38 Best Toddler Gifts & Toys They’ll Actually Love and Use! (2021)

While there are a ton of amazing toddler toys, the trick is choosing a gift they’ll actually play with — and play with more than once.

Ever gifted a toddler something that you thought was adorable, then the little one only played with the box? We’ve all been there.

As a mom of three, you better believe I’ve been through that exact scenario. Or, my kids loved a toy for exactly 24 hours, and then it was forgotten about and added to the pile of things to keep organized!

Here I’m sharing 38 toddler gifts and ideas to help avoid those situations. Many of these products are things my kids (ages 2, 3 and 4) actually play with, and a few others are things I’m planning on getting them. Hope this helps the never-ending “what should I get them?” dilemma!

There are two ways to use this guide. One is to simply shop using the links below. Like an idea you see? Click the link to learn more and purchase.

Want a few more details? Keep scrolling. Either way I hope this gift guide helps make gift buying a breeze for you and that the little ones on your list love what they receive.

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38 Toddler Gifts They’ll Actually Love and Use

38 gift ideas for toddlers

Paisley + Sparrow is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This post may include affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you shop using the links below at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting me and this blog!

1. Shopping Cart, Pottery Barn Kids // 2. Manhattan Toy Playdate Friends Dolls // 3. Primary Lacing Beads, Melissa & Doug // 4. Doll Stroller // 5. My Pal Scout/Violet, LeapFrog // 6. What’s Up Face Play Set // 7. Magna-Tiles // 8. Wooden Dish Set // 9. First Builders Big Building Bag, Mega // 10. Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set // 11. Wobbel Balance Board, Rose & Rex // 12. Skip Hop 3-in-1 Ride-On Toy // 13. My First Learning Tablet, Leapfrog // 14. 100 Animals Toddler Coloring Book // 15. Water Bottle, Simple Modern // 16. Squigz // 17. Play-Doh, Play-Doh // 18. Barnyard Friends Bath Toys // 19. Play Makeup, Amazon // 20. Double Doodle Board // 21. cuddle+kind // 22. Quiet Book // 23. Block Kit, Lovevery // 24. Gonge Balancing Riverstones // 25. Pattern Blocks and Boards, Melissa Doug // 26. Bilibo // 27. Puffy Stickers // 28. Color Wonder // 29. Car Carrier Vehicle // 30. Binoculars Toy, Amazon // 31. Tulle Tutu Skirt // 32. Number Train Set, Lego // 33. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site // 34. Shakers // 35. No Spill Bubbles, Fubbles // 36. Wicker Doll Bassinet, Anthropologie // 37. Toolbox, Vtech // 38. Toy Keys, B. Toys

1. Shopping Cart

This is one of the cutest shopping carts out there! Encourage pretend play and improve balance with this wooden shopper. 

Wood and cotton shopping cart

Shopping Cart

  • Solid wood
  • Cotton basket, rubber on wheels
  • Ages 2+ 
  • Can be paired with play food, sold separately

2. Manhattan Toy Playdate Friends Dolls

These sweet, soft dolls will be your toddler’s best buddy. And you’ll love them because they’re machine washable! There are both boy and girl dolls and different skin color options.

Manhattan Toy Playdate Friends doll and bunny

Manhattan Toy Playdate Friends Dolls

  • 14-inch doll
  • Comes with small stuffed animal
  • Machine washable and dryer safe
  • Soft-bodied and fully embroidered

3. Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads

Lacing beads are so great for lots of different uses, and this Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads set is my favorite. Older kids are able to practice their fine motor skills in a fun way by stringing the beads to create patterns.

If younger kids aren’t able to string beads yet, you can have them practice grouping like colors or playing with the beads in different ways.

Primary Lacing Beads

Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads

  • 30 brightly colored wooden beads in a variety of shapes, two colorful laces and a wooden storage case
  • Helps children develop strong fine motor, cognitive, and visual perception skills, while promoting hand-eye coordination

4. Doll Stroller

I can’t explain to you why toddlers and preschoolers love to push around strollers and grocery carts, but they really really do! Boys and girls alike will put dolls and stuffed animals in this stroller and take them for many rides around the house (or outside if you let them!).

