Toddlerdom (12-35 months), with all its building, mouthing, cruising and squealing busy-ness, is our favorite kiddie stage.
This is when every day is all about adventure and exploring. Watch them thrill in new skills and discoveries as they challenge themselves and grow.
Now comes the fun part – finding the toys that’ll foster this super-exciting new stage. You wanna get them stacking and banging, hiding and moving, pushing and pulling – all while building their fine and gross motor skills, developing their hand-eye coordination, and having fun as they learn.
Here’s a taster of exactly what you – and they – need to make the most of toddler playtime.
Let’s push ’n’ pull
As your chubster learns to walk, push-pull toys provide great support and build on how far he or she has already come. Look for those that can be filled with objects (like blocks), and the push-pull toys that make a noise, with bits and bobs that move as they’re dragged.
Let them practice moving around every day, and stick around to dole out kisses and hugs for any potential boo-boos.
Back To School Bus Playset, 18 months+ ($24.99)
Ocean Pals Spinning Shape Sorter, 18 months+ ($19.99)
Push n Pop Walker, 12 months+ ($17.99)
Alpha Block Cargo Truck, 24 months+ ($19.99)
Push n Play Walker, 12 months+ ($53.99) (also available in pink).
Bang, bang, bangin’ away
It’s the ultimate toddler moment, isn’t it? Sitting on the kitchen floor, banging away at pots and pans like Dave Grohl during his Nirvana years?
Yes, living with a toddler can be a lot like living with a drummer. But banging is a vital part of baby’s development – it shows cause and effect, encourages manipulation of objects… and making all that noise just makes them giddy with pleasure!
Around 8 months, it’s time to move them away from your pots and pans and bring out the purpose-made toys.
Animal Friends Hammer Bench, 2 years+ ($16.95)
Space Adventure Pound & Tap Bench, 12 months+ (28.99)
Puzzles that put it all together
It’s no secret, we love our puzzles, and for good reason. Toddlerdom is when those little hands will delight in manipulating pieces, turning them this way and that to make them fit.
Ideal for developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, they’re also fantastic for introducing logical thinking and critical reasoning, problem solving and spatial awareness.
Lift & Look Magnetic Space Adventure, 18 months+ ($12.99)
Barnyard Animal Block Puzzles, 2 years+ ($15.99)
Professor Poplar’s Chunky Barnyard Helpers Puzzle, 18 months+ ($12.99)
Make & Break Magnetic Airplane, 18 months+ ($15.99)
Intricate play for little hands
It’s just so satisfying to little fingers to be able to push, poke, touch and turn. Whether it’s guiding beads along a wire maze, or pushing cars along a track, toddlers are riveted by activity cubes.
Not only are they a whirl of bright colors and activity, these cubes are the business when it comes to developing hand-eye coordination, visual tracking and fine motor skills. Toddlers learn to identify colors and shapes, and understand spatial relationships thanks to all that maneuvering over, under and through.
Twisty Traffic Bead Maze, 4 months+ ($32.99)
5-in-1 Deluxe Activity Hub, 18 months+ ($34.99)
Developmental Bead Maze, 4 months+ ($17.99)
Sort & stack, balance & build
I’ll never forget the sheer joy on my son’s face when he built up a tall tower of blocks and knocked them all down. And then did it again. And again. And again.
Of course, other than the destructive delight they take in the whole process, the act of building, stacking and sorting is pure toddler brain fuel. From about 15 months, your toddler’s hands and fingers are primed for sorting shapes, stacking rings on a pole, and carefully balancing one block on top of another.
Make sure you have at least one set to enchant your little architect. These are our faves.
Rainbow Rings Stacking Tower, 18 months+ ($14.99)
Stacking Train, 18 months+ ($21.99)
Busy Barnyard Sorting Cube, 12 months+ ($14.99)
Balancing Bear Stacking See-Saw, 18 months+ ($17.99)
Elm Street Fire Station Block Set, 24 months+ ($24.99)
Smart Shapes Sorting House, 18 months+ ($26.99)
Shop our full range of Baby & Toddler Toys.