24 fun gift ideas for toddlers in 2021

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  • Finding gifts that toddlers will love more than the boxes they come in can be a challenge.
  • I’ve already gone through that process with my toddler and have rounded up 24 of the best toddler gifts.
  • You can check out all of Insider Reviews gift guides to shop for everyone on your list.

Toddlers can be picky little humans. You know this if you’ve ever seen how long they’re entertained by a cardboard box or bubbles, only to leave a pricey toy sitting by the wayside day after day.

I would know – my 2-year-old has a big personality. But I’ve become a pro at buying gifts that she plays with longer than the packages they come in. That’s why I’ve rounded up 24 gifts that will be a hit with any toddler. Many of the gifts on this list have also been tried, tested, and well-loved by my own child.

Check out 24 of the best gifts for toddlers below:

Their first toolbox

child playing with hape wooden toolbox

Hape Fix It Kid’s Wooden Tool Box and Accessory Play Set, available at Amazon, $19.59

Toddlers can fix things up around the house with this 17-piece toolbox. The small set is just the right size for toddler hands and includes a hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, and more.  

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Educational place mats

little tikes educational placemats

Little Likes Kids Educational Two-Sided Place mat Variety Pack, available at Amazon, $14.99

Even as they refine their eating skills, toddlers still often make a mess. Keep your table clean and your toddlers entertained with these three double-sided place mats.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Books to build their library

baby goes to market

“Baby Goes to Market,” available at Amazon, $14.56

“The Rainbow Fish,” available at Amazon, $9.99

“The Snowy Day,” available at Amazon, $4.95

“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” available at Amazon, $4.59

“I Like It When . . . /Me gusta cuando . . .” available at Amazon, $7.41

There’s nothing quite like cuddling up with a good book at bedtime. From simple board books to narratives that encourage kindness, toddlers will ask to read these books again and again.

Animal-themed bingo

banana panda bingo

Banana Panda Let’s Play Animal Bingo, available at Amazon, $17.92

Toddlers can get in on the action with this simplified version of bingo. Each bingo card features animals in a different habitat, and the boards and tokens are made of thick cardboard that will hold up to rough play.

Recommended ages: 2 years and up

A World of Eric Carle puzzle

mudpuppy eric carle puzzles for toddlers

Mudpuppy World of Eric Carle Brown Bear 4-in-A-Box Puzzles, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, $14.99

Four-piece puzzles are a step up from peg puzzles, another toddler favorite. This set of four puzzles is inspired by the popular book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” As a former English teacher, I can’t resist a toy that encourages reading. Even if you don’t have the book at home, these puzzles will still be engaging and challenging while simultaneously exposing toddlers to color matching.  

Recommended ages: 2 years and up

The ultimate racetrack

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate Corkscrew Tower

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate Corkscrew Tower, available at Walmart and Target, from $29.82

This quickly became our family’s favorite Go! Go! Smart Wheels track after the company sent us a review sample a few months ago. It can be configured into one tall spiral or two smaller spirals for racing. You’ll get one race car, and the track includes a switch track, hazards, and a trap door. Five different locations along the track prompt the car to play various sounds, songs, and phrases. If you already have other Go! Go! Smart Wheels tracks, you can connect them to the tower.

Recommended ages: 1 to 5 years

An interactive thinking chair

blues clues chair

Blues Clues and You! Play and Learn Thinking Chair, available at Walmart, $49.44

If you have a Blues Clues fan, this real-life thinking chair will be a big hit. It comes with a mailbox, letters, and an interactive handy dandy notebook. The chair can detect when kids sit down or get up, and there is even a storage space under the seat. We’ve been testing it for a few months, and my daughter hasn’t let it leave our living room since. 

Recommended ages: 2 to 5 years

A color-changing bath book

Color Me: Who's in the Water? (Wee Gallery Bath Books)

“Color Me: Who’s in the Water?” available at Amazon, $12.95

Toddlers will think this book is magic when it changes color in their bathwater. The illustrations are the central focus with just a few words on each page. This creates an ideal environment for reluctant readers to pick up a book. Use it for some water painting fun out of the bath, too. 

Recommended ages: 1 to 3 years

A dump truck made of recycled plastic

Green Toys Dump Truck

Green Toys Dump Truck, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $18.86

Whether you have a sandbox, a dirt pile in the backyard, or a bunch of toys that need to be moved around the house, toddlers will enjoy loading this truck and dumping things out. The brightly colored toy is made of 100% recycled plastic. An added bonus: After this truck spends a long day hauling materials for your child, you can throw it in the dishwasher. 

Recommended ages: 12 months and up

Reusable mess-free coloring pads

Water Wow! 3 Pack - Dinosaurs, Adventure and Space

Melissa & Doug Water Wow! 3-Pack, available at Amazon, Target, and Kohl’s, from $10.99

If you have a toddler living in your house and you haven’t yet discovered the magic that is Water Wow, you’re missing out. Each pad comes with four reusable boards that change color when they make contact with the water pen. They make absolutely no mess and are some of our favorite travel toys for toddlers. We keep one in the car and always bring them along to places like the doctor’s office and restaurants. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A picnic play set and shape sorter all in one

LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket, available at Walmart, Buy Buy Baby, and Amazon, from $20.99

 This picnic play set is one of our favorite toys for 1-year-olds. It teaches toddlers concepts like shapes, colors, manners, and sharing. The basket includes a shape sorter, two cups, two forks, two plates, six food items, and a picnic blanket. 

Recommended ages: 6 months to 3 years

A doll to love and care for

wee baby stella

Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella, available at Buy Buy Baby, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Amazon, from $16.99

This doll can grow with children as they move through different developmental stages. Toddlers can practice caring skills and strengthen their fine motor skills by removing and replacing the doll’s binky as well as changing its clothes. At 12 inches tall, Wee Baby Stella is also a great size for toddlers. 

