12 Best Toys for Toddlers in 2018
It’s not easy to create a list of the best toys for toddlers since there is quite a difference in the age range.
The term “toddler” refers to children between the ages of 12 months to 36 months, but when you’re choosing a toy for kids in this age range, even a few months can make a huge difference in the type of toy you choose!
So, where do you start? What type of toys should you be looking for as you shop?
Compare and contrast some of the top toddler toys in our table, find out how you can narrow down the toy choices and then see what we thought of the top five toys in our review section.
Top 12 Toys for Toddlers Ultimate Table
*Note – Buying a tablet for a toddler is a big investment and may not be the right choice for younger toddlers (12 months-18 months).
How Old Is He? How Old Is She?
As we mentioned, the toddler age range is from 12 months to 36 months, and since toys for a 12-month-old will most likely be too simple for a 36-month-old, you need to weigh your options.
- 12 Months – Some babies walk quite early while others bloom later in this area. Even if a toddler has already perfected walking and balance at this age, it is still fun for them to bring toys along on their adventures. Toddlers who are still a bit wobbly will have something to help them balance.
Stacking toys are great at this stage, too.
- 24 Months – In come the water toys, the tents, the wagons and the play vehicles. The basketball hoop is a great idea, as is the matching game (number 2 in our table).
- 36 Months – As kids leave their toddler years, it is more difficult to guess what they might enjoy playing with by the age of 36 months. They might want more complex building blocks or a workbook like Wipe Clean Letters Book that will help prepare them for preschool. They’ve perfected walking, running and climbing by this age, which means that anything allowing them to be active is a good choice.
If we were you, we would avoid toys that are appropriate for a limited age range (such as 6 months to 36 months) and opt for something that is 3 years and up.
It depends, of course, on the type of toy and what you feel comfortable allowing your toddler to play with, but from a practical point of you, it’s best to avoid toys that will only interest them for a few months.
Where Will They Play with It?
Yes, don’t forget to consider the “where” when it comes to deciding which are the best toys for toddlers.
- Travel Toys – You might need something to keep them occupied on a long flight or car ride, so look for something that is lightweight and that they won’t get bored with after just 10 minutes.
If you want something that is travel-friendly for toddlers, we suggest the Fat Brain Toys pipSquigz or a tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab E with a kid-friendly carrying case to protect it and make it easy for them to carry around.
- Water – Remember that water toys are not only good for bath time fun but also in the pool, the lake or at the beach.
- Home – Some of the larger toys such as the Pacific Play tents Kids Me Too Dome Tent or the Fisher-Price Little People Loops ‘n Swoops Amusement Park are more suitable for home use since they aren’t travel-friendly.
If you’re choosing something for a daycare, make sure that is appropriate for all of the age ranges that participate.
What about siblings that fall in this age range or something for daycares, Sunday School groups, preschool classes and even birthday party entertainment?
We thought that the Learning Resources Lights and Sounds Buzzers was a great find since it is perfect for older groups of toddlers.
Kids love the idea of a fort, which is why we included the Pacific Play Tents Kids Me Too Dome Tent; this is especially great for siblings or sleepovers once your toddler gets older.
The Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set will also help keep an active bunch of toddlers busy (at least for a short while) and since the hoop adjusts to different heights, you can keep it challenging for them as they grow.
Top 5 Best Toys for Toddlers Reviews
pipSquigz are the larger version of their regular Squigz cousins. The simplicity and versatility of this toy makes it one of the best toys for toddlers on our list and we know that many parents (and toddlers) would agree.
Squigz – if you haven’t seen them before – are little silicone suction cup shapes that kids can play with just about anywhere. They are smaller than the pipSquigz here, which is why some parents prefer to get these because they are larger.
Larger toys = easier to find.
Smaller toys = harder to find and too small for younger toddlers.
These can accompany a toddler just about anywhere: in the bathtub, on the airplane, in the car, to grandma’s house and on her refrigerator, and on the glass slider door in the living room.
Another great reason to purchase them is the fact that they’ll entertain your toddler well past the toddler years: they’re great for kids of all ages!
If you’d like something that will help the toddler you’re shopping for improve hand-eye coordination, then this is perfect.
Each kit comes with 10 different picture boards and 46 colored buttons. Kids match the color of the button with the color of the hole on the picture board and then snap it into place.
It sounds quite simple but kids never get sick of them, and they’re quite popular!
Parents will love that the buttons are easy to store (although we must admit that it’s easy to lose them due to their size).
Other than that, we felt that this was a great educational toy that toddlers around 24 months would enjoy.
You, shopper friend, will love the price tag!
There are endless building possibilities with the Bristle Blocks, which is why we suggest it for the little builder in your family.
The bristles on each piece may look pokey, but we can assure you that they are soft and safe for kids that are 2 years and up.
Each set comes with a variety of shapes (this one has a total of 112 pieces) that kids can use to create a ton of different creatures, shapes, and structures.
These are great for individual playtime or in a group, especially since there are so many pieces, and they definitely nurture the hand-eye coordination.
If you already have some building blocks for your toddler, then this might not be a necessary purchase, but if you don’t, they’re fun and safe for the age range you set out shopping for!
A wobbly walker will benefit greatly from a shopping cart like this, and they might even learn a thing or two about the grocery shopping process!
The shopping cart is a classic toy for toddlers: they can push it, pull it, carry around their most prized possessions and probably bring you the remote control that you dropped on the floor on the other side of the room (hey – kids like to feel useful!).
Keep in mind that the cart does require some assembly on your behalf and that toddlers shouldn’t be allowed to place heavy items in the basket (you don’t want them to overload it and cause it to break or tip over on them).
Both boys and girls find this toy equally entertaining, which makes it the perfect gender-neutral gift.
A book like this is probably one of the best learning toys for toddlers since it helps them practice writing letters and since it can be wiped clean after each use.
The toddler years are the perfect age for kids to begin practicing their writing skills, and if you have a toddler who is ready to start preschool (or who has already started), then a book like this is important.
There are plenty of workbooks for kids out there, but the nice thing about this one is the fact that you can wipe away their practice after each session just like a whiteboard.
The book allows them to trace over the letter outlines and it also introduces them to words and letter sounds.
Another thing we love about this book is that you can use it for multiple kids: when one outgrows it, the next in line can have their turn!
Narrowing down the toy list wasn’t easy, but since it was impossible for us to include every single toy out there, we did a pretty good job of rounding up different toys for kids in this age range.
Toddlers’ interests, preference, and personalities are developing rapidly at this age, and will continue to change for the rest of their lives!
The toys we suggested are a mixture of what’s “in” right now, what’s useful regardless of the decade, what is helpful to most toddlers and what is different from similar lists that you may find floating around the internet.
We’re sure you’ll find something that you and the toddler you’re shopping for will like!