We try to avoid getting our children too many toys, but there are just so many fun forms of entertainment out there! In this list I will share experience and activity ideas along with other toys for your toddler. The best gifts for toddlers can be the quality time you spend with them outdoors for free. Here are some of the things I know my toddler enjoys.
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- Children’s Museum: We got our toddler a membership to the Thinkery. It is perfect for children his age, and if you go multiple times it pays off. Most places will be less expensive to buy a membership for the long run. If you visit once and your toddler enjoys it this is a good investment.
- Go to a local park: It is good to get outdoors every day. You can walk on a trail, play on the playground, or people watch. The best part is that this gift is free! All you need to give is your time. You may even find a park with a splash pad to play in if it’s warm outside.
- Attend a music class: My toddler loves to dance and listen to music. He even sings along sometimes. We tried out a Music Together class, and he even got to play some instruments. Listening to music is great to teach your child rhythm, language, and more.
- Go to the library: When my toddler was younger it was easier to get him to sit through story time. We still enjoy going to pick and check out books to read at home. A lot of libraries even have a special area for children with games to play with. This is one of the best gifts for toddlers, because reading is beneficial in so many ways.
- Find free events in your area: Free fun in Austin has by far been my favorite local resource for years. Even when I wasn’t living in Austin I would always check for events that were happening when we came to visit. They consistently update every week with everything that is happening. Another great place to check for events in your area is on Facebook.
- Try out a local play place: Here in North Austin I take my toddler to Little Land every week. They have games, ball pits, climbing equipment, and more! This is a great place to take your child indoor to socialize and run some energy out in a safe environment. Another place that you may find where you live is Gymboree. They even offer classes that you can sign up for, memberships, and some may provide discounts if you purchase a bundle of play passes.
- Free forest school: One of my favorite books, There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather, is a must read for anyone who is around children. This is where I first heard about free forest school. The book changed my perspective on outdoor time. I’m so glad that we have a group local to us where I have met friends, and my toddler loves getting outside to explore on trails in all types of weather.
- Facebook moms groups:If you search in your city, you may be able to find other moms in your area to meet up with. I’ve also heard great things about MOPS. If you’re willing to pay the fees you could make some lasting relationships with other people who have children the same age as yours.
- Swim class: My toddler has always loved the water. He loves to splash and is obsessed with bath time. So, when we moved to Austin and found Emler swim school we had to sign him up. Maybe you can find something similar where you live.
- Aquarium: We haven’t taken our toddler to an aquarium yet. He has seen small aquariums in other places. I think he would really enjoy getting to see all the fish swimming in the water. Another one of the best gifts for toddlers that is an experience rather than a product.
- Zoo: When we went to a small zoo, our toddler was a little younger. He loves animals and making the sounds they make all the time lately. We are going to plan a trip to the San Diego Zoo sometime in 2019. This is one of the best gifts for toddlers, because who doesn’t love getting to see all the animals?
- Tool Set: My toddler loves to make noise. I intentionally didn’t separate the best gifts for toddlers in this list by gender. All children can enjoy playing with all of these toys. This is especially fun if your child has seen you using tools and wants to mimic what you do and help.
- Town Maze Magnetic Game: We have seen these at play places, the library, and doctor’s office. It is a fun way to keep your toddler entertained without making a huge mess. This also helps them with their visual perception skills and fine motor skills holding the pen to move the magnet around.
- Plan Toys Solid Wood Drum: As I mentioned above, my boy loves to make loud noises. A great way to engage him is by letting him make music. Your child can learn rhythm and much more.
- Hape Mini Band: Right now you can get this 30% off! I love this set, because it has a wide array of different instruments. Music is beneficial for your toddler’s early development in many ways.
- Hape Train: My toddler is very interested in all forms of transportation. He loves to watch cars and planes go by and make noises. Trains are so fun to play with and move around the track.
- Petit Wooden Animals: I had to add this to the best gifts for toddlers, because I don’t know if I’ve met a toddler who doesn’t love animals. For that matter, I think it’s safe to say most children enjoy animals. There is something interesting about observing the way they act. It can be hard to find animals that are wooden for pretend play.
- Guidecraft Rainbow Blocks: These have been in my amazon cart saved for later for a while now. These blocks would be great for a light table. You can also overlap them to see the changes in color.
- Uncle Goose Planet Blocks: Another one that has been on my wish list for a while. These blocks are awesome for stacking, and will grow with your child as they learn about planets.
- Hape Tambourine: If you don’t want to get the mini band set I mentioned above, but are still interested in exposing your child to an instrument this is a great option. It has a drum that you can bang, and cymbals to jingle.
- HABA Discovery Blocks: This is one of the best gifts for toddlers in my opinion, because they are so diverse. Each block has a different thing for your toddler to explore and discover. Isn’t that what toddlers are all about? I’m sure these would keep my toddler’s interest for a while.
- Hape Drum Set: If your toddler is into drums, and you want to get him/her a variety of different kinds to explore this is a cool addition.
- Hape Twist and Turnables: I saw someone post in a Facebook moms group I’m in about these when asking for gift ideas. This is such a cool idea! If your toddler is as interested as mine in playing with lids, this is a cool toy that lets them twist and turn knobs. I would say this definitely is one of the best gifts for toddlers.
- Hape Wooden Shopping Cart: This made the list of best gifts for toddlers, because at this age children love to role play what they see you do. I’m sure your child has probably went to the store with you at some point. My toddler always wants to help push the cart, and this toy lets him do just that.
- Hape Babydoll Stroller: This is great for pushing around dolls or stuffed animals. Your toddler may get creative and push other things around in it as well.
- Hape Rocking Horse: You can get this for half off right now. My toddler recently discovered rocking horses and loves them. He says neigh neigh and learned quickly how to get on by himself. It is fun for him to rock back and forth.
- Horse Toddler Swing Set: My toddler used to love swinging until he became more mobile. Then, he went through a phase where he didn’t want to swing anymore. Recently, his love for swinging has re-emerged. If you have a yard with a tree to hang this from it is convenient.
- Grimm’s Large 12 Piece Rainbow Stacker: I have had my eye on these for a while, but haven’t want to chunk out the cash. I think it would be so cool for him to play with huge stackers. They are so colorful, and can be played with for years to come.
- Grimm’s Large Four Elements Building Set: One reason I love this brand is that their toys are wooden and open ended. Their products are all sustainably sourced. All of the color stains they use are non-toxic and water based that have been tested for safety. I love that I don’t have to worry about the product harming my child when they play with it.
- Hape Gourmet Play Kitchen Starter Set: If you have a kitchen like the one I shared in my baby and toddler gift ideas blog this is a perfect addition. I just let my toddler use stuff from our kitchen, but it would be nice for him to have his own set to use.
- Hape Garden Vegetables and Hape Fresh Fruit: This would be another fun thing for your toddler to play with in the kitchen or with the shopping cart I mentioned above. This is one of the best gifts for toddlers since they love to pretend to do what you do.
- Boon Bath Pipes: My toddler loves baths, so I’m always looking for fun things for him to play with in the water. I was so excited when I found these. They stick on the bath wall, and your toddler can pour water through them.
- Boon Water Gears: Another cool bath toy I had to add to the best gifts for toddlers. My toddler loves gears, so I know he would enjoy playing with this.
- Strider Balance Bike: We are getting this for my toddler for Christmas. You can buy the bike and the base separately for a cheaper price. I love how it grows with your child first helping with balance and then they as they get older they can scoot along with it. Update: L is so good at balancing and loves riding his bike down the driveway and around the house.
- My Quiet Book: This is perfect for toddlers. This is another one of the best gifts for toddlers that I have been wanting for a while. It has ties, zippers, and fun pockets inside for your child to practice his/her motor skills.
- Honeysticks Crayons: My toddler has recently discovered how to color. I would love to get these for him, so he can engage his creative side. This is one of the best gifts for toddlers.
- Green Toys Wagon: Toddlers love to push and pull objects around and learn how things move. This wagon is a wonderful way for your child to enjoy this.
- Gymboree Bubbles: This is the best bubble blower I’ve ever seen. It is worth the price, although we still haven’t gotten it. You just dip and blow and the bubbles spray out. It is simple and mess free making it one of the best gifts for toddlers.
- Green Toys Blocks: We don’t have any blocks that are like legos. This is a great alternative that is made in the U.S.A. I love that all of this brand is made of 100% recycled milk jugs. L enjoys building with these.
- Dyson Toy Vacuum: One of the best gifts for toddlers, where they can help you clean. This vacuum is a toy that actually has suction. So, while they help out around the house they are actually doing work. L loves helping clean around the house.
Whether you choose to go with an experience gift to save yourself the stress of shopping and finding presents or to shop on amazon and have something delivered straight to your door I hope this list was useful to you in some way. If you know someone who would enjoy this list share it with them! Let me know below if you get any of these and if your toddler loves them.