As an occupational therapist, and mom, every holiday or birthday my friends and family ask me what developmental toys I recommend for young children. Specifically, they want to know what toys will foster their kiddos development of skills such as: fine motor, visual motor, visual perception, sensory, and overall development of play. With the holiday season upon us, I thought I would put together a list of some of my favorite toys that I recommend for infants through age 5. Following is a list of toys for your toddler. As with the infant list, I started with just 10, but couldn’t help myself, so I included nearly more. Enjoy and happy holidays!
Toddlers, ages 1-2
Toddlers are SO FUN to buy for (or create for) because you start to see what they are interested in as they become their own little people! Toddler toys are still brightly colored, they should be durable, and easy to put together/take apart. Some toys are structured (think clear beginning and end, such as a simple inset puzzle), and some are more fun because they provide some sensory input (such as water toys) or are engaging through interesting visual, auditory, or fine motor input (think pushing the buttons on a toy phone or remote that beeps). Note that some of your infant toys can continue to be used during the toddler years. In fact, my kids LOVE when I rotate in their baby toys! I also recommend considering a “little table” (as we call it), which is just a kid sized table, so that the kids have a tabletop to stand and play at, or a chair to sit in where their feet touch the floor while at the table.
Many of these listed recommendations are toys or items my children have played with, I have purchased as gifts, or I have used in my occupational therapy practice. Links are posted below for shopping convenience, but they are in no way meant to be an exhaustive list of recommended toddler toys–if you prefer another brand or store, that’s great! This list is meant to assist you in making choices for toys or items for the toddler in your life.
*Please note that the following recommendations include affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, I will earn a commission (which will help with costs of running the site) if you click through and make a purchase*
Melissa and Doug Slice and Bake Wooden Cookie set
Dump Truck (trust me here, get one for the girls in your life too)
Melissa and Doug Wooden Inset Puzzles
Battat Toy Drumroll Instrument set
Baby Doll (great for kids with baby siblings on the way)