Toddler & Kid Toys

spring clean

These Classic Toddler Toys Have Staying Power

It's inevitable that you'll accumulate toys with plenty of flashing lights, lots of loud noises and zero volume-control switch. While those toys have a place in your child's life (preferably, you can keep some of them at Grandma's house), simple toys are just as likely to provide hours of fun. Here are must-have toddler toys that will last well beyond the preschool years.

  1. Building Toys: Whether you go with the classic wooden blocks, chunkier foam blocks, or a new classic such as Magna-Tiles, toddlers love to build and really delight in knocking down their creations. Nesting cups and blocks also offer endless playtime: See if you can build a tall tower before your toddler takes out the foundation.
  2. Pretend Play: Foster your toddler's growing imagination with toys that foster role play. Kids this age delight in copying mom or dad, so kid-sized kitchen gadgets and pretend food will allow them to cook for you for a change. Dress-up clothes let them imitate everyday super heroes like firefighters or really feel like a princess. Whether your toddler is on the road to becoming a big sibling or not, baby dolls teach toddlers empathy as they create stories around their baby's needs.
  3. Puzzles: While a new toddler might play with a puzzle by merely dumping out all the pieces, it won't be long before they're figuring out how to fit them all together. Puzzles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from chunky wooden puzzles with easy-to-grab knobs for young toddlers, to simple 12-to-24-piece jigsaw puzzles with pictures of favorite characters to entertain older ones. Also a popular choice: shape sorters, which will teach your child how to match a particular shape with its slot, in addition to being able to tell the difference between a trapezoid and a triangle.
  4. Books: Young toddlers will delight in "reading" to you from easy-to-manipulate board books. Return the favor by treating them to a daily story time, too. Stock your library with a few classics and invest in a book or two involving your child's favorite character—be it Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine, or Peppa Pig—or obsession (trucks, princesses, animals) to foster a love of reading early on. Another toddler-pleasing choice: books that allow you to touch and feel different textures or lift the flap for a game of literary peek-a-boo.
  5. Ride-On Toys: Playtime isn't limited to the playroom. Exercise your child's gross motor skills by investing in a ride-on toy to enjoy outdoors. Toddlers grow fast, so consider investing in a toy that will grow with your child like a tricycle that converts from one you push a young toddler in, to one an older toddler can pedal on their own. Introducing a balance bike at this stage can also lay the foundation for tackling a two-wheeler down the line.