From imaginative to tactile and classic to high-tech, this list is top quality gifts that will “wow” your favorite little person (and their parents, too!). Every pick is a unique, off-the-beaten path surprise that’s proven to make children age 2 to 4 smile! We know this because our moms (and their toddlers) have given their nod of approval. For each item we’ve included the reasons we love it and suggested retail. Take a look and find the right gift for your brilliant little one:
1) Wooden Acorn Color Sorting Game
Perfect for your toddler to learn sorting & colors! A counting, matching and sorting game that holds their attention because little ones love little things. They love to hold these acorns and it’s great for learning colors, early math and counting skills, as well as developing fine motor skills. Each set comes with 12 acorns and 6 bowls painted in bright rainbow colors. They only use certified, non-toxic, soy based paint but this toy requires supervision. Best for toddlers who’ve stopped putting everything in their mouths. The acorns measure 1 3/8″ tall, and the sorting bowls are 2.5″ in diameter. Get it on Etsy for $26.
2) B. Easel Does It Easel
For your toddler the budding artist! Classic construction, natural wood, beautiful B. designs. There are no mistakes, just rough drafts. Whiteboard erases easily, just wipe with a damp cloth. This double sided easel is just the right height for growing artists. Two handy trays to hold all your crayons, markers and more. Sturdy clips to hold your masterpiece in place. Two roomy storage bins will hold everything except your imagination. Dimensions: 19.125” x 20” x 41”. Sold at Target for $44
3) Wooden Tool Kit
Perfect for your little builder! This wooden toolkit includes everything your little builder needs in order to explore his or her inner carpenter! Tools are all crafted completely out of high quality wood. They come in wooden case for organized storage. Your toddler will love to play pretend with these well made tools! This item is $31 on Ali Express and ships from overseas so be sure to order at least a month in advance so you’ll get it on time!
4) ABC Picture Boards
For your toddler to learn letter sounds! These adorably illustrated boards are a great way to lay the foundation for word recognition. The child simply picks a board–the first letter of his or her name is always a good place to start–then fills in the uppercase and lowercase letters and identifies the picture. He or she can turn it over or take another board and do it all again. With so many letters (each letter in the alphabet in both uppercase and lowercase), children can find infinite ways to play! This toy will have a long lifespan, create interest when they’re little and be useful up until they start reading! Available for $19 on Melissa and Doug.
5) Handmade Magnetic Fabric Letters and Numbers
Perfect for your toddler learning letters and numbers! These adorable little fabric letters and numbers are perfect for your refrigerator or a magnetic board. They are made from fabric and each set is unique. Inside each letter is a soft batting and small magnet. There are no sharp edges or chance of a loose magnet. These are just the cutest little letters and can used to teach your child to count and spell. If handmade and one of a kind are priorities for you this is the right gift! So precious and personal! Available for $53 on Etsy.
6) Bruder Dump Truck
Excellent for your truck loving toddler! The MACK Granite Halfpipe Tip-Up Lorry is a particularly attractive combination of tipping trough and a driver’s cab. Apart from the opening doors, the driver’s cab sets itself apart by numerous details that include an opening engine bonnet and fold-able wing mirrors, while the large tipping trough combines exceptional ease of operation with stunning looks. The quality is top-notch and could be an heirloom toy that gets passed down again and again. Available at Walmart for $91
7) Dr. Doctor Kit
Get your little one interested in the world of medicine! Who better to fix a boo-boo than your toddler? B toys has a great kit for your child to play with and explore. It includes 9 doctor tools that fit right inside the kit. We love a toy that has it’s own carrying (and clean up) case. This is also a great idea if your little one has a teeny bit of doctor anxiety! Let them be the doctor and understand all the tools. Includes stethoscope with heartbeat sound, beeper with light & sound, otoscope & mirror, blood pressure cuff, syringe & scissors, and thermometer & tweezers. Dimensions: 14″ x 9″ x 7″ Reasonably priced on Amazon for $22
8) Musical Instruments Set
Nurture your budding musician! A complete rhythm instrument set in one bag gives your child everything he or she needs to lead the band. The kit comes with a zippered carrying case for easy cleanup and storage. Various instruments including maracas, tambourine, egg shakers and triangle provide a wide range of sounds. Safe and reliable for young children ages 3 and up. High quality construction that’s built to last for long time play and fun. Perfect size instruments for preschool and early elementary children in group or individual play. Available for $29 on Amazon.
