Every parent knows that keeping a toddler entertained for more than three seconds can be a challenge. They’re growing, learning and changing fast — and maybe causing a little mischief while they’re at it.
But with the right toys, you can (hopefully) keep them occupied and keep those terrible twos and threes not as terrible for you. Here are 37 amazing options that will not only keep your toddler entertained but also learning.
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A Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog
This helps kids build motor, counting and sorting skills by fitting peg-shaped pieces into its back. Just don’t ask him if he knows Sonic.
Promising Review: “Love this product. It says 18+ months but it was fun for both of my kids (11 months and 3). It’s meant to help with fine motor skills. The spikes are rubber with different colors and you can put them in and take them out of the holes in the hedgehog. The best part is that when they’re done playing the hedgehog opens and you can store all the spikes in there so they don’t get lost.” — Tony Wexler Get it from Amazon for $9.59.
A set of Magna-Tiles
Your little one can recreate the works of children’s author Eric Carle while building 3D versions of characters from beloved books like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Promising review: “If you’re a parent, chances are there is an Eric Carle book in your child’s library, be it The Grouchy Ladybug or The Very Busy Spider or a personal favorite of mine, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?I introduced the Papa Please Get the Moon For Me set to my 1-year-old and he’s totally into it. Well, he’s totally into destroying whatever I build with it. As an added bonus, the Magna-Tiles kind of feel and sound like cassettes, which will immediately take you back to the days of your youth making mixtapes.” — John Mihaly
Get it from Target for $34.99.
A five-stage folding tricycle Doona Liki Trike S3
This tricycle for 10- to 36-month-olds is small enough to fit in a trunk or airplane overhead bin, but is also a total lifesaver for entertaining a toddler around the house.
Promising review: “After some considerable research, I set my sights on the ‘smallest folding trike on the market.’ This three-wheeler will grow with your toddler, from a parent-push-operated vehicle to an independent, pedal tricycle. In that regard, it’s a solid two-year investment. While the Liki is ideal for travel, thanks to the easy and compact way it folds up, it’s also handy for apartment living where storage space is at a premium. The not-too-soft, not-too-hard wheels are perfectly fine on hardwood floors and carpeted hallways. Also, the cup holder and storage bag (that attaches to the adjustable parent handle) are so clutch. Super thoughtful design all around and a super happy little tike riding his trike all around the building.” — John Mihaly
Get it from Amazon for $237.49+ (available in three colors).
An Educational Insights “Design & Drill Bolt Buddies” rocket
There’s no better way to get kids into STEM than by building a spaceship for an astronaut and his puppy pal — and using the eco-friendly packaging as a play set.
Promising review: “My 3-year-old son had an old toy drill that recently stopped working and he asked me for a new one. This little set caught my eye, so I bought it and he loves it! I love that they put a little window on the side of the drill to show the gears inside spinning. Nice touch to show curious minds how these things work internally. Fits little hands perfectly and he’s been assembling and disassembling this rocket at least a couple of times a day since we got it! The little astronaut characters are cute and can lock into spots inside the rocket (like LEGO pieces). Another nice touch is that the box that the set comes in doubles as a space backdrop to play with or display on a bookshelf or table.” — CK Get it from Amazon for $24.99.
A three-piece space astronaut play tent
Not only is this indoor/outdoor tent easy to assemble, it includes a castle tent, crawl tunnel and square tent so kids can reenact your favorite scenes from “2001: A Space Odyssey” — or, you know, use their own imagination for playtime. Totally their call.
Promising review: “My 2-year-old loves this tunnel and play tent set. It appears well-made, the tunnel is flexible and easy to adjust to different spaces (ha). Sadly, no plastic balls are included in this product (despite the images, which appear to be merely a suggestion), but for a child as young as mine perhaps this is for the best. My daughter loves pointing at the planets and other celestial objects and identifying them. So it’s an educational toy, too.” — MamaMaiasaura Get it from Amazon for $36.99.
A “Silly Poopy’s Hide & Seek” game
This game, from the makers of What Do You Meme?, actually involves hiding a fake plastic poo that talks and gives clues to its whereabouts.
Promising review: “You know when your brain tells you, ‘This might be a bad idea!’ but your gut tells you ‘Nah, this is going to be hilarious! Maybe.’ Luckily, my gut was right this time. Silly Poopy is beyond silly and not poopy at all. It is indeed a poop-ton fun for the whole family thanks to its infectious song that sounds like it was taken straight from a 1970s game show. Best of all, my kid loves it and hopefully, this is the only poop he tries to hide around the house.” — John Mihaly
Get it from Walmart for $12.98.
