While it may seem like choosing toys for toddlers should be easy, as you walk into a toy store today, the only thing that’s easy is feeling overwhelmed. There is a huge array of toys that have been developed for the toddler market. How do you choose which are right for your child? How can you tell which are high quality and which will last? Which will engage your child’s interest for more than a few days or weeks? Below are some ideas for choosing toys that will grow with your child, challenge her, and nurture her overall development (her thinking, physical, language and social-emotional skills).
Boys are now really familiar with all the colorful pictures and words from one side, I think we will switch to the Farm side soon. This mat was also very helpful for crawling and learning how to walk – it’s definitely better than a hard floor, so all the falls didn’t hurt so much 🙂 I love this mat – it engages baby in many ways, it helps in baby’s development and makes learning so much fun.

We can’t wait to bust this guy out of his crate and, well, your kids will too!  They’ll use the crowbar (that comes with it) to pop open that lock and release this little monster from his prison!  He’ll even make over 45 different sounds and when he’s turned upside down, dropped, or knocked over.  When they pull his tongue, he’ll make funny noises, vibrate, and his eyes will glow.  Even better, your kids can record their voice and this creature will play back their message in their own ‘creature voice.’  There are a bunch of different Crate Creatures to choose from too.  See all the options here!
They’re going to love playing ‘parent’ with this new interactive doll!  They can feed her, change her, love her and more!  She’ll give them over 80 super real expressions and cute little sounds. They can help put her to sleep by rocking her, she’ll laugh when you tickle her, and she’ll even turn to you when you call her!  She’ll even provide you with some of her very own sweet baby babble too when you talk to her.  We personally think this one is the cutest, but you can also get her with blonde sculpted hair or brown sculpted hair too!
Hop aboard this yellow bus to explore the world of A to Z. Place it on your fridge and let your tot insert any of the magnetic letter tiles into the open window. Press it once to hear the letter's name and sound, and press it again to hear that letter used in a word and sentence. Hit the music note to sing along to the "Alphabet Song" and "Wheels on the Bus."

No two toddlers are the same; all toddlers developed at different speeds in different ways. Just because your neighbor’s toddler entered toddler phase two when they were a year-old doesn’t mean your toddler is behind the times. However, there are times when a toddler can take too long to develop and it can cause concern for possible developmental issues developing.