9) Dino Dozer Construction Toys
Perfect for the toddler who loves trucks and dinos! Construction—with CRUNCH! Nothing gets in the way of these big, bad, wonderful dinosaurs that are as tough and toothy as their prehistoric predecessors—and dig in with dino-track treads to prove it! Does your little one love the sandbox? Dino Dozer is the next level of fun! Find it on Hearthsong for $39
10) Princess Musical Dancing Palace
Surprise your princess loving toddler! Recreate magical moments on the dance floor with Disney Princess characters Belle and Cinderella. Spin the lever to watch them spin and twirl. The “magic” happens with music, sounds and phrases like “Isn’t this music beautiful?” and your little princess will bring the pretend play to life! Look for it on Fisher-Price for $40.
11) Deluxe Vanity
So the glamour-loving toddler may practice primping! This elegant vanity includes four barrettes, two hair combs, two headbands, a flat iron, a comb, a lipstick and a play cell phone. The set also features a play hair dryer with a working fan that blows air and makes sound! Little ones enjoy watching Mommy get ready in front of the mirror. Give them a chance to try it for themselves or “help” others get gorgeous. See it at Toys R Us for $49
12) Interactive Learning System
A learning lap top just like Mommy and Daddy have! LeapStart Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten is an interactive learning system that gets kids excited about everything from counting to problem solving with fun replayable activities that teach life and school skills. With 400+ activities across a library of 16 books (sold separately), and 50 key skills per level, we’re helping kids build tomorrow’s skills today, in new imaginative ways. Learn more at Leap Frog – retails for around $39
13) Learning Tablet with Wifi
Introduce your toddler to tech! The InnoTab 3S Plus lets you learn, create and connect using a kid-safe Wi-Fi connection to the Internet. Now your child can search VTech and parent-approved websites as well as communicate in real time with Premium VTech Kid Connect™ on their very own kids’ tablet. Exchange text and voice messages, photos, drawings and fun stickers with smartphones using our exclusive app available on the App Store℠ and Google Play™. In addition to the Rechargeable Power Pack and 16 included apps, your child will have access to more than 650 additional cartridges, software and apps you can download from VTech’s Learning Lodge™. Pick one up for $79 at Vtech Kids.
14) Record & Learn KidiStudio
For the little singer/songwriter in your house! Now your toddler can perform and record like a rock star with the Record & Learn KidiStudio™ by VTech®. Be creative and explore a variety of musical instruments. Adjust the tempo and sing along to the music while recording a musical masterpiece to share with family and friends. Learn to play favorite melodies by following the lights on the light-up keyboard. You can also choose an instrument and use the keyboard to play that instrument’s different sounds. Your toddler will love to dance and have a jam session to this toy! Cost is $53 and you can learn more at Vtech Kids.
15) CAT Dump Truck
Perfect for the truck loving toddler! Ever wonder what it feels like to operate a real Cat® machine? Find out with the Caterpillar line of construction toys. You’ll experience “The Feel of Real” every time you play! This CAT 18″ Rev Dump Truck can handle even the most difficult jobs. You can use it in dirt or mud, nothing can stop this awesome CAT Truck. Shop this for $55 and more construction toys at Shop Caterpillar.
16) Playful Patterns
Guides the older toddler to learn patterns! An early childhood pre-math and pre-reading learning center in an heirloom wooden box, made of durable eco-friendly materials. Logic and spatial thinking will blossom with the 132 wooden geometric shapes and 34 progressively challenging designs. Match the design cards or create your own open-ended patterns and images. Box can double as self-contained work space. Check it out at Discovery Toys for $40
17) Gear It
Sets up toddlers to learn problem solving! With this creative, open-ended gear set, children learn about cause and effect and simple principles of mechanics. Build a base, a wall or even a cube by interlocking the bases. Then use the connectors to attach the gears, forming a chain reaction. Decorate the plates and gears with the colored pegs. Finally, turn the handle to set everything in motion with spectacular effect. Visit Discovery Toys and find it for $30
18) Motor Works
Lets your car-loving toddler FIX IT! This junior-mechanic set has a working power tool and a shop full of parts to build three free-wheeling vehicles! A motorcycle, prop plane, and race car are sized right for small hands and feature moving parts. Includes tool box, dull child-safe electric power drill and manual screwdriver, and extra screws. A great option for little tinkers and sells for $40 at Discovery Toys.