A Learning Resources “Learn-A-Lot Avocados” game
One’s love of guacamole’s main ingredient can start at an early age. Plus, this toy really helps with color identification and matching skills.
Get it from Target for $16.99.
A LeapFrog Yum-2-3 Toaster
This talking and singing appliance will help your kid learn all about numbers, colors and the most important meal of the day! (Note: This requires two AAA batteries.)
Promising review: “This is the greatest thing ever! YUM toaster for life!” — Sophia
Get it from Amazon for $23.89.
A 12-pack of all-natural pure beeswax crayons
These durable and sustainable crayons are nearly unbreakable and even come with a money-back guarantee. You better bee-lieve it!
Promising review: “So I bought these worried about my 2-year-old potentially eating a crayon and having that toxic kind of stuff in her system. But, I really should have been more worried about my dogs eating crayons which so far they’ve snagged one and a half of these babies with no health problems for them after, so I’d say that’s a major win. What’s also fantastic about these crayons is that they are the perfect size for little hands. My daughter just loves to color with them and they color as smooth as Crayola and they’re not all plastic and waxy like the crayons you get at the dollar store. So I’d definitely recommend these to anyone with a toddler, just watch for sneaky dogs. They’ll gobble them up.” — Cassandra S. Get it from Amazon for $22.95.
A VTech electronic drum set
Trust that this is not as noisy as it looks. Your kid can freestyle with this (like Animal from the Muppets) or they can follow the lights as they learn about letters and numbers.
Promising review: “There are times when you know your kid is going to love something so much that you overlook just how very ridiculously annoying that thing can be? Well, I’m sure glad I took a gamble! This toy is not really as annoying as I thought it would be. I haven’t needed to hide it away or remove the batteries. In fact, I’ve recommended it in my mommy group to moms with other toddlers my kid’s age. My son has yet to figure out how to change the volume but even in the loudest setting, it isn’t super loud. Just loud enough. I can’t hear it when he plays with it and I’m in the next room.” — Captainmaddux Get it from Amazon for $17.99 (available in two colors).
A Playmobil Noah’s Ark
Toddlers tend to lose a thing or two, and this play set comes with pairs of figures (doubles!) that can be played with on land and sea (but preferably not thrown into the air).
Promising review: “This toy far exceeded our expectation in the fact it has turned into a fantastic bath toy! At first, our 2-year-old would play with the animals on the floor but we quickly learned she had more fun with it in the tub. It is a great versatile toy for that reason. It is also nice in the fact it doesn’t make any noises so she is encouraged to make her own noises for the animals, people, and when the boat moves. This really helps fosters her creativity and imagination.” — Mhardee Get it from Amazon for $41.25.
A three-wheeled micro scooter
With an adjustable handlebar to grow with your toddler, this toy will be there as they improve their balance and motor skills. Also, it includes a two-year warranty.
Promising review: “Best scooter ever! It’s an easy assembly. It’s a smooth ride and the perfect size for a 2-year-old. Spend more money and go with the deluxe model especially if your child is only 2. I brought this to the park today and two more of my mommy friends went home and bought their kids these today too! They come in the most beautiful colors. Kids are not really taught how to use these, they seem to just get on them and go! It was amazing to see my 2-year-old-take off like a champ!” — TexSpaceman12 Get it from Amazon for $89.99 (available in 12 colors).
A 24-piece Melissa & Doug pet vet play set
Help your toddler develop some serious empathy skills while taking care of a plush dog and cat with a toy stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, ear scope, tweezers, clamp, cast, bandages and, of course, the cone of shame.
Promising review: “My 2-and-a-half-year-old has not stopped playing with this since Christmas morning, definitely a favorite gift. I love the bag for all the storage of small parts! This toy teaches curiosity, compassion, fine motor skills and so much more. I love Melissa & Doug toys and this one does not disappoint. My child is now playing doctor and caring for her animals (and dolls, and everyone else) and asking really great questions as a result. You won’t be disappointed in this purchase!” — Kayla Phillips Get it from Amazon for $26.99.
A solar-powered Pretend and Play calculator cash register
This makes a “cha-ching” noise every time it opens and will introduce concepts of math and finance to your kids, as well as possibly soon-to-be-outdated-in-their-lifetime concepts of cash and coins.