Featuring over 60 characters, 8-player battles, online battles and more, get ready to battle with Mario, Link and your other favorite Smash Bros. characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Its robust character roster includes everyone from past games plus Daisy, Ridley, and Inklings plus a variety of stages and graphical improvements to make this the best Smash Bros. to date. This is likely to be the biggest hit title for Switch this year. The game features mild animated violence, but it’s tame compared to other similar games. It makes the perfect gift for any Smash fan.
The ultimate hangout spot for your LEGO Friends is the new Friendship House. This 772-piece set is a 4-level, double-sided playset with a ton of wonderful play features. It comes with three mini dolls – Olivia, Emma, and Andrea as well as 3 animal friends to play out your incredible adventures. The Friendship House is actually a converted Fire Station, so it still features a brick fascade and alarm outside. The translucent garage door really opens and closes. There’s even an outdoor garden area, Upper Foreman’s Terrace above the garage, barbeque area with slide, and a rooftop area with hottub. The working pully is great for bringing up supplies and there’s even a fireman’s pole for the mini dolls to slide down. The set is easy to build and kids will have all sorts of fun building and playing out various stories for the characters and their animal friends. There are a ton of great features, details, and accessories to inspire countless hours of imaginative play.
LEGO Mindstorms EV3 allows you to build 5 different robots. LEGO’s made this set fun, easy to get into, and brought a lot of functionality to its bricks. The faster processor and added memory translate into a better play experience for kids. The models are full of personality and it’s amazing to see your LEGO creations come to life. There’s even a basic programming component to code behaviors. Even after all of these years, it’s still one of the best robotics sets.
For more casual, in-the-moment drawing, try these twisty crayons, whose shape makes it easier for kids to grip them. “Drawing starts teaching things like symbolic activity, even with scribbles,” Dr. Golinkoff says. “You might think that what comes out is mush, but they’re starting to have intent, and they have enough control to put dashes on the paper. Imagine how cool it is to be a 2-year-old and actually put something on a piece of paper and see art emerge on the other end.”
Babies between the ages of 6 to 12 months are beginning to explore and interact with people and their surroundings, like crawling and walking across the living room. New teeth pop up through their gums, so finding durable and safe toys for them to mouth, bite and chew are important. Parents also get a little window into their thoughts, watching their baby touch and activate buttons, or place blocks into a container, or begin to turn the pages of a cardboard book.
Especially suitable for kids who are experiencing or otherwise coming into contact with the healthcare system, doctor’s kits are also just plain fun. They encourage a range of imaginative play that can help a child enact the role of caregiver. The Battat B. Deluxe Doctor’s Kit for Toddlers, which we dig, includes a sturdy carrier kit and is almost scarily thorough. With nine pieces such as a stethoscope with heartbeat sound, an otoscope, a blood pressure cuff with gauge, a safe syringe, (kid) scissors, a thermometer, and a beeper. A beeper!
Every week I take my kid to a play therapist. My son is great and, because he’s six and also my son, has a hard time expressing his emotions through words. His play therapist is great too but out-of-network and so crazy expensive. Regardless, it’s totally worth it. Play therapy allows my son a way to express himself non-verbally and provides a professional to, to some extent, decode his play. (Like most therapists, she meets separately with us.) But you don’t need to be in a play therapist to offer your kid the ability to work through their shit — or simply express themselves in a more natural way — with toys. You just need the right toys.
Save your walls from crayon scribbles and give your children an approved outlet for artistic expression with an easel. While drawing at a table is easy and efficient, an art easel offers the added benefit of a large canvas that clips into place. Kids don’t have to worry about their picture sliding around, and you don’t have to worry about them “accidentally” drawing where they shouldn’t. Select an easel with a handy shelf that keeps all their art supplies within reach.

Walk into my house on any given day, and you will find yourself at what I'm beginning to consider the world's longest-running block party. My 1-, 2-, and 5-year-olds will all be busy to the point of distraction, happily playing away with blocks. They're usually not building together, mind you (sometimes they're not even in the same room), but each one will be doing his own thing, concentrating intently, and having a blast.

