We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The Best Toddler Toys

🕚 Updated November 2022

For toddlers, playing with toys isn't just about fun; it's also about building motor skills and imagination. If your toddler is at the age where they can truly begin to appreciate toys, then check out our list for some great suggestions.

Scroll Table to Left
  Best Bubble Machine Best Drawing Mat Best for Outdoor Play Best for Playing House Best Puzzles Best for Bathtime
Bubble Lawn Mower for Toddlers
Aqua Magic Doodle Mat
Little Tikes
Easy Score Basketball Set
Melissa & Doug
Let's Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! 6 Piece Pretend Play Set
Melissa & Doug
Vehicles 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles
Floating Purple Octopus
Our SummaryCute and colorful, this battery-operated toy mower includes several bubble solutions and wands.This creative play mat encourages your little one to stretch their artistic muscles all while surrounded by colorful designs and the alphabet.This child-sized basketball hoop is a lightweight and safe option, so toddlers can build confidence shooting hoops.With everything they need to join in while cleaning up, this set helps them imitate adults and exercise their motor skills.This jigsaw puzzle set features four depictions of modern vehicles.Get ready for the tub! This fun and interactive toy stimulates a little one's developmental senses.
Pros✓ Great for role-play
✓ Comes with bubbles
✓ Realistic engine sounds
✓ Extra-large writing surface
✓ Comes with tons of accessories
✓ Use on wall, floor, or tabletop
✓ Trusted brand name
✓ Develops athletic skills
✓ Grows with your child
✓ Realistic
✓ Made of strong and durable wood
✓ Educational
✓ Perfect size for ages 3-6
✓ Simple yet engaging
✓ Four-in-one
✓ Giftable box
✓ Encourages interactive play
✓ Stimulating shapes and colors
✓ BPA- and chemical-free
✓ No holes for mold
Cons✗ Batteries not included
✗ May spill or leak
✗ Markers are not very durable
✗ Requires water which may cause slips and falls
✗ Dunking may loosen the rim✗ Lightweight stand may wobble✗ Pieces don't lock like a traditional puzzle
✗ Reference photos are small
✗ The octopus has six legs
Scroll Table to Right
Who is LifeSavvy?
LifeSavvy is an independent publication focused on a single goal: helping you make the best purchase possible. We don’t just recommend the best Dutch oven for your needs, we show you how to take care of it so it lasts a lifetime and we recommend delicious recipes to help you get the most out of owning it too! Read More »
How Did We Research?

25 Models Evaluated

8 Hours Researched

7 Reviews Analyzed

The Best Toddler Toys

Young children playing with educational toys.

Buying Guide for Toddler Toys

Set of different cute toys on wooden table in children's room
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Why buy toys for toddlers?

First, it’s okay to spoil them a bit. Besides, they’re only little once. But more importantly, toys help toddlers build connections; relationships between objects and themselves. Little ones all over the world enjoy toys that are bright, colorful, and have moving parts or whimsical designs. Whether they’re plush toys, learning toys as simple as blocks or as complicated as electronics, outdoor toys, or toys with their favorite characters that bring the joy of recognition, toys can excite and encourage hours of play.

What should you consider in toys for toddlers?

  • Play Style: The right toy for your toddler should speak to your child and fit their personality and interests. That’s a little harder when your child is little and may not have the verbal skills to tell you what they like. But if they naturally gravitate toward certain things like puzzles, blocks, or dolls, it doesn’t hurt to nurture those interests by adding more toys that fall under those categories.
  • The Right Balance: In addition to providing a surfeit of fun, it’s important that the toy you buy also be able to teach your toddler age-appropriate basics like letters and numbers, relationships between objects, caring for something (like a doll or animal toy), or fine motor skills. Toys are already predisposed to get children moving around; however, some of the most entertaining options are designed to not only gauge your child’s love of learning but strengthen their cognitive skills and motor skills as well.
  • Safe Guarding: It’s also imperative that your toddler’s next toy is safe and made from chemical-free materials that you can feel good about. Make sure your toy is crafted from non-toxic and safe plastics, silicone, wood, or other materials that are safety rated for daily play. Additionally, if you’re buying a battery-operated toy, make sure the overall construction aims to keep any wires or batteries firmly concealed inside the product.

Which toddler toys will last the longest?

Any toy made from durable materials should stand the test of time naturally. But when it comes to keeping your child’s interest for more than a few short months, look for toys that can grow with them. Dolls, action figures, puzzles, toys that mimic adult items, toy cars, and stuffed animals will usually grow with your child because of the multiple ways in which they can be enjoyed and also, in some cases, because of sentimental attachment.

Our Picks for the Best Toddler Toys

Best Bubble Machine

Lydaz Bubble Lawn Mower for Toddlers

Cute and colorful, this battery-operated toy mower includes several bubble solutions and wands.

Pros: Watch iridescent suds bloom from the front of this colorful miniature play push lawnmower, a playful replica of an adult item that makes for great backyard use and role-playing while parents tend to the yard. The complete contents of the toy include one push mower, three bubble solution bottles, and three bubble wands, and it’s easy to use for kids ages 18 months and up. Its three AA batteries drive the revolving bubble wands at the front of the mower while creating realistic engine sounds when in motion.

Cons: Batteries are not included. And since it’s lightweight, the bubble solution may spill or leak.

Bottom Line: This cute little toy push mower helps kids imitate adult behaviors, allowing them to “help” with yard work. It makes bubbles, so kids can enjoy hours of backyard fun during warm months.


