Our Favorite Toddler Toys

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Generally speaking, I’m a big fan of basic toys. Open-ended toys tend to get a lot of long-term use in our home. They’re the ones that will occupy your toddler in independent play for more than 15 minutes, so I treasure them. I’ve done my best to narrow it down to our most used, most favorite toys for this post, but there are plenty more that get played with in our home.

LeapFrog My Own Leaptop
Wow, the first one on this list makes noise! I know, I know. But hear me out. This thing is the most basic of electronics, and somehow holds my kid’s attention for several minutes while teaching her letters and sounds. It’s fairly small, so great to take on car trips and fits in her tiny backpack. It even comes in pink, if you’d like that.

Rainbow Counting Bears
Oh my goodness, these bears. These bears have been sorted so many times. They come with matching cups (and it looks like the updated listing includes scoop tongs – neat!) so your toddler can have the satisfaction of color sorting. They can also line the bears up in a pattern, and just use their imagination. These bears are used frequently in those fun instagram activities you see.

Melissa & Doug Solid-Wood Building Blocks
These are your standard, heavy, quality building blocks. Your toddler will need to learn how to stack and build, and while there are alllll sorts of building blocks out there (MegaBlocks, Duplos, etc.) these are the ones that will teach them to stack and balance.

Sesame Street Elmo’s On the Go Letters
Toddlers love it because it’s a puzzle and briefcase in one. I love it because we can talk about the letters while we move them around. There’s even a space on the bottom to spell out short words! Not to mention, Sesame street characters hiding behind the letters. E is for Elmo!

Boogie Board
This is basically going to be your magnadoodle, but much smaller and thinner. It’s an LCD writing tablet, but we use it as a toy. Because it’s so small, it’s easy to pack up for a car ride or entertaining Charlotte at a restaurant. I’ve drawn so many dogs on this thing.

Spark Kitchen Sink
Even though I have this linked on amazon, I’ve heard the best place to buy this is Wal-Mart. This thing is awesome. You put water in the bottom, and a pump brings it up through the faucet, and whatever your toddler doesn’t splash out drains back down into the bottom. Have towels nearby.

Step2 Water Table
These get updated, changed, and sold out so often, I’m not going to link it. But a water table is 100% worth having during warmer weather! You will kill at minimum half an hour with this thing (for those of you without toddlers, that’s a lot). Don’t overthink it; just get a cheap one (they’re usually under $50). You can get a larger one if you have multiple kids, or you can often find one secondhand for even less!

Playskool Sit ‘n Spin
This was one of my favorite toys to play with when I was in preschool in the church gym. Yes, I remember it. Charlotte took to this toy right away and will spend several minutes just spinning herself around in circles.

Of course, there are many more toys we use frequently! You can find more and an (often updated) list of ours from Amazon here.

What are your toddler’s favorite toys?



  1. Emelia
    July 3, 2019 / 1:40 pm

    Bella loves her water table and food truck and shopping cart. Those bears are getting added to my cart right now. Thanks for sharing all these. I still Love that sink too!

    • July 3, 2019 / 2:39 pm

      Bella and her food truck are goals!! A good shopping cart is absolutely a necessity.

  2. Carly
    July 4, 2019 / 12:29 pm

    I keep going back and forth on a water table– I’m afraid he’s still too short and wouldn’t really be able to reach/use the features. The little kitchen sink is so cute– and I can see how fun that would be especially since you can actually add in water!

    • July 8, 2019 / 1:34 pm

      That one Charlotte’s using is pretty short! But you could start out with a sterilite bin on the ground.

  3. thesiberianamerican
    July 5, 2019 / 12:37 am

    We’re moving to a new place soon that has a small backyard, and I can’t wait to get a water table! I need to buy some of those bears too-Anthony recently learned all of his colors and loves sorting by color!

    • July 8, 2019 / 1:35 pm

      Oh having a backyard will be a game-changer!

  4. July 6, 2019 / 7:33 am

    I saw a similar kitchen sink awhile back and my first thought was…oh god…the mess!!!! But it looks like Char has so much fun with it! I remember my sit and spin, I need to scoop one up….and those bears too. Zoe loves her water table!!! She is a big fan of babies and shopping carts. She loads her babies up in the seat, and then fills all sorts of crap in the bottom of the shopping cart and pushes it allllll over the house.

    • July 8, 2019 / 1:36 pm

      Haha, Charlotte definitely gets soaked and sometimes water ends up on the floor… But it’s just water, so I tell myself it’s fine! Oh my gosh, any sort of basket, container, a shopping cart… This is the age where they just fill things with small things!

  5. July 6, 2019 / 12:30 pm

    Love these, thanks for sharing – I’ve been looking for more open ended toys!

    • July 8, 2019 / 1:36 pm

      Lakeshore Learning is a great place to look, too! We have a store nearby and it’s hard not to buy EVERYTHING in there.

  6. July 8, 2019 / 2:19 am

    Adding that board to Leighton’s birthday list now. I always love seeing your recommendations and the activities you are doing with Charlotte.

    • July 8, 2019 / 1:38 pm

      That thing has gotten so much use, but we’ve lost the stylus, haha! A mechanical pencil with no lead in it works well.

  7. July 11, 2019 / 9:28 pm

    OMG a friend of mine had a Sit n Spin when I was little, and I LOVED it so much! I didn’t know it was still around!

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