Pink doll stroller with heart pattern

Doll Stroller

  • Sun shade, buckle and basket on bottom
  • Double wheels on all four legs
  • Fits 18″ dolls
  • Foldable for storage

5. My Pal Scout/Violet

This is a toy that has been around for years! My sister gave us one of these My Pal Scout/Violet when my oldest was a baby. It was one that all three of her kids used when they were younger. Then our kids’ grandpa sent our daughter one for her birthday last year.

They all love singing and dancing along with their puppy pal!

My Pal Scout

My Pal Scout/Violet

  • Teach Scout your child’s name and favorite things for personalized learning across more than 15 activities
  • 40+ learning songs, melodies and lullabies
  • Introduces first words, feelings and emotions, colors and counting

6. What’s Up Face Play Set

Help your toddler practice recognizing other people’s feelings with this wooden face play set. They’ll like playing games where they guess the emotion, mimicking the face on the board, or just making silly faces.

Face play set with wooden face pieces

What’s Up Face Play Set

  • Wood
  • 8.74″ x 9.17″ x 0.43″
  • 28 magnetic pieces
  • 2 hair buns

7. Magna-Tiles

Both my older kids love these Magna-Tiles! Older kids are able to make towers and castles, while younger ones will love to connect different pieces together.

Magna-Tiles are also a great toy option for traveling! Throw them in your carry-on for flights or put them in your car for car rides. (Traveling soon? Here are my 25 tips for traveling with a toddler!)

Magna Tiles

Magna-Tiles

  • Each piece of tile is designed to look like stained glass
  • Build 2D or 3D structures
  • Great for all ages

8. Wooden Dish Set

I wish they made these for MY kitchen! These gorgeous wooden play dishes and pots will see a lot of play time. Just start practicing making yummy noises now, because you’ll be eating a lot of pretend meals!

Set of wooden dishes and utensils

Wooden Dish Set

  • Linden wood, not recommended for water play
  • Painted with certified non-toxic, water-based paint
  • Handmade
  • Includes pan, frying pan, 2 bowls, 2 cups, 2 spoons, 2 forks, knife, salt and pepper shaker, rolling pin, 3 eggs

9. First Builders Big Building Bag

You can never go wrong with a giant bag of blocks! We have these First Builders Big Building Bag, and both our kids love them. (And I love that they come with built-in storage.)

This is a great gift for girls and boys of all ages.

First Builders Big Building Bag of Mega Bloks

First Builders Big Building Bag

  • 80 classic-colored building blocks, including special shapes
  • Hands-on play for early childhood development
  • Storage bag for easy clean up

10. Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set

I think this is a must-have toy set in every house! It helps kids build confidence in helping around the house early, meaning you have more help now AND in the future. And toddlers feel like big kids, which is always a win!

Melissa and Doug cleaning set with mop, broom, duster, brush and dustpan

Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set

  • Broom, mop, duster, brush and dustpan
  • Stand holds all pieces
  • Wood

11. Wobbel Balance Board

This Wobbel board is on my kids’ wish lists! A Wobbel can truly be used as so many things: a balance board, a house, a bridge and more.

Wooden Wobbel balance board

Wobbel Balance Board

  • A sturdy, beautifully crafted beechwood rocking balance board
  • Can be used as a seat, a bridge, a house, a step, a slide, a yoga aid, a fort, or a dinosaur!
  • Encourages active imaginative play
  • Builds strength and balance as well as creativity

12. Skip Hop 3-in-1 Ride-On Toy

This toy goes from a wagon your new walker can push, to a sit-and-ride toy, to a scooter! It’s nice to give a toy they won’t outgrow for a while.

Skip Hop Unicorn convertible ride-on toy and scooter

Skip Hop 3-in-1 Ride-On Toy

  • Max weight: 44 lbs
  • 3 AAA batteries, not included
  • 22.75″ L x 13.5″ W x 20.5″ H
  • Stainless steel and plastic

13. LeapFrog My First Learning Tablet

Learn your letters and have fun? Oh yes, it’s possible – especially with this LeapFrog My First Learning Tablet. I bring them along for longer car rides and they are magic!

LeapFrog learning tablet

LeapFrog My First Learning Tablet

  • 25 pretend-play apps
  • Light-up touch screen
  • Three play modes
  • 20+ songs and melodies

14. 100 Animals Toddler Coloring Book

You know what’s exciting for toddlers, inexpensive for you, and doesn’t clutter up the house? Coloring books! 

This fresh coloring book is filled with big pictures of animals — and when it’s all colored up, you can just throw it away!

Animals coloring book

100 Animals Toddler Coloring Book

  • 204 pages
  • 8.5″ x 11″
  • One-sided so you don’t get bleed-through from markers
  • Animal names on each page

15. Water Bottle

Practical and fun – that’s the goal of kids’ gifts, right? Get your kids to drink more water and stop having to share your water bottle with this Simple Modern Water Bottle!

My kids love their water bottles and are constantly asking for them. They’re also perfect for on-the-go since they don’t leak or spill.

Water bottles in different patterns

Water Bottle

  • Made from stainless steel and a durable finish
  • Double walled and insulated
  • Includes a BPA-free straw lid that has a spout that folds down
  • Lightweight, durable and holds 10, 14, or 18 oz of fluid
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Simple Modern donates over 10% of profits

16. Squigz

This is a simple but super fun toy for toddlers all the way to adults. The suction cups stick to each other or to most surfaces, so you can build, move them around, and enjoy the pop when you pull them apart.

Squigz silicone sucker toys

Squigz

  • Silicone
  • 24 pieces
  • 8 shapes
  • Leaves no residue on surfaces

17. Play-Doh

While we all love Play-Doh, we all hate when the colors get mixed together to blend into one glob of brown.

Every kid needs a fresh set of Play-Doh once in a while, which makes this a perfect toddler gift. Toss the old stuff and crack open a new set!

Play-Doh

Play-Doh

  • 10 pack of Play-Doh
  • Easy open, recyclable package
  • Ships in simple recyclable packaging that’s easy to open and frustration free

18. Barnyard Friends Bath Toys

Make bath time more fun with some new animal friends! These barnyard friends float and squirt.

Set of farm animals bath toys

Barnyard Friends Bath Toys

  • 8 animals
  • Ages 9 months+
  • Fun way to teach animal names and sounds
  • Improve fine motor skills

19. Play Makeup

Have a little one who loves to copy Mom? Maybe it’s carrying a purse, talking on the phone or putting on lipstick. This pretend makeup set is perfect for that!

Pretend makeup set

Play Makeup

  • Made out of eco-friendly EVA foam
  • Comes with bag and set of makeup
  • Pretend lipstick, brush, eyeshadow, nail polish, mirror and more!

20. Double Doodle Board

This mess-free drawing board is a great toy to take in the car. One side has a sealed gel surface for drawing with your finger and the other has a reusable drawing surface for washable crayons.

Doodle board for crayons and finger drawing

Double Doodle Board

  • 11″ x 10″
  • 3 washable triangular crayons
  • Ages 24 months+
  • Wipe clean with cloth

21. cuddle+kind

Do good with your toddler gift! These adorable cuddle+kind dolls give 10 meals to kids in need with each purchase. We have a few of these dolls and our kids adore them!

Cuddle and Kind

Cuddle and Kind

  • Empowers talented women artisans with equitable, fair trade employment
  • For every ethically produced, hand-knit doll purchased, 10 meals are provided to children in need
  • Lovingly handcrafted in Peru using premium 100% cotton yarn

You can find even more gifts that give back here!

22. Quiet Book

Known as a busy book or quiet book, these soft fabric books are really good at keeping kids occupied. They can practice counting, lacing, zipping, shapes, and more!