Promising review: “This is another great toy by Learning Resources. I bought this for my daughter when she was 2. Now 3, she still plays with it daily. She loves punching the numbers in, but her favorite part is the open button that ejects the spring-loaded drawer. She loves the paper money and the pretend credit card. I can see her and my son playing with this toy for at least ten more years. It is very durable. She has dropped it many times and it hasn’t skipped a beat. The plastic is high-quality. I would definitely buy this product again.” — Ecinoderm4u Get it from Amazon for $34.99.
A 22-piece wooden instrument set
Filled with shaking, tapping, beating and blowing instruments so your toddler can start their musical education at a young age. Maybe you have the next baby Mozart or even a baby Beatle.
Promising review: “I saw these and immediately thought: I cannot wait to buy this for my nephew and friend’s kid because it’s going to absolutely drive the parents insane. Unspoken rule of parenthood right? You buy other kids the stuff you know will make a ton of noise. I was not let down. It was delivered to my sister today and shortly after arrival I received the long-anticipated text, ‘Did you send these devil tools?’ Yes, sister, yes I did. I will most definitely be ordering another set for my friend’s kid in a couple of weeks!” — Amanda Wiley Get it from Amazon for $33.99.
An 18-piece Fisher-Price “S’more Fun” campfire play set
Trade all the danger of wood-chopping, roaring-fires and grizzly bear attacks for kid-friendly wood accents and soft fabric. Plus, no marshmallow and chocolate stains!
Promising review: “My daughter is almost 4 and has recently gotten into building tents and forts out of pillows. We used my phone to ‘make a fire’ but I wanted to get her something cute she could play with instead of my phone. This fits the bill and is affordable. It’s cool that you can cut the firewood with the felt ax. The marshmallows are double-sided, one side is uncooked and the other is cooked. It’s also nice that the mat for the fire can double as a picnic pad too. The material seems very durable as well. The box that this comes in is cute and doubles for storage as well.” — Christie Get it from Amazon for $24.
A Liberty Imports remote control race car
Not only do the horn and headlights function on the car, but there are also three removable driver figures for toddlers to get their first taste of simplified RC-fun with forward and reverse left functions.
Promising review: “This car is so easy to work as there are only two buttons. My one-year-old has figured it out and giggles while it soars backward in circles. It’s surprisingly off-road-able! It can climb over light blankets and other thin things on the ground. This requires batteries so don’t forget them! The bright colors are fun and the music/lights are wonderful. It’s a little on the loud side, but bearable. The race car driver makes noise when you click him into place and this makes my son laugh.” — Kenneth S. Foord Get it from Amazon for $15.94.
A Manhattan Toy wooden pony activity center
With flapping ears, gliders, spinning dials, bead runs, a shape sorter and letter recognition, this activity center will make total horse sense for your toddler (and keep them occupied for an exorbitant amount of time).
Promising review: “This keeps my son entertained for quite a while. Good for developing motor skills. It also looks like a Dala horse, which is a symbol of our Swedish heritage. Very cute and fun toy.” — Larissa Get it from Amazon for $61.59.
A VTech Smart Shots Sports Center
This should inspire you and your kid to get up off the couch, stop watching “SportsCenter,” and learn about numbers and counting through the scoreboard, gears and buttons. Also, please resist the urge to dunk on your child.
Promising Review: “We all know that with most toys, kids will not stay interested for long. We have had this toy for three months now and my son still enjoys playing with it. He also loves to see the numbers flash on the screen because he will say the number. Putting the toy together was super easy and simple, just make sure you buy the required batteries because this toy does not come with them.” — Fran Get it from Amazon for $54.99+ (available in two colors).
A 600-piece set of Plus Plus interlocking puzzle blocks
Build flat or 3D creations that are less likely to injure adults who step on any errant pieces in the middle of the night.
Promising Review: “These are now my go-to toy if I need my 5- and 3-year-olds to stop tearing the house apart for just five GD minutes. My kids are notoriously hard to impress, but these keep them engaged and occupied for as long as I need. Even my dad is enjoying them! Well worth the money!” — Lily Saxon Get it from Amazon for $34.99 (available in three colors and four sizes).
A Melissa & Doug wooden railway set
The set includes 100 track sections, a freight train, a passenger train and a flatbed truck, so kids have plenty of options to choo-choo-choose from without ever getting bored.
Promising review: “This is literally everything you could ever ask for from Melissa & Doug. Everything is well made, not a single piece with a blemish. Strong sturdy box with a handle on it to help with carrying it around. (It’s heavy considering that it’s for children. Adult recommended for moving the whole thing) Possibilities are endless with track set up. My son plays for hours on end and there is no end to his enjoyment when he opens up the box and starts to set up. Great toys don’t have to have batteries and this one proves it.” — Jerevmy W. Get it from Amazon for $97.99.
