Find the best toddler toys and gifts across the most popular categories to make shopping for the kids so much easier—and faster. With budget-friendly bikes, play kitchens, play food, tea sets, dollhouses, magna tiles, bath toys, cooking sets, and more, this is a great place to start for the holidays and birthdays.
I’m on a mission to narrow down the most common toddler toy categories to the top picks to help all of us busy parents be able to make fast choices that deliver on quality and affordability. Because shopping for toys and gifts is fun, but shouldn’t require a rabbit hole of internet searching every time we want to pick up a new set of bath toys!
Here are my very favorite toys for toddlers for gifts, toddler Christmas gifts, kids birthday gifts, outdoor play, getting kids in the kitchen, and more.
They’ve all been vetted by real parents to ensure they work and last. And by kids for maximum fun.
(My toddler stocking stuffers list is also available for usable, fun options.)
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Best Play Kitchen
Priced at under $60, this kitchen set manages to be both modern and retro. So f you want something with a burst of color, but that’s not too bright and flashy, this is a good option.
I love Hape products as they are made of solid wood, are super durable, and are easy to clean.
TIP: Find more options for kids play kitchen sets.
Best Play Food
Learning about food groups while having fun? That’s a definite win! This set of 21 hand-painted foods–including cheese, watermelon, tomatoes, fish, and much more–comes with four wooden crates for sorting, storing, stacking, and fine motor skills development.
And it’s usually under $20.
TIP: Find my full list, with felt and cutting sets, of the best play food.
Best Play Dishes
Party of four, your table is ready! This set of four place settings includes cups, plates, bowls, forks, spoons, and knives—so your kids have everything they need to set a table that looks just like the real deal.
It’s all also BPA, phthalates, and PVC-free and made from recycled plastic. (They’re even dishwasher safe, in case your kiddo happens to eat a real snack off them, too.)
Best Toddler Shopping Cart
If you’re looking for a wooden cart, you can’t beat this one from Hape. The frame is made from certified-sustainable wood that’s colored with water-based paint, and the wide-set wheels and heavier construction make it a great buy for beginner walkers.
I love the design and the colors! (And the price–it’s usually less than $50.)
TIP: Find my 6 top toddler shopping carts.
Best Toddler Tea Set
With two color ways available, including this one above and a red and blue one, this plastic tea set is made with recycled, BPA-Free, and Phthalates-Free material so it’s safe for the kids. It includes 17 pieces in total with a tea pot, sugar bowl with lid, 4 tea cups and saucers, a creamer cup, and 4 spoons.
It’s incredibly durable, perfectly sized for toddlers, and inexpensive. I love it because you can use it for pretend with dolls or stuffies, AND real play!
TIP: Find my full list of the best toddler tea sets.
This is my favorite dollhouse and the one that we’ve had for four years. It’s incredibly durable with its wood construction, easy to wipe clean, and has a lot of options for play with all of the included accessories. It’s a great gift for 2-year-olds an up.
It may be an investment, but it’s one that will last.
I also love that it’s seriously easy to pick up and move—you can hold it with one hand through the two little holes at the top. There are a ton of accessories to go with it too.
TIP: Find my full list of toddler dollhouses for every budget.
Best Manga Tiles
These magnetic tiles are my absolute favorite kids toy. I love them because they are insanely durable and impossible to break, are incredibly versatile, are easy for kids of all ages to use, and inspire so much creativity. Little fingers can move and stack the tiles of this play set easily. (And they’re large enough that they’re not considered a choking hazard.)
This is a great starter set to have a lot of pieces to build and create with priced at just over $100—and it will last so siblings can use them. (They also make less expensive smaller sets like this 32 piece one too.)
TIP: If you already have Magna Tiles and are looking for a fun add on, these square Magna Tile Qubix are RAD. My kids use them in pretend play and building almost daily.
Best Toddler Balance Bike
This sustainably made bike is less than $80 and works as a trike and balance bike so a one year old can safely use it and grow with it until they’re at least 3. This is a perfect pick for a little one who’s eager to ride, but isn’t quite big or coordinated enough for a regular balance bike. This is one of the best toys for 1-year-olds.
My youngest has been OBSESSED with this since 14 months!
Here’s a fun, multi-use addition to your playroom! This indoor trampoline, with its covered springs and cushioned handlebar, also features a plush ladybug design that comes off and can be used as a floor pillow.
We love how useful that is for taking your kids from playtime to movie night.
TIP: Find more toddler trampolines (with safety tips).
Best Toddler Cookbook
You know I had to add my new cookbook to this list! Each of these easy recipes helps teach kids to have fun and play with food, while laying a foundation for basic kitchen skills and food exposure. It’s bright, easy to understand, and a perfect way to keep the kids busy and well nourished!
TIP: Find all of my favorite kids cookbooks, including picks for older kids.
Best Kids Cooking Tools
I had to make this category a tie since I love both of these very much. You can use the wooden spoons and bowls you already have with kids, but having kid-sized and safe cutting tools is super helpful.
The zig zag cutter is great for the first introduction to slicing and chopping starting after 16 months and the knives are great for kiddos 2.5 and up.
TIP: Find all of my favorite kids cooking tools.
Best Learning Tower
This is affordable and well-made and is durable enough to last for years through multiple kids. It’s slim in design, but sturdy enough to resist being pulled over. And it has a mesh back to help prevent falls.
It comes in a few color options too, so you can coordinate with your kitchen.
TIP: Find all of my favorite learning towers.
Best Toddler Apron
With two sizes available (including one that fits 6 m-3 years and then 3-5 years), these wipe-clean bib/aprons are so versatile—you can use them for both mealtimes and for having the kids in the kitchen since they are long enough to cover their laps.
I love their range of designs and how comfy they are for the kids to wear.
Top Toddler Craft Kit
My four year old LOVES the Koala Crate from Kiwi Co. It’s a monthly craft box that comes with 2-3 projects or games, a little booklet to read about the topic of the box, and illustrated instructions.
I love that everything we need is right in the box and that we can play with the projects for weeks and weeks!
TIP: Find more of my kids craft box picks.
Best Toddler Bath Toys
We LOVE this set since each has holes on the bottom, which are fun to drip out, and they’re pretty indestructible. (We also love to use these outside in our toddler pool!)
TIP: Find my full list of the best safe toddler bath toys.
Best Toddler Book about Food
This book is my favorite book about food because it’s not preachy or actually even about nutrition, but is a fun story about kids dressing up as their favorite foods—which are fairly random and silly.
It’s a great, low pressure way to talk about food away from the table that just might inspire some curiosity at mealtime.
TIP: Find my full list of favorite 30 toddler books about food.
Best Kids Stocking Stuffers
I can’t pick just one favorite toddler stocking stuffer—it’s so dependent on what the kids like! But I have 30+ picks of affordable options for toddler Christmas gifts to help streamline things for you.
TIP: Find my full list of the best Stocking Stuffers here.
I will be updating this post throughout the season, so feel free to pin it and check back regularly. You can also see all of my toddler toys and gifts posts.
This post was first published November 2021.