The Safari Learning Station is designed to grow with your child. Young kids can sit, play and learn first words, numbers, shapes, colors, animals, Spanish, music and more. When your child grows the arch can be raised so kids can crawl under or stand and play with the animals. There’s also fun drop-through ball play with the monkey’s tail and a light-up piano to keep kids engaged.
You may wonder why we need to have baby teeth only to have them replaced by more permanent ones. Well, it’s all about developing the oral cavity of your baby. You see, it is your baby’s milk teeth that will maintain the arch length of his or her jaw. This is crucial because it is in these same places where their permanent teeth will develop. Milk teeth serve to guide the eruption pathway of your baby’s permanent teeth. It also helps in the formation and development of the jaw bones and muscles.
Toy vehicles provide kids with a mobile aspect of play that’s fascinating. Toddlers are drawn to anything with wheels or that moves on its own. There are plenty of vehicle options, from trucks that help with digging to cars that transport dolls, so you’re sure to find one that your tot will love. Just avoid cars that have small or loose parts that could be a choking hazard.
Hot Wheels is known for its physical play, but now it is blending the physical and virtual world with Augmoto. Augmoto adds AR on top of a classic Hot Wheels race track. In order to race your opponent around the track, players have to complete mini games using an app. For example, players can earn missile attacks, which can be used to slow down your opponent. The AR component adds a strategic element to the classic Hot Wheels track, making it feel more like a video game.
Ever dreamt of playing Rocket League in real life? Now you can. Featuring an immaculately detailed Rocket League Arena, this Hot Wheels set allows players to wrestle with each other to knock the soccer ball through their opponent’s goal. The set features app-controlled vehicles and comes with a car charging station. Each car lasts about 15 minutes on a charge. What’s amazing? Mattel has somehow managed to capture the wacky, addictive fun of the video game.
Black Panther was a big hit at the box office and made an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. This 12-inch Legends Series action figure features a premium sculpt and details along with accessories to enhance your play experience. Kids will love reenacting their favorite scenes from the movies and bringing the action to life with more than 30 points of articulation.
Stardew Valley delivers comfort rarely found in other games. Players will farm, fish, craft, mine, fight monsters, make friendships, and more. This farming adventure has plenty to offer. It beautifully combines farm simulation with RPG elements to create an intriguing, absorbing world. Although the game plays well on other platforms, it feels even better on the Switch thanks to the ability to play on the go.
This plush fish is one of our favorite toys for babies! It’s designed to intrigue your little one while helping them develop motor skills and more. The washable fabric toy is made of different fabrics and hidden features like mirrors and crinkling components to keep baby’s interest. Recommended for babies 1 month old to toddlers up to 3 years old. ($17; macys.com)
While it’s not totally a toy, we had to share this one with you because of how obsessed the kids are with it!  The new Echo Dot for Kids is, well, designed and created just for the kiddos.  They can play games with Alexa, ask her to read them a bedtime story, play their favorite music, and so much more.  Plus, because it’s for kids they won’t (and can’t) run into any of those awkward situations they could run into with the regular Echo.  This one comes in blue, red, and green! More colors here.
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Plasticine is the original no-dry modeling material. It’s been around for over 100 years! This pack of 12 is great for inspiring your child’s creativity and imagination. There are 24 rainbow colors to inspire creativity. There are endless creative possibilities and your child’s imagination is the only limit. The best part? The modeling material never dries out. So play on!

Circuit Cubes are a collection of various components, such as battery blocks, switches, relays, and tools, that allow kids to transform Lego sets and even household items. The components can be used to bring toy cars to life, create flashlights or design a noise-making object. Kids will be exposed to the basics of circuitry while learning STEM concepts. Tenka Labs will also deliver online instructional videos to inspire kids and help them learn to build with Circuit Cubes.
Even at the most infantile age, babies need to hear sounds and music to use and strengthen their hearing skills. The toys listed here that do make sounds or music, do so in a very gentle way that will not frighten or alarm the baby. They are introductory noises and music that soothes the baby into sleep or nap time easily. Not all toys must make sounds, but those that do must encourage the baby to listen and be something that it enjoys hearing. All of these toys do that very nicely.
Want your kids to learn coding in a fun, magical way? The Harry Potter Coding Kit from Kano lets kids build a wand, learn to code, and make magic! There are over 70 creative challenges for kids to engage with. Make feathers fly, goblets multiply, fire flow, pumpkins grow, and more. What’s cool? Wave your coding wand to see the magical effects on-screen. Play on tablets and computers. Who’s ready for fun?
What kids don’t love their Hot Wheels tracks!  This one is the super crazy Corkscrew with the ginormous 3-loop challenge!  Your kiddos will try to launch their cars into the track and complete the loops without crashing.  Eh, maybe they want to crash.  Isn’t that half the fun?  Even better is that if they have other Hot Wheels tracks this one is compatible with others!   This one comes with one Hot Wheels car, but you can buy more of the cars here!
“I love puppets. They’re a personification of this really cool-looking thing that seems to talk and engage with them. How fun is that?” Dr. Golinkoff says. “It’s great because it’s another persona that speaks and allows them to engage.” Here’s a set of animals and family members to elevate the bedtime story — and further develop your child’s language-acquisition skills and imagination.
This simple concept soother is a plush stuffed toy attached to a Soothie pacifier. The easy-to-grab animals come in different options like elephant or giraffe, and even if your baby doesn’t like a pacifier, some like to chew on the soft rubber section. Since pacifiers are small, they notoriously get lost when flung out of a crib. But the animal part of this soother makes it easy to find and keep up with for routine nap and bedtimes.
There’s no other way to say it… kids will have a ball with this toy. Much more than just a traditional ball, this is one rolling, electronic source of fun and learning. The battery-powered ball (three AA batteries are included) wobbles, wiggles and rolls itself about after receiving a slight push, which encourages kids to get moving and crawl or toddle after it.
These super cute Little Live Wrapples do just that….wrapple around your kids wrist.  Their tail is like those snap bracelets we all used to have in the 80’s and the 90’s, so they stay on their wrist securely.  Plus, these cuties have over 50 different sounds and reactions and their eyes even light up to match their mood!  There are 4 different Wrapples to choose from.  See all the options here!
What’s better than Louis Vuitton bag? A Pooey Puitton bag! Made out of poop, this might be the most stylish poop you have ever seen. Inside it contains all types of supplies for making unicorn slime poop from beads to slime powered bottles. There’s an instruction manual that walks kids through the many slime recipes. It even contains containers inside for storing slime. The best part? It comes with an exclusive Poopsey character with groovy 2019 glasses.