A push or pull V-Tech “Drop & Go” dump truck
Teach the kiddies counting by dropping colorful boulders in the back bucket while playing melodies and phrases for learning about tools and colors.
Promising review: “Super cute toy for the toddler age! Plus for all moms out there who go nuts when the same five songs go off this one actually has an off switch! Yay! It also has a low and medium sound setting which is a must for any toy I buy. The buttons and lever on the dump truck are great for little hands. Definitely worth every penny!” — Liesl Get it from Amazon for $17.99+ (available in two colors).
A “Monkey Around Wiggle & Giggle” board game
With a beanbag banana that involves simple skills like balancing, hopping and marching (as well as high fives and hugs), this game encourages motor skill development, coordination, understanding spatial concepts and, most importantly, fun with the family.
Promising review: “I love, love, love board games and my kiddo is a little young for them so I have been looking for things that he might be interested in and found this game. He isn’t quite two yet, but we have tried to play a couple of times and he likes it! There isn’t a winner or loser here, there aren’t really a lot of rules, it’s just a fun structured play with your kiddo and helps them learn how to follow directions and make choices. It’s so much fun and I know that he will be able to understand it better in the coming months and enjoy it even more!” — Shannizzle Get it from Amazon for $17.99.
A Learning Resources “Peekaboo Learning Farm”
Help little hands develop motor skills and little minds to begin to master some math with five barnyard finger puppets and their respective colorful barns.
Promising review: “This is an amazing learning tool that I highly recommend buying. I am a therapist for kids with autism. My materials get a lot of use from different kiddos, so I can attest from my experience that they are very durable and excellent quality. Many of my younger clients are barely starting to speak. This product has motivated them to make animal noises, label animals, count numbers, label colors, request for more, point at the barn they want to open, ask for help to open and close the barns, and sing along to songs with me! There are so many fun and different ways to play with them to target different goals! The animals and barns are so cute! Definitely purchase this product!” — Katie Get it from Amazon for $13.46.
A VTech “Touch and Learn” activity desk
With five interactive pages and more than 200 “touch and learn spots” on each card — plus a music player, toy phone and LED light-up display — this desk is here for nonstop learning and playtime. Also, it transforms from a desk into an easel and chalkboard for more lo-fi fun.
Promising review: “I’ve had this for over a year and my son still plays with it. The key is to get the expansion pack to rotate the different activities. My son was a late talker (he’s starting to pick it up), but one day he was playing with the desk and it would ask him to pick number x and he chose the number. He was consistently picking the right number. He wasn’t talking yet but knew numbers 1 through 9. I was a little shocked because this was before we had to send him to daycare. Having the extra cards to change out keeps him interested and it helps reinforce what he’s learning in school. It’s the first thing he plays with when he gets home.” — Islandblue Get it from Amazon for $69.90.
A 10-pack of Play-Doh
It’s all nontoxic, nonirritating, nonallergenic and the packaging is recyclable. But, yeah, it still smells like Play-Doh.
Promising review: “Colorful, nontoxic Play-Doh has been great for my son who has many allergies including skin allergies. He has had no problem with these. This keeps him occupied for quite some time, often when I am cooking or cleaning. I played with this as a child myself and have fond memories of it.” — Brandy P. Get it from Amazon for $7.99.
A 36-piece wooden pattern blocks animals jigsaw puzzle
The set has patterns for creating animals, vehicles and whatever else your child’s rampant imagination can come up with while developing skills such as hand-eye coordination and problem-solving.
Promising review: “My children (ages 2 and 4) love this activity! It keeps them busy at the kitchen table while I make lunch. I enjoy seeing the creative solutions to the problems they set up for themselves. (‘I am going to make a dog!’) The blocks are a nice size for little hands, the colors are bright, and there are no rough edges. The cards have interesting design problems to solve. One side of the card shows the block pieces needed to create the design and the other side shows the completed design. The product comes in a nice cardboard box with two tins inside – one for the blocks and one for the cards.” — B.S. Get it from Amazon for $16.99.
A 14-piece Tegu magnetic wooden block set
This built-to-last, no-lead, no-plastic and nontoxic set can help kids create all manner of creatures and objects that will serve as a soft introduction to all types of modern art.
Promising review: “The wood is excellent quality and very nice and smooth. Magnets are strong enough but not too strong. I actually like that the magnets are not on every single side because it teaches the kids to use their brains and troubleshoot. I do wish they were a little more affordable so we could get a large set, but understand why. The quality is definitely there. Thank you for providing a fun, toxic-free toy!” — Dorothea Gerber Get it from Amazon for $35+ (available in six different sets).
A four-wheeled, Hape “Scoot Around” wood bike
This bike will take it easy on your floors thanks to its rubber wheels, and your toddler can develop motor skills as well as strength and balance.
Promising review: “This is the perfect scooter for a 1- to 3-year-old. When my son was learning to stand/walk, he’d use this as a walker by grabbing the handles and pushing it around. Sometimes he’d push from the back and scoot on his knees. He learned how to get on and off by himself after a year old. Now he can scoot. Pretty soon (When his legs grow a little longer) he’ll get the idea and can really go!” — Muffin Get it from Amazon for $67.65.
A set of Blockaroo magnetic foam building blocks
These are sure to “click” with the young builder in your life. Plus, they’ll take a beating but come back looking nice and clean after bath time play or a run in the dishwasher.
Promising review: “If you love unique toys that require no batteries, look adorable, make cool sounds, inspire the imagination, feel soft and fuzzy, and are super easy to clean…you will not be disappointed with these innovative new Blockaroos! I’ll definitely be picking up a few more sets!” — Lesley Sullivan Get it from Amazon for $29.99.
A three-chord Loog Mini acoustic guitar
Start teaching your little punk kid the entire Ramones catalog. This toy comes with flashcards of chord diagrams and full access to the Loog Guitar app. Hey! Ho! Let’s go!
Promising review: “My daughter and I learning how to play the guitar together. Even if we don’t become rock stars the quality time we are spending together is all the justification I needed to make the purchase. The strings are perfect for her little fingers.” — JSpriggins Get it from Amazon for $79 (available in six colors).
A Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube
Your kiddies can compose and remix some of Mozart’s classical music masterpieces. It’s baby’s first beats lab but, like, totally classy.
Promising review: “My son plays with it for up to 15 minutes many times a day. I never get sick of the songs. Like another reviewer said, it’s the perfect size for the baby to use as a counterbalance while learning to sit up. Every baby/parent needs this toy. If they came out with another cube with new songs/instruments I would buy it in a heartbeat!” — Kevin Get it from Amazon for $24.49.
A “Build-a-Flower” toy set
This 112-piece set will help give any aspiring botanist or florist a start — with no dirt tracked into the house.
BTW: Axel Adventures is an Etsy shop and family-run online toy store established in 2020 and based in Nevada.
Promising review: “The flowers are a big hit, and arrived on time!” — Dean Get it from Axel Adventures on Etsy for $33.37.
A LeapFrog Pick Up and Count vacuum
Teach your toddler to pick up after themself while making it seem like fun with this toy that lights up and has bouncing balls in it. (It does require four AA batteries.)
Promising review: “I bought it for my son’s birthday. So far so good. He obsessed with the vacuum cleaner. This one seems to capture his attention!” — Miss t Get it from Amazon for $27.49 (available in two colors).
A personalized superhero cape
Get your kids into cosplay while encouraging them to create their own characters and stories. Plus, who doesn’t look great in a cape?
Select a cape and add on options like a mask, wristbands and a belt. Then personalize it by choosing the cape color, shape and shape color, and letter and letter color.
Capes and More is an Etsy shop founded in 2014 that makes original superhero capes for kids and adults.
Promising review: “We love this cape! I got this for my 15-month-old because she loves taking my dish towels and trying to put them on as capes. The cape is a little big for her yet lengthwise, but she still loves it! 🙂 and it came so fast!” — Katelyn Maxson Get it from Capes and More on Etsy for $16+.
An “itsy pack” of Clixo building toys
Combining origami, magnets and building blocks, this toy is a completely new and unique way for kids to create and play.
Promising review: “When I first discovered Clixo I thought, ‘Wow, that’s something I haven’t seen before. I bet these will be different than other building toys.’ Not only are they different, but they’re super fun and satisfying to play with (that click the magnetic parts makes just sounds and feels so good). Maybe when I’m done ‘testing’ them out, I’ll actually let my kid take a shot at playing with them.” — John Mihaly
Get it from Clixo for $29.99 (available in three colors).
An indoor/outdoor Wack-a-Tag game
Trade the squishy mallet you’d find at a Chuck E. Cheese for more hand-eye coordination and some actual exercise-based fun. Recommended for ages 18+ months.
Promising review: “This is easy for my 14-month-old granddaughter to push down! She laughed hysterically when they would pop back up!! Survived the dogs carrying them around too! Great fun!” — ANNETTE MINICUCCI Get it from Amazon for $24.99.
Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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