TOYS for toddlers encompass a wide range of different items and interests, since the toddler phase is typically considered to last between 12 and 36 months old.
The best toys for toddlers offer something for kids who fall anywhere in that age range; we've based our picks on our own personal favourites and on the recommendations of other satisfied parents.
The toddler stage is an incredibly cute – and chaotic – time in your child’s life.
Toddlers love running around, making up stories, playing games and discovering new places, whether it’s the park or a pool.
The best toys for toddlers involve learning and exploration, whether you’re reading them their favourite rhyming books or they’re learning to throw (and chew) a ball.
Toddlers love to get messy: water play with funnels and bottles, painting, cutting and crafting, pretend baking and real baking are all ways to get them using their hands and developing those muscles for writing (cutting is crucial for this).
The toddler stage is also the time when children start to get excited about building, and receive those first Lego Duplo sets and Brio trains.
These are toys that will keep toddlers curious and motivated for months and even years to come.
Toddlers also love – LOVE – wheels, so anything they can push, whether a toy buggy, walker, toy grocery cart or wagon with blocks will be a hit.
1. Best imaginative play toddler toy
- Wooden Play Kitchen, £89.95 at KidKraft - buy here
A play kitchen inspires hours of fun for your toddler, and gets them excited about cooking in the real world.
KidKraft is the go-to brand for wooden kitchens with realistic-looking parts, like knobs that turn and cupboards that open and shut.
Even though older toddlers can get more out of a toy kitchen in terms of imaginative play, your walking one-year-old will love banging the pots and pans and pulling open the doors to unload everything that's inside.
Which reminds us: a stylish toy kitchen is a fabulous place to stash away any toy mess you need to quickly get out of sight.
2. Best ride-on toddler toy
- Wheelybug Bee, £45.95 at Amazon - buy here
Toddlers absolutely love this ride-on toy, which moves in any direction and is made from plywood and padded PU.
It's a great transitional toy for toddlers beginning to walk, and there is a larger size available to grow with them.
3. Best electronic toddler toy
- LeapFrog 2 in 1 Laptop Touch, £29.99 at Argos - buy here
When it comes to electronic toys, it can be tricky to find the right balance (not too noisy and annoying, not too cumbersome, not too complicated).
LeapFrog's laptop is the most brilliant electronic toy we've had, and has the rather remarkable ability to entertain a 3.5-year-old as well as a toddler who's two years younger.
It also does ABCs, 123s, games and songs, plus it can convert to a tablet so it's easily transportable.
4. Best toddler toy under £10
- TOMY Toomies Hide & Squeak eggs, £7.98 at Amazon - buy here
If you're thinking that you've seen this egg carton toy in every playgroup and nursery you've set foot in, you probably have.
It's got such universal appeal, and toddlers find countless different ways to play with the eggs (which feature different facial expressions, shapes and colours, and make a "cheep-cheep" sound when you place them in the carton correctly).
They are also very durable.
5. Best toddler pushing toy
- Dolls World stroller, £14.49 at Amazon - buy here
Girls and boys love imitating mum and pushing the pushchair along with their special doll or animal inside.
This cheap-and-cheerful stroller can be easily transported and even taken on walks since it folds down easily.
It's also useful for helping support unsteady toddlers learning to walk.
6. Best all-rounder toddler toy
- Lego DUPLO Creative Fun building bricks, £29.99 at Argos - buy here
We don't need to tell you how brilliant Lego is, and Lego DUPLO is even better because there aren't any of those tiny pieces that hurt so much when you inevitably step on them.
While pretty much any DUPLO set will be good depending on your child's interests (you can even get super-specific ones like Disney's Cinderella or Jake and the Neverland Pirates), we'd recommend this Creative Fun starter set which will introduce your toddler to Lego in all different shapes, colours and sizes.
It will encourage them to do some independent playing and building, rather than just following the instructions to build something specific.
7. Best train set for toddlers
- Brio My First Railway beginner pack, £29.99 at Amazon - buy here
Brio train sets are gorgeous, durable, high-quality and spell fun for years to come.
One thing they're not? Cheap, so we'd recommend putting them on every Christmas and birthday list from now on.
8. Best toddler walker toy
- VTech First Steps baby walker, £29.99 at Smyths Toys - buy here
Even parents who have sworn off plastic can't resist this VTech walker, which is easily the best toy for toddlers in the 12-18-month range (it's ideal for babies who are beginning to walk as it provides stability for them). A removable activity panel has lights, music and lots of buttons to push and cogs to turn.
9. Best books for toddlers
- £12.99 for 10 books at The Book People - buy here
Julia Donaldson's captivating rhymes are perfect for toddlers who will quickly start memorising the words to stories like The Gruffalo's Child and Room on the Broom.
This handy set includes a tote and other Julia Donaldson titles like Cave Baby and Tyrannosaurus Drip for the next stage of your child's reading journey.
10. Best toy for crafting
- Henmi non-toxic finger crayons, £7.69 for 12 at Amazon - buy here
Not only do toddlers love crafting, but from an educational perspective, drawing and cutting are great for developing a toddler's fine motor skills and future writing ability.
Parents love these non-toxic chunky crayons, which are easy for toddlers to draw with and completely safe to chew.
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