Now your kiddos can practice their claw machine skills right in their very own home!  It’s just like the one in the arcade, but they have a much better chance at winning.  It lights up, plays music, and has two different modes of timed-play.  It also comes with 6 little surprise packs that you can refill once they win them all. Super fun and something that you may want to play yourself!
Things to create with—large and small crayons and markers, large and small paintbrushes and fingerpaint, large and small paper for drawing and painting, colored construction paper, preschooler-sized scissors, chalkboard and large and small chalk, modeling clay and playdough, modeling tools, paste, paper and cloth  scraps for collage, and instruments—rhythm instruments and keyboards, xylophones, maracas, and tambourines
In the first year of a baby's life, the brain doubles in size, according to a 2007 study. The hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure deep in the brain that is used in memory processing, reaches its adult size by 10 months of age. These anatomical changes go hand-in-hand with rapid development:  Motor skills, language, and even social understanding all advance by leaps and bounds.  
Try these translucent shapes, which are far more interesting than blocks and have hundreds of possible combinations. “Kids see these and want to learn how they work, how they go together, that there’s unlimited possibilities,” she says. “You don’t want to teach your child that there’s only one right answer or one way to put the block together. That’s constraining them too much and doesn’t allow them to have a free will and imagination to create something new. When kids are playing with things like blocks, they’re learning things — like how tall can you go before it falls down? Why do these things stick together in the way that they do? They want to experiment.”

The options are truly endless when it comes to bath toys. There are interactive toys that suction right onto the actual bath walls, and of course there's an enormous variety of fun squirt and water toys. Some toys are inspired by television characters, while others encourage educational play. Take a look at our top picks, and bring home some bath toys to make sudsy memories that'll last a lifetime.
Collaborate and use the family’s abilities and powers to construct massive LEGO structures in LEGO Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles. The game offers an open-world experience and you’ll tackle iconic villains and action-packed side missions along your adventure. What’s cool? Players can even customize their look and abilities in the game. The game will be available on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
Every week I take my kid to a play therapist. My son is great and, because he’s six and also my son, has a hard time expressing his emotions through words. His play therapist is great too but out-of-network and so crazy expensive. Regardless, it’s totally worth it. Play therapy allows my son a way to express himself non-verbally and provides a professional to, to some extent, decode his play. (Like most therapists, she meets separately with us.) But you don’t need to be in a play therapist to offer your kid the ability to work through their shit — or simply express themselves in a more natural way — with toys. You just need the right toys.
The holiday season will be upon us soon, and it's time once again to start navigating the season’s softest, silliest and smartest of baby playthings. Whether you’re searching for the best baby Christmas gifts for your own bundle of joy or another little one that you love, make sure your list includes these adorable Christmas gift ideas for baby from Melissa and Doug, Fisher-Price, LEGO, Lamaze and more!
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