For the sake of this article, toddlers are children who are from age one to age three years old. Toddlers are so much fun to shop for. Everything is new and exciting for them, even the boxes that the toys come in!!! There are so many electronic games and toys on the market for all ages but I, personally, choose to buy toys that are not electronic for this age group. There is so much more creativity and language used by the toddler that is playing with toys that are not electronic. And, there are so many good choices that one can pick that are just plain fun without the electronics! There is plenty of time for electronic toys when these children get a bit older.
Some of my favorite toys for toddlers are in the Little People series by Fisher Price. There is a lot of variety and a lot to choose from in this line of toys. My favorite is the Little People Farm. This has definitely changed over the years and, in all honesty, the older version is actually much nicer, if you can find one at a yard sale. However, if you are set on buying new, the new version is made of plastic and comes with lots of animals as well as a farmer. It is cute and colorful and fun to play with.
Along the same lines, the Little People Noah’s Ark is very cute. It only comes with a few animals but you can purchase additional animals for extended play. It is fun to have several extra sets of animals. Toddlers love to match the animals that are alike and march them onto the ark. It is a great way to act out the Biblical Story!
The classic Little People House has also changed somewhat and is not called Sweet Sounds Home because it includes electronic sounds. Again, I like the older version much better but the sounds in the newer version are not too obnoxious and still allow for creative play. In addition, the Little People School Bus, Airplane, and Train make nice additions to play. There is also a Little People Park that can be added or played with separately. I like having several Little People sets that are played with all together. It makes for more enhanced, creative play for toddlers.
Other toys that are especially good for toddlers are puzzles and blocks. When choosing puzzles, one should probably choose simple wooden puzzles with knobs on each piece. Jigsaw puzzles are generally too difficult for this set of children and they are just not as durable for those that may still put items in their mouths. Blocks are great creative toys and come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. There are soft fabric blocks for the youngest children and foam blocks for those that do not want to choose a harder material. Wooden blocks are durable and can be colorful if you choose a set that is a variety of colors and shapes. Large cardboard blocks are also a good choice if you have the space for large buildings and for storage of these large blocks.
Plush toys are generally a hit with children of this age group. And there are so many really interesting plush toys for this age group! There are toys that talk such as Elmo Knows My Name and toys that giggle and wiggle such as Tickle Me Elmo. There are plush toys by the Lamaze company that are a variety of activities on one toy such as the Multisensory Cube. Whoozit is also another cute toy that is plush and has different activities for toddlers. There are also plush toys that are just fun to hug and cuddle!
Books are a great choice for almost any age, including toddlers. It is never too early to start reading to your children. When choosing books for toddlers, board books are still generally best. For the youngest readers, mouthing may still be an issue but even by age 3 years, children are not very gentle with books yet so board books will last longer. There are many great choices for board books on the shelves these days but my all time favorites include: Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See, The Hungry Caterpillar, Spot books, Curious George books, Clifford books, and anything by Dr. Seuss, just to name a few!
I hope that these suggestions will help in your shopping endeavors. Just think of the fun YOU will have while playing with all of the great toys and with some lucky toddler!!!