Quiet cloth book

Quiet Book

  • 10 interactive pages
  • Full closure zipper
  • 10.5″ x 3.2″ x 7.9″
  • Felt

23. Lovevery Block Kit

There are regular block sets, and then there is the ultimate block set. This Lovevery block kit was sent to us this summer and it is one toy that keeps getting pulled out week after week. All three of my kids love it for different reasons, and there’s enough blocks to go around!

Lovevery block kit

Lovevery Block Kit

  • 70 heirloom quality pieces that work with each other in more than 20 stage-based activities
  • Years of learning through play, crafted by child development experts
  • Comes with storage box and bag

24. Gonge Balancing Riverstones

These stones, based on the shape of stones in a river, can be played with inside or outside, and arranged in an infinite number of ways. Toddlers can work on balance, coordination and confidence.

Kids playing on balancing river stones

Gonge Balancing Riverstones

  • 6 stones
  • Stack inside each other for storage
  • Rubber studs on base to prevent slippage
  • Max weight: 110 lbs

25. Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards

I have a rule: when something is in my kids’ preschool classrooms, I know it’s legit. I saw my oldest son play with these pattern blocks and boards last year at preschool so I picked up a set for him at home. Success!

Wooden pattern blocks and boards

Pattern Blocks and Boards

  • A set of 120 wooden blocks in various shapes and colors
  • Encourages kids to enjoy a classic math manipulative and learning activity
  • Great for spatial awareness, color recognition, hand eye coordination and problem solving
  • Double sided boards to provide kids with even more creative play options

Find more toddler puzzles here!

26. Bilibo

If someone asks me what a Bilibo is, I don’t exactly know how to describe it. But I promise it is great!

This strange plastic dome is whatever your toddler wants it to be: a spinning seat, a mountain or swimming pool for toys, a stone in the middle of lava, a slide, an alien helmet. It gets a ton of imaginative play time!

Green Bilibo

Bilibo

  • Designed in Switzerland with child development experts
  • Nontoxic, shatterproof polyethylene
  • Ages 2+
  • 16″ L x 16″ W x 9″ H

27. Puffy Stickers

There’s something about stickers that kids just love. When my oldest was 2, he once spent an entire three-hour flight filling a notebook with stickers. (It was the best flight of my mom life!)

These Puffy Stickers are great for toddlers of all ages because they’re super easy to get off the sheet and onto paper. Pair these with a simple notebook and you’ll be shocked at how much quiet time it’ll buy you.

Puffy Stickers

Puffy Stickers

  • Each pack has 20 sheets, total more than 500 pieces stickers
  • Easy to peel from sheet and free to remove from smooth surfaces

28. Color Wonder

Our older two kids are pretty obsessed with Color Wonder! And I love them because they won’t ruin my floors, furniture or walls with them.

They are constantly pulling them out to color, so we pick up a new book of Color Wonder paper for most holidays and birthdays.

Color wonder makes perfect toddler gifts

Color Wonder

  • Features 18 Paw Patrol coloring pages and five Color Wonder markers
  • Colors appear only on special Color Wonder paper, not on skin, clothing, or carpets
  • Safe and nontoxic

29. Car Carrier Vehicle

What toddler doesn’t loves cars and trucks? This Car Carrier Vehicle is a perfect toddler gift, especially if you have multiple toddlers in your home or host play dates. Since it comes with multiple cars, everyone can play with it together!

Car Carrier Vehicle

Car Carrier Vehicle

  • Made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic
  • Great for indoor or outdoor play with no metal axles or external coatings
  • Encourages motor skill development and open, imaginative play

30. Kids Binoculars

Have a little one who loves to look for birds? Always pretending to be searching for something? These binoculars would be a fun addition to any pretend play!

Kids binoculars

Kids Binoculars

  • Small enough for kids
  • Ideal for outdoor activities
  • Multiple color options

31. Tulle Tutu Skirt

I’m pretty picky about my tutus for Penelope. I don’t like them to sag too low, not be full enough or fall off of her. This one is perfect! It has 10 layers of tulle, is super full and, best yet, adorable!

The best toddler tutu on Amazon!

Tulle Tutu Skirt

  • 10 layers of tulle
  • Fits babies through 3T
  • Comes in a variety of colors

32. Lego Number Train Set

I don’t think you can go wrong with any Lego set for toddlers, but we have this exact Lego Number Train Set and we love it!

It’s great for younger kids to just play with and learn how to connect different pieces together, but also for older toddlers to begin to line up the cars in the correct order. Fun and educational – the dream, right?

Lego Number Train Set

Lego Number Train Set

  • Includes two child LEGO® DUPLO® figures, plus a cat figure
  • Features a buildable locomotive and three wagons
  • Includes bricks decorated with numbers 0 to 9

33. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

As a parent it’s equally important to find books that you love as much as your kids do, especially if it becomes their favorite and they want you to read it over. And over and over and over…

This Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site book is one book that’s family friendly and parent approved – a fun read for everyone!

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site book

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

  • #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book
  • Vibrant illustrations and gentle rhyming text

34. Shakers

Shakers are a super fun way for kids to play along with music! These wooden shakers are easy for kids of all ages to hold and have a gentler sound than the plastic ones.

Egg shaker

Shakers

  • Measure 1. 5″ wide and 2. 25″ tall
  • Durable hardwood
  • Set of two

35. No Spill Bubbles

My sister introduced me to this No Spill Bubbles and it’s amazing! It’s a great way for kids to start to learn how to blow bubbles on their own without you having to worry about them dumping over the carton constantly.

No Spill Bubbles

No Spill Bubbles

  • Patented No-Spill design allows for all the bubble fun without any of the mess
  • Made in the USA
  • Includes three wands for multiple children to play at once and an easy to grasp handle perfectly sized for little kids’ hands
  • Non-toxic and safety tested

36. Wicker Doll Bassinet

Does your little one love playing with dolls or stuffed animals? Constantly finding them tucked into beds or blankets? This adorable wicker bassinet will be well loved as they pretend to take care of their “baby.” This type of play also helps little ones develop empathy as they learn to tend to others’ needs.

Pink wicker doll bassinet

Wicker Doll Bassinet

  • Handcrafted out of rattan, an environmentally responsible, fast growing and easily renewable material
  • An heirloom piece
  • Encourages kids to explore concepts they’re naturally curious about during playtime, like family, community and roles
  • 20.5″H, 22″L, 15.75″W

37. Vtech Toolbox

There are few things more exciting than when Dad pulls out his toolbox to do a project! With this fun kid’s Vtech Toolbox, our kids can do their own “projects” while helping us with ours.

VTech Toolbox

Vtech Toolbox

  • Includes an electronic fix-it tray, drill, hammer, wrench, nails and screws
  • Working toy drill
  • Light-up buttons introduce tools and their functions
  • Double-sided project cards encourage role-play
  • Nine electronic tray holes trigger sounds and phrases

38. Toy Keys

I may never understand why kids think keys are so fun to play with, but they definitely do. Chances are they won’t think keys are so fun when they’re adults and constantly losing theirs…

Until then, these Toy Keys are a hit!

Toy Keys

Toy Keys

  • Four fun car sounds
  • Working flashlight
  • BPA and phthalates free
  • Recyclable packaging

You can find even more toys and gifts for toddlers over on this post or 15 toys for 3 year old boys here. Both are full of fun ideas for outside (if you live in a place that isn’t the tundra, like I do!) and so much more.

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Enjoy!

I hope this toddler gift guide helps you the next time you’re shopping for a little one in your life!

As always, thanks for reading!

Jen

About Jen

Jen is a mom of 3 who loves frozen cookie dough, plants and a generous pour of creamer in her coffee. Her biggest joy is helping others find joy in their life, style and home through tips, tutorials and encouragement. She also runs 2 additional blogs. Feel free to send Jen a message or join the fun on Instagram!

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