19) Personalized Puzzle Bench and Step Stool
Storage that teaches toddlers to spell their name! This wooden step stool displays your child’s name in a colorful wooden puzzle and comes with a flip step and spacious storage drawer for all a young person’s treasures. Stands 15 inches tall with step up and 8 inches tall with the step in the down position. Dimensions of the stool top are: 9 inches wide and 12 inches long. Constructed with our incredibly durable ¾ inch and 1/2 inch Baltic Birch to last a lifetime. All Step n’ Store Name Puzzle Stool finishes are water based and non-toxic. It’s a gift that will be treasured and saved. The cost is $125 and it’s available at Damhorst Toys.
20) My Work Bench
A real find for the tool loving toddler! My Workbench encourages creativity and confidence with your little builder. This big, stand-up wooden work bench includes a 37-piece tool set including tools, robot, car, nuts and bolts. Easy for little hand to pick up, turn, hammer and screw. A great ‘I can do it!’ toy. It’s a self-contained work station that will keep them busy for hours! Check it out on Alex Toys for $103
21) Little Hands Ready, Set Write and Wipe
Portable toy for developing preschool skills! Learn to write A,B,C’s and numbers with ease! This spiral-bound pad contains 19 pages of numbers and letters that wipe away for lots of practicing. Use this on long car rides or with ease in a waiting room! Contains everything you need to work on pre-k skills with your child! Moms especially appreciate having this on hand for rainy days! It can be yours to give at Alex Brands for $16
22) Artist Studio Desk to Go
A creation station for your little artist! On the go and need a sturdy surface to draw and color? Desk to Go is the perfect solution! It has a firm desk top for writing, coloring, and drawing. Side pockets hold art supplies, and then fold and fasten making it easy to carry. The beanbag-filled underside makes it comfortable for children to rest on their laps. Elastic straps keeps paper & pads in place. Best with a 9″x12″ pad but can also accommodate 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. Supplies shown sold separately. Use it wherever your child needs a desk to keep busy. A great toy when traveling – bring it on your next road trip or plane ride. Available on Alex Brands for $22
23) Magic Board and Printing Practice Cards
Inspire toddlers to write their alphabet! Printing skills improve like magic with these ingenious practice cards! Just slip the cards onto our Magic Boards (sold separately), and children trace the pre-printed letters. Plus, handy baselines let kids practice printing on their own…there’s even a simple word to reinforce letter sounds! 30 cards: 1 for each letter and 4 with the entire alphabet; 5 1/8″ x 8″. This is a fun, educational gift that keeps them engaged. Letter writing is definitely for the older toddler but Mom will be so happy to introduce this tool. And little ones still enjoy making scribbles until that time is right. Look for it at Lakeshore Learning for $37
24) Wooden Make a Cake Mixer Set
Perfect for the toddler who enjoys baking! Mix up some delicious pretend-play fun with this realistic wooden mixer. Turn dials to “adjust speed” and use the crank to turn the bowl that fits the mixer. Wooden ingredients include two pats of butter and a two-part egg, both of which have self stick tabs that can be sliced through with the child-friendly wooden knife. Follow the directions on the recipe card to make pound cake – the set includes a pound cake mix box, pretend pound cake loaf, and a cake pan. Kids three and older will love cracking, slicing, blending, and serving up pretend baked treats with this set that encourages creative thinking and imaginative play and promotes memory and number skills. It retails for $24 on Melissa and Doug.
25) Wooden Brew and Serve Coffee Set
Sharing and relaxing with mommy and daddy! Pretend-play tea parties expands to include a coffee break with this realistic wooden Brew & Serve Coffee Set for two! Lift the lid and pop in one of three coffee pods (regular, hazelnut, or mocha) and turn the knob to choose the serving size! Too hot for coffee? Add the included ice cube to make it “iced.” The 11-piece set comes with two wooden mugs, creamer, sugar, a spoon, and even a re-usable order card for budding baristas! Quality construction means endless hours of imaginative play! Get more info at Melissa and Doug – price $19
26) Little Hands Big Artist Paint Kit
For the older toddler who loves to paint! Includes 12 watercolor cakes, chubby paint brush, sponge and paint technique guide. It also includes twelve sheets for painting! Perfect for your toddler learning to express themselves and lets them create artwork for family and friends to enjoy. Approximate dimensions 9″ X 9″ X 2″. Another great item from Alex Brands for only $16
27) Little Hands Ready, Set, Bodies!
Helps toddlers see what their bodies can do! Give the gift of 8 arts and crafts projects that teach your little one what’s going on inside of them. Make a body collage, a heartbeat drum, a paper bag lung, connect the bