Best Developmental Toys: The Toddler Edition
We hope you enjoyed our last post in the series offering the Best Developmental Toys for Infants. For toddlers we focus on active play. We seek to engage the child physically and mentally to promote development of gross motor, fine motor, language, problem solving and critical thinking. The Best Toddler Toys and activities and will provide a multi-sensory experience to challenge the child and expand upon their development. Creative play with emphasis on imagination and story telling is also so helpful during the toddler years.
Our Top Picks for Toddler Toys:
The Little Tikes Trampoline offers the opportunity for little ones to stay active indoors or out. The stability bar encourages children to gain control and stability as they practice jumping. Jumping is an excellent means of sensory input, helping to regulate children, and provide much needed proprioceptive input to their joints. For those reasons and more, the mini-trampoline is one of the best toddler toys! For more information about Sensory Integration Treatment Ideas, read our post here!
This Play Tent and Tunnel also doubles as a fun ball pit! The kit even includes 100 colorful balls! Extremely easy to set up and once broken down this kit is extremely compact. Each component can be used on its own, offering unique opportunities for children to explore and engage their mind and body!
This Soft Foam Big Blocks set of bright, soft blocks encourages endless opportunities for creative play! Allowing children opportunities to stimulate imagination, encourage interactive play time, and promote gross motor skill development. Also great for sitting, tall kneeling, and supported standing. This set of blocks is indeed one of the best toddler toys! For more Toys to Encourage Independent Standing Visit our post here!
The Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike converts from a stroller, steering trike, learning-to-ride trike and finally a classic tricycle. Offers removable wrap around tray, 3-point safety harness, adult steer and stroll bar, and adjustable seat. Riding toys offer opportunities to address strength, balance, coordination, and foster independence. This is a great toy that can grow and adapt with your child!
One of my son’s favorite toys is his play kitchen. He can cook alongside me with his own pots and pans, bringing me food and sharing a cup of “tea” with his dad! The play kitchen definitely ranks high as one of the best toddler toys! I also love the look of the KidKraft Vintage Kitchen which is offered in some great and really fun color options.
The Little Tikes Shopping Cart is a wonderful tool to encourage walking and navigating the child’s environment while participating in active learning and play. This cart can also be weighed down to provide more resistance, promoting strengthening and adding sensory input. As the child transports supplies, a fold down seat allows a favorite stuffed animal to come along for the ride too!
The Learning Resources Fruit and Vegetable Color Sorting Set is a great toy to practice color sorting and identification of healthy fruits and vegetables. Promoting language development and engaging the child in a variety of creative play scenarios. You can also use the fruits and vegetables in conjunction with your play kitchen!
The Toysmith Pro Ball Set comes complete with three soft sports balls made for smaller hands to enjoy their favorite games. Great to practice hand eye coordination, object manipulation, and bilateral manipulation.
This Set of Puzzles from Melissa & Doug provides a colorful and intuitive way to help teach toddlers about colors, numbers, and the alphabet, while also developing hand-eye coordination, fine motor, and visual perception skills.
The Mega Bloks Set includes 80 big colorful building blocks! It is the perfect toy to stimulate children’s imagination and learning skills while encouraging discovery, fine motor skills and open-ended play. The blocks are also the perfect size for small hands, making this set one of the best toddler toys!
A Standing Easel like this one from Step2 is perfect for your toddler to assist in development of fine motor and visual motor skills. They can practice drawing, scribbling, and tracing for hours. Using a vertical surface, like this easel, is great for developing the muscles in the shoulders, arms, and fingers. It also has a clip to attach paper for your aspiring artist.
Playing with Dress Up Clothes is lots of fun for toddlers, and there are so many great options out there, like this Melissa and Doug Role Play Bundle complete with construction worker, fire chief and train engineer and these adorable Melissa and Doug Tutus for dancing the day away in style! Both boys and girls benefit from playing dress up, as it encourages pretend play, creativity, and important self-help skills like getting dressed on their own!
Magnetic Letters are a must for every toddler! These are great to play with on the fridge, an easel, or even a cookie sheet! Children can learn how to identify the letters in their name, favorite words, capital vs. lowercase, and more. You can help your toddler sort them into colors, too. The possibilities are endless!
These are helpful toys to address the important skills of bilateral coordination, which is the ability to use two hands together. Toys like Melissa & Dougs’s Lacing Cards and Lacing Beads are great for simple and fun two handed play. As this is the time children are beginning to develop hand dominance, lacing activities are a great way to facilitate that!
This Peg Button Toy board and picture cards are a wonderful toy for toddlers! Addressing visual perceptual skills as well as fine motor skills. Lots of fun picture options to change the activity while working on color recognition, hand eye coordination and creative thinking.
Toys that promote pre-writing skills are perfect for getting toddlers interested in learning how to draw and write. Aquadoodle and Magna Doodle are both wonderful for working on developing grasp, pre-writing, and visual motor integration skills.
We love the Play-Doh Fun Factory Set! Play-doh is great for toddlers to build strength in their arms and hands. The Fun Factory press is so exciting – every child loves it! As your toddler presses down on the lever, they are working on shoulder stability and bilateral coordination. The Deluxe set comes with lots of fun shapes and tools to get those little hands working.
Thank you again to Jaime Spencer for her contributions to this post! Learn more about Jamie at her website www.missjaimeot.com. It is wonderful to have such a skilled and passionate Pediatric Occupational Therapist to share ideas with!
Check out our next post in the series Best Developmental Toys: The Preschool Edition
Learn more about Dinosaur Physical Therapy!