The Best Toys for Your Toddler

By Kimberly Bruce

February 3, 2021

With such a wide assortment of toys to choose from when shopping, finding safe toddler toys that are fun and durable can seem impossible. You’ll encounter toys that seem really cool but are too advanced for your little one, or toys and games with small parts that can fall off and harm your child. Locating an ideal toy that you feel comfortable letting your kids play with may take some shopping around.

A big plush toy is nice to cuddle with but may not travel well on outings. And when you factor in how often kids drop or drag their stuffed animals, they’ll be full of dirt and germs before long. Other toys can only be played with in particular locations like the bathtub or open spaces, while some require set-up before they’re any fun—which is not something you can easily do on-the-go.

We’ve found some really neat toddler toys that will keep your tots occupied for hours and give you peace of mind. Take a look at our list of the best toys for kids ages two years and above that come highly recommended.

1. Editor's Pick: VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

ProsCons
  • Animated LED scoreboard
  • 2-in-1 basketball and soccer
  • Music and sound susceptible to glitches

Key Specs

Specs /Dimensions: 41.99 x 57.99 x 60.96 cm; 907.18 g

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Great for keeping kids active indoors, this compact sports center lets toddlers play basketball or soccer indoors and has a digital scoreboard to encourage them as the play.

Kids have tons of energy and can’t fully work it off indoors. That’s why the VTech Smart Shots Sports Center is a fantastic choice for your little busybody. The compact 2-in-1 design is perfect for keeping toddlers active indoors, with the option to play basketball or soccer. It features a digital scoreboard that tracks each point they score and even cheers them on to enhance the MVP experience. Your toddler will be learning as they play because this sports centre introduces them to numbers, shapes and sounds. The buttons and toggles are also fun and help to build sensory-motor skills.

2. Best Overall Runner Up Toddler Toy: Jasonwell Aqua Magic Doodle Mat

ProsCons
  • Non-toxic, eco-friendly
  • Fun for all ages
  • Easy to pack up and carry
  • May leave residual images

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 101.6 x 81.28 x 0.76 cm; 640 g

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This is another solid choice for toddlers and it's a good toy to unlock their creative talents. To use it, just add water. A great eco-friendly choice since the drawing mat uses refillable water markers to colour. Once the water dries, the mat reverts back to a blank canvas.

The Jasonwell Aqua Magic Doodle Mat lets your toddler create colourful designs using only water. The refillable water marker adds colour to the mat with each stroke, and the best part is you don’t need to be concerned with marker stains on your floors, walls or furniture. Once the aqua magic doodle mat dries, it goes back to a clean slate — ready for new creative works of art from your child’s imagination. It's fun for the whole family and it's safe for infants and older children.

3. Best Educational Toddler Toy: LeapFrog 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch

ProsCons
  • 2-in-1 laptop/tablet
  • Educational
  • Music and games
  • Old school screen

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 101.6 x 81.28 x 0.76 cm; 640 g

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This is a great learning laptop that introduces toddlers to the alphabet and numbers.

The LeapFrog 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch is a toy both you and your toddler will love. It can convert into a touch tablet and has cool grown-up features like pretend email. And it keeps your child busy with games, music and educational activities. Because it is a compact laptop, it’s a great companion to take on long drives or even short trips to run errands. LeapFrog products are loved by parents for their durability to handle falls and a bit of rough play. Kids love them because they have so many fun features to keep them entertained.

4. Best Bathtub Toys for Toddlers: Munchkin 17040 Fishin' Bath Toy

ProsCons
  • Magnetic
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Large parts
  • Magnet very strong

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 20.32 x 6.35 x 27.94 cm; 231.33 g

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Toddlers will enjoy catching the underwater floating fish with this fun magnetic fishing toy for bath time play.

Add some fun to your bath time routine with the Munchkin 17040 Fishin' Bath Toy. This fishing set comes with a magnetic fishing rod for your 24-months-and-over toddler to catch all the bobbing fish in the tub. The fish are air-tight to prevent mold from growing inside and they bob along the surface making it easy for your little one to ‘hook’ them on the line. Your toddler will enjoy bath time much more once these fish come along to play. They’re also great for playing in the kiddie pool!

5. Honorable Mention: Playskool Sit ‘n Spin Classic Spinning Activity Toy

ProsCons
  • Easy assembly
  • Small seat

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 10.2 x 45.72 x 45.7 cm; 1.43 kg

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This is a great, fun spinning seat for toddlers to twirl around indoors and in the backyard. And you can control the spin speed by using the stationary wheel.

The Playskool Sit ‘n Spin Classic Spinning Activity Toy is like having a tilt-a-whirl in your play room. Your toddler can sit securely close to the ground and twirl for endless fun. The built-in steering wheel allows your child to control their speed and slow down if they’re spinning too fast. This toy is easy to hop on and get whirling, and it will keep your toddler busy for hours. Recommended for children 18 months and up, the Sit ‘n Spin helps them master balance, motor skills, and coordination. Please ensure that your child’s play area is free of items they could bump into if spinning quickly.

FAQs for Toddler Toys

Kids will play with just about anything, but having fun toys to keep them entertained makes playtime so much more enjoyable. Finding the right toy comes down to your toddler's age, but there are also some other key questions you should ask yourself.

Is it age appropriate?

When shopping for toddler toys, you’ll want to ensure the toy fits the age and capabilities of your child. Some toys seem great in the package but have small parts that could break loose and pose a choking hazard if swallowed. Of course, you’re looking for toys that are not only fun, but will also aid in your child’s development, so consider their current motor skills and ability to use the toy to avoid them losing interest in their new toy.

Does it have moving parts that could pinch or hurt your child during play?

Sometimes kids play rough and they don’t foresee danger like you do, so having toys with hanging parts or clips and snaps that their fingers could get stuck in is something to avoid. You’d be surprised at how easily a seemingly innocent toy can turn into a danger when not used properly; and we can’t always rely on kids to follow safety instructions carefully.

Is it made with safe, non-toxic materials?

As any parent can attest, kids love to put things in their mouth. Maybe they are intrigued by the bright colours, the texture or the smell; whatever it is, if they can touch it, chances are they will get curious and want to give it a taste. When shopping for toddler toys, check the package to determine whether it’s made with non-toxic or eco-friendly ingredients.

Is it easy to transport?

When you find a toy that your toddler is in love with and does not want to put down, you’ll have a difficult time prying it away from them when its time to go out—if it’s too big to carry with you on the trip. Look for toys that are engaging for your little one and are compact enough to fit in a bag to bring with you on your outing. If that isn’t possible, try finding a comparable toy with the same features they love in a more compact, easy-to-tote format.

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