Best Drawing Mat

Jasonwell Aqua Magic Doodle Mat

This creative play mat encourages your little one to stretch their artistic muscles all while surrounded by colorful designs and the alphabet.

Pros: This drawing and doodling mat is a great way for kids to stretch their creative muscles without also creating an epic mess. The mat is 40 x 32 inches with letters printed on the side, leaving more room for your kids’ doodle art. It’s recommended for ages 2 and up, so it can last through the years. The five included aqua pens are easy to fill with plain water, and the mat also comes with stencils, a storage box for the pens, a design booklet, and stamps. It has four suction cups, so you can hang them from a wall or window, or your child can use it on the floor or a tabletop. This mat also folds up tightly for easy storage when not in use.

Cons: The markers are not very durable and can wear out quickly. Also, this is a toy that requires water, so there could be the possibility of slips and falls.

Bottom Line: Bigger than the competition, this extra-large doodle mat has plenty of space for your little ones to draw and create. It comes with a drawing guide that walks your child through basic shapes, animals, and letters. And it doesn’t make a huge mess like markers or paint.


Best for Outdoor Play

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

This child-sized basketball hoop is a lightweight and safe option, so toddlers can build confidence shooting hoops.

Pros: If you have active little ones, this indoor/outdoor basketball hoop from a trusted brand name in children’s toys may be a great toy for them to hone their athletic skills. It has an adjustable height, so it will grow with your child for at least a few years. It’s recommended for children 18 months to 5 years old. And your little one can get more baskets with the extra-wide rim and junior-sized basketballs that are included with the hoop. The base can be weighted with sand or water for extra stability. And it holds up beautifully against rough weather and lots of use.

Cons: This hoop is not recommended for dunking, as those activities may loosen the rim.

Bottom Line: This adorable basketball hoop is a great toy to keep young children engaged and active. It encourages motor skills while also encouraging teamwork, taking turns, and fun. And it’s great for indoor or outdoor use.

Best for Playing House

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! 6 Piece Pretend Play Set

With everything they need to join in while cleaning up, this set helps them imitate adults and exercise their motor skills.

Pros: This complete set of educational cleaning toys includes a wooden play broom, mop, duster, brush, and organizing stand. The red dustpan conveniently clips into all handles for storage and convenience of use. It’s crafted to inspire hours of pretend play while parents commit themselves to the real chores. The mop, broom, duster, brush, and organizing stand feature durable wooden construction for a real, hefty feel in their hands. Kids will feel an earned sense of responsibility by playing house in their own simple way. Overall, this is a great educational toy for children ages 3-6.

Cons: The stand is lightweight and therefore may be a little wobbly.

Bottom Line: From the gold standard in realistic kids’ toys for over 30 years, this set really delivers a realistic feel for kids to play along with adults. The set is beautifully crafted to look and feel like the real thing. And kids can actually clean with this set as well, earning them brownie points, stickers, or other rewards for helping around the house.


Best Puzzles

Melissa & Doug Vehicles 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

This jigsaw puzzle set features four depictions of modern vehicles.

Pros: A simple but engaging set of four, these Melissa & Doug Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles feature vehicle-themed brainteasers: a race car, steam engine, school bus, and fire engine. This four-in-one comes in a sturdy wooden storage box that doesn’t just provide easy portability but also doubles as a board where kids can piece together each puzzle. You’ll buy it for the hand-eye coordination and problem-solving perks, but in the end, you’ll always enjoy its lively depictions of classic and modern transportation. It makes a fabulous gift for kids ages 3 to 6.

Cons: The pieces don’t lock together like a traditional puzzle. And there are only small pictures of the finished products for reference.

Bottom Line: With multiple puzzles in one set, this toy is a money-saver for parents, caregivers, and grandparents looking to entertain and stimulate the minds of young kids. The classic vehicles featured in the puzzles are recognizable and well-drawn. And kids can get a sense of accomplishment from putting them together on their own.


Best for Bathtime

Nuby Floating Purple Octopus

Get ready for the tub! This fun and interactive toy stimulates a little one's developmental senses.

Pros: This is a fantastic little toy for bathtime that can keep young ones 18 months and older entertained. It has three rings that encourage interactive play. And it helps them develop hand-eye coordination as well as recognize the relationships between objects. It’s vibrant and bright, with textures and shapes that engage the senses. The rubber toy has no holes to prevent mold and is also BPA- and chemical-free for added safety.

Cons: The octopus only has six arms instead of eight.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a great bath toy for a toddler, this may be the one for you. It features colorful rings that can be tossed over the tentacles for tons of bathtime fun. Just try not to let it bother you too much that it’s a six-legged octopus.

Final Thoughts

It’s not just that toddlers enjoy toys for recreation; it’s that they need toys to stimulate brain development. Toys such as puzzles, games, and blocks allow children to create and build relationships between objects while enhancing motor skills. Toys such as dress-up clothes, dolls, and real-life toys such as toy food, toy cleaning materials, toy cars, motorcycles, and lawnmowers help children realize adult experiences as kids and develop imagination and problem-solving skills.

Stacy Rounds Stacy Rounds
Stacy is a freelance writer. She has created a variety of web and print copy, from lifestyle and dating advice to small business reviews and short stories. She has a degree in business and marketing and has worked for several years as a social media manager. Through writing creative fiction, satire, and advertisements, she developed a passion for the written word. She enjoys cooking and painting in her free time. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?