Recommended ages: 1 year and up

A starter dollhouse

child playing with melissa and doug wooden dollhouse

Melissa & Doug Fold and Go Wooden Dollhouse, available at Amazon and Walmart, $50.14

Dollhouses can keep toddlers entertained for hours as they imagine new scenarios and practice everyday skills. The set comes with 11 pieces of wooden furniture and two dolls, which is a big plus as many dollhouses don’t come with dolls. 

Recommended ages: 3 to 6 years

Toddler-size crayons and coloring books

My First Toddler Coloring Book

My First Toddler Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $4.10

Crayola Jumbo Crayons, available at Walmart, $2.97

Crayola Multicultural Large Crayons, available at Amazon, $4.19

This is a simple yet exciting gift for young toddlers who are just learning how to color and develop their fine motor skills. The large pictures, numbers, letters, and shapes have thick lines, and the pages are durable. These are all characteristics that make coloring easier for toddlers. Thicker jumbo and large crayons are designed for toddlers to have success coloring. This book was one of the first coloring books I bought my toddler over a year ago, and it’s still going strong. 

Recommended ages: 1 to 3 years (coloring book); 3 years and up (crayons)

A push car with all the bells and whistles

step 2 whisper ride on car

Step2 Whisper Ride II Ride-On Push Car, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $74.99

My neighbors can’t help but smile when they see my toddler roll by in this push car. Step2 sent a review sample that we’ve been testing since the beginning of the summer. It’s still in great shape and handles hills and bumpy roads well. Some standout features include a storage trunk, a working horn, cup holders (for you and your toddler!), and a seat belt. 

Recommended ages: 18 months to 4 years

A cuddly version of everyone’s favorite Star Wars character

Star Wars Mandalorian The Child

Star Wars The Mandalorian The Child aka Baby Yoda Plush, available at Target and Kohl’s, from $19.89

Toddlers can cuddle up with quite possibly the cutest Star Wars character ever. Toys based on characters like this one give kids just enough inspiration for imaginative play scenarios without doing all the work for them. Even if you haven’t seen “The Mandalorian,” it’s hard to resist this endearing little creature.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A cleaning set so they can ‘help’ around the house

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set

Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set, available at Buy Buy Baby, Kohl’s, and Amazon, from $26.99

My daughter loves to “help” me clean around the house and this set is the perfect size for her. It comes with a pint-sized broom, mop, duster, brush, dustpan, and even a storage rack. My toddler has consistently used it for more than a year, and it’s still in excellent shape. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A doctor’s play set

B. Dr. Doctor Toy

B. Toys Toy Doctor Kit, available at Target and Amazon, from $19.99

Doctor visits can be scary, but role-playing with a play doctor kit makes them more approachable and even fun. This 10-piece kit comes with a stethoscope, otoscope, blood pressure cuff, syringe, scissors, thermometer, mirror, a pair of tweezers, a beeper, and a carry case to keep it all organized. The pager beeps and lights up, and the stethoscope makes a heartbeat sound. 

Recommended ages: 18 months and up

A Lego set for learning the alphabet

lego duplo alphabet truck

Lego Duplo My First Alphabet Truck, available at Amazon and Target, from $15.99

This Lego Duplo set encourages hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as toddlers stack blocks and move the truck around. It comes with 36 Duplo pieces, including 26 letter bricks, a truck, and 10 other bricks and figures. 

Recommended ages: 18 months and up

A customized tricycle

Radio Flyer Trike

Radio Flyer Custom Build-A-Trike, available at Radio Flyer, from $55

There’s nothing quite like a classic red tricycle. Radio Flyer sent this tricycle for me to test, and I’m impressed by its quality. Depending on how you customize it, this tricycle can grow with your child from 9 months to 5 years old. Available customization options include a classic bell, a canopy, and a footrest. What I appreciate most about it is the push handle — I use it to help my daughter learn to steer and make sure she is safe while learning to ride. 

Recommended ages: 9 months to 5 years

A set of musical instruments

B. Toys Drumroll Please Instrument Set

B. Toys Drumroll Please Instrument Set, available at Amazon, $35.99

This musical set inspires imagination and creativity. It includes a drum, two drumsticks, castanets, a whistle, a tambourine, and a shaker egg. All of the instruments fit neatly inside the drum so toddlers can take it anywhere.

Recommended ages: 18 to 36 months

A cash register with play food and money

LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register

LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register, available at Target, $19.99

My daughter and I have played many hours of “grocery store” with this set. It comes with a working cash register, eight pieces of play food, 10 coins, and a credit card. Prompts encourage kids to count coins, and buttons on the display correspond with the play food.  

Recommended ages: 2 to 4 years

A stylish play mixer for the budding chef

KidKraft Baking Set Modern Metallics

KidKraft Modern Metallics Baking Set, available at Kohl’s, $19.99

This stylish mixer can be an addition to an existing play kitchen, but it’s also ideal if you have limited space. The set comes with a mixer, a bowl, eggs, flour, sugar, milk, a baking sheet, cookies, and a working rolling pin. Toddlers can’t help but imitate daily life, and this set let my daughter “make” cookies without making a mess. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Everything they need to complete rescue missions

Paw Patrol Rescue Rev Up Vehicle with Mystery Dinosaur Figure

Paw Patrol Dino Rescue Rev Up Vehicle with Mystery Dinosaur Figure, available at Amazon, $10.29

For less than $15, this toy comes with a figurine, a vehicle, and a surprise dinosaur egg. Choose from six different Paw Patrol characters: Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Skye, and Zuma. Each vehicle has a rev-up motor and a working tool.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

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