The toddler years can be difficult. It’s a transitional age, where sometimes they’re independent, capable, and sweet, and sometimes they’re rebelling against every request, and unable to communicate their wants or needs without screaming. Helping them learn how to imitate correct behavior, learn self-regulation, and develop important motor skills are all important; teaching them all of those skills in ways that just seem like playtime? More fun for the whole family.
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Develop important motor skills with these gripping tools. Occupational therapists regularly use these kind of pincer toys to help children develop strength and coordination, which helps with necessary tasks like dressing, and fun ones like painting or coloring.
A sorting toy with fun details, this beehive themed wooden toy helps kids practice color coordinating and fine motor skills, whether they play with the accompanying tons or start off just with their hands.
Some dressing practice toys are big and bulky, but this stuffed penguin is perfect for cuddling with. Kids can practice buckling or unbuckling a variety of clasp designs, which develops finger dexterity and makes it easier for them to learn a range of dressing skills.
Playtime is an important part of learning for toddlers, so make learning even more fun with the hands-on projects from KiwiCo. These projects are age-appropriate, focusing on important skills for your child’s stage. The best part: it’s shipped to your door with everything you need to have fun, so it’s super convenient for parents, too.
A twist on classic tower stacking games, this kid friendly version has fun animal faces and bright colors to keep kids interested and engaged. As kids age, add more elements to the game, like the included animal dice, to dictate which type of block must be removed.
Get kids excited about the annual family camping trip with this set of pretend play camping gear. With their own little lantern and water bottle, they’re ready to join along on all the outdoor adventures.
Starting manners training early makes dinnertime a smoother and happier event for the whole family. These toddler sized flatware sets allow kids to practice proper grips and develop important muscles. Kids love the independence having their own tools allows, and love imitating mom and dad’s use of flatware. Pick up a couple of divided plates to let texture averse kids keep their portions from mixing, and you’ve eliminated most mealtime battles.
Pretend play expands a child’s imagination, helps them imitate adults, and learn what to expect in new and scary situations, like the doctor’s office. They’ll learn how to patch up mom and dad, soothe teddy bear boo-boos, or pretend to give a shot. Mastering their fears is the first step in overcoming difficulties, and we love giving them the chance to succeed.
Press, shape, or layer this moldable sand for a beach day at home, no matter the weather. Buy a natural color and dye it at home, or pick up a mix of colors for homemade sand art. Fill a glass vase and kids can clearly see the layers. Comes with castle molds and a holding tray.
An amazing tool for rewarding positive behavior, encouraging toddlers to sit for potty training, or keeping them entertained on long car or plane rides, the Fire HD 8 has improved parental controls beyond other tablets, plus a two year warranty that even covers accidental damage. Since there aren’t any other toys out there that you can get a free replacement if the kiddos decide to put it in the dishwasher, dump it out a car window, or otherwise continue to do the things we least expect, we say it’s a great deal.
Retro toys are classics for a reason, and Lite Brite stands the test of time. Develop hand-eye coordination, color and pattern recognition, and artistic ability with a fun, compact game.
A classic favorite that’s fun for children to play with parents and grandparents, Mr. Potato head comes with plenty of accessories, so children can style and redesign him as they wish. Pick up a Mrs. Potato head for a matching his and hers set.
Some of the most fun childhood games have been re-released for a new generation to enjoy. Operation, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Candyland, and more, are bringing back fun memories for parents and making new ones for their kids. Hi-Ho Cherry O is another fun toddler favorite. Great for practicing counting, turn taking, identifying colors, and developing those fine motor skills.
Sometimes it seems all we can offer is a safe place to land. Encourage your little one to jump, crawl, and fall safely with these gymnastics style foam climbing blocks.
Burn off energy inside or out, no matter the weather, with this trampoline that’s perfectly sized for kids. The rail handle means they can easily get on or off by themselves, and can prevent falls by holding on tightly.
Sit and scoot, or hook up a tow rope and have mom or dad play pack mule with this scooter board. Useful for learning how to balance themselves, or as a precursor for toys like skateboards or stand-up scooters, they also are a fun pull-behind toy, like a smaller version of those classic little red wagons.
