set!
22. Tool set– I havent met a kid yet who doesnt love to bang on things with a toy hammer. These sets are so much fun and can build the base for learning important life skills down the line.
23. Balance bike and helmet- These are too cool- its essentially a 2 wheel bike that is super lightweight that even kids barely two years old can ride WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS! Kids love them!
24. Hallmark Itty Bittys- I love that you can get almost any character as an Itty Bitty, they wash well, and they are the perfect size for bed, the car and travel. Also, my 6 month old LOVES these because they are a perfect size for his hands and I love that there are no buttons or choking hazards. Here are a few examples: Superman, Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Disney Princesses,Nativity Scene, Star Trek
25. Train Set– Its a classic and allows kids to be creative, engage in imaginary play AND problem solve.
Are there any other items your toddler LOVES?
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