Push, pull, and sit comfy with this ride-along car that’s perfectly sized for the learning to walk crowd. The ten foot track snaps together easily with no tools required, and is perfect for indoor or outdoor use. Toddlers will enjoy rolling it back up the track themselves and restarting the ride. Great for home or daycare use.
A good choice for parents looking for a middle ground between a bicycle and a tricycle, this toddler bike encourages the posture needed to ride a bike, with the stability of three wheels. Holds up to 70lbs and comes in three bright, fun colors, it’s eye catching and durable.
If you’ve got the space in your backyard (or grandma’s) for a sand pit, you can keep your kids outside, entertained, and active for hours. This digger is perfect for young kids who are fascinated by construction equipment.
If you’ve got a climber, a daredevil, or a little one that just can’t sit still, redirect those impulses onto safer gear with home climbing equipment. The whole neighborhood will want to join in on the fun with this climbing dome, luckily it holds up to 1000lbs.
Ideal for summer birthdays, this inflatable outdoor play center comes with a ring toss game and sprinkler hookup for the water hose. With a 77 gallon capacity, it’s perfect for families with toddlers who aren’t yet comfortable at the public pool but still love the water.
If you regularly walk to school or the park with your little ones, a summer storm can quickly ruin a fun afternoon. Keep them dry and comfortable even on blustery days with a poncho.
Great for walking to school on wet days, these easy-on rain boots keep kids warm and dry, even if they can’t help but step in every splashy puddle along the way. Let them explore outside after a rainstorm and see the transformation from boring backyard to fascinating wilderness, full of adventure.
Serious weather means kids need serious protection, and since most toddlers have less body fat than adults they are more susceptible to extreme temperatures. Well made outerwear performs better and holds up longer, making it the best choice for families who plan on having more than one child.
Pool safety is one of the most important things many parents will ever address. Instead of inflatable slip on floats this one buckles behind the child’s back and has buoyant foam, so there’s nothing that can be popped.
Tiny bodies dehydrate quickly, especially with how much time they spend moving. A reusable bottle makes it easy to offer fluids frequently. These are also much less likely to spill than an open top cup of water, so it’s great for kids that are always thirsty in the middle of the night.
A traveling booster seat with activity table, the Pop N Sit is great for camping, watching a sibling’s soccer game, or having a picnic snack at the local park. The attached buckles keep kids secured in place until they’ve finished eating.
Montessori Toddler Must-Haves
Distilled from Maria Montessori’s treatises on teaching babies, toddlers, and children, The Montessori toddler aims to relay classroom strategies into home life advice. Helping children imitate positive adult behaviours like cleaning up after themselves, learn important skills for independence, like dressing themselves and acquiring their own food and drink, and communicating their wants and needs in mature, healthy ways, without fits or tantrums.
Get a head start on learning to read with these easy sound-it-out tools. Modelled after Montessori classroom essentials, these twisting, turning block toys help kids practice the phonetic basics, and the five piece set combines to spell eighty unique words.
Easier to use than a two piece booster and seat combination, this height adjustable potty training aid comes with grippable handles perfectly sized for little hands, and non-skid feet keep everything perfectly centered.
This large motivational laminated chart is perfect for toddlers who are visual learners, or enjoy seeing their positive reinforcement in brightly colored, fun shaped stickers. Hang it low enough that they can reach, and let them post the stickers themselves. Includes a guide for parents on how to best maximize rewards and minimize setbacks.
Start preschool lessons at home with these educational posters. The brightly colored posters are interesting and engaging for young children, and help them learn basic information needed before school begins in earnest, like counting, colors, shapes, days of the week, and other useful concepts.
A good bedtime story makes all the difference in getting toddlers settled in for the night, and How to Find a Fox is a perfect pick. The artwork is charming, the characters are delightful, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of a Dora the Explorer episode, where kids are encouraged to point out things they observe in the background.
Celebrate the start of each week with this set of rich, vivid stories for children. Perfect for bedtime routines for toddlers, helping beginning readers sound out unfamiliar words, or for independent reading. Building routines while your children are small helps them develop a love of reading and learning that will last their whole lives.
With a series of books as well as a TV show, Llama Llama is having a moment in the spotlight. The fun rhymes and adorable art keep parents and kids entertained, and the easy to memorize pages help children remember the steps of their morning or evening routines easily, making the transitions much smoother.
Toddler appetites are legendary. One day the won’t stop eating, the next you’ll struggle to get more than a sip of juice and a bite of toast past their lips. Help cover any nutritional deficits caused by picky jags, or make up any losses from rapid growth with these gummy vitamins. Also includes probiotics to help maintain healthy digestive bacteria.
Prepare for a day at an amusement park, mall, or other crowded venue with these temporary tattoos. They ensure that even if a child becomes lost and is too distraught to give their name or phone number, that security or staff can quickly get in touch with parents or, in the case of a field trip, teachers. Like all safety gear it’s the sort of thing we hope never has to be used, but is immensely valuable in an emergency.
Keeping track of multiple kids, or any combination of a stroller, a pet, a baby, and a toddler means trouble, especially on busy sidewalks or neighborhoods with lots of traffic. Until toddlers are old enough to understand the rules of walking together safely, these wrist linking cuffs keep them tethered close and away from danger.
A great safety tool for teaching children awareness of their surroundings, these magnetic hand prints help children learn where to wait while mom unloads groceries or helps a sibling buckle in to the car. Inexpensive and available in a wide range of kid friendly designs, having one for each child is extremely useful for teaching safe behavior in parking lots.
Kids can make drums out of anything, but if you want yours to learn an instrument that isn’t percussion, this starter harp is a great way to learn. Soft strings are great for little fingers, and the small size makes it easy to bring along anywhere.
Learn letters, numbers, and songs with this toddler drum set, perfect for burgeoning musicians. With plenty of game modes and distinct sounds from each drum and cymbal, it’s hours of fun for your little one.
Join the Little Blue Truck on another fun adventure. This time, you’re helping deliver Christmas trees to all of Blue’s friends- will Blue get to have a Merry Christmas with a tree of their own too?
Perfect for little farmers, this toy tractor has over-sized wheels for outdoor play in the dirt, and a detachable rear trailer for hauling in the harvest. Made from 100% recycled plastics, it’s BPA, PVC, and pthalate free.
Year round fun for all ages, this comfortable saucer swing has a 700lb weight rating, so kids can pile on and swing together. Perfect for introducing little ones to their first swing, the hanging height is adjustable, so it can be set up low enough for children to get in and out by themselves.
Load up the tractor, blast the tunes, and head out to the back 40 in this John Deere tractor for children. The working FM radio and surprising good towing capacity means this is the perfect picnic machine for anyone with a large yard, and kids have a blast filling up the trailer and doing big people work.
Toddlerhood is when kids start having opinions; sometimes really firm opinions, about everything. They have a favorite this, and a least favorite that, and sometimes latch on to new interests with an intensity adults can’t understand. If your little one wants everything, everything, to be themed, whether it’s dinosaurs, mermaids, trains, or princesses, there’s someone out there that offers it on a bed sheet.
Over three feet tall, these nightlights/floor lamps are a gorgeous addition to any playroom or bedroom. A mock aquarium, the faux fish “swim” up and down through the brightly lit bubbles as the colors change.
For kids who fight bathtimes, these water dying drops add interest to an otherwise tedious task. Add some floating toys or funny-shaped tools to pour and scoop and you’ll entice them into the tub without a struggle.
From the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, a landmark work on soothing, swaddling, and sleep training, comes the next must-have work on child development. Teach children patience, cooperation, and self-confidence, and eradicate the frustration and difficulty communicating that’s at the heart of most of the toddler tantrums of the “Terrible Two’s.”
If your little one fights naps, add an incentive. This little sleeping bag is perfect for slumber parties or overnights stays with a grandparent, and can easily be set up as a nap mat for a short afternoon rest, too.
Whether they’re headed off to daycare, preschool, kindergarten, or just grandma’s house, keeping to a schedule will help kids stay focused and rested, reducing misbehavior. A comfortable nap makes it quick and easy to nip a tantrum in the bud. Make sure to include a soft lovey to keep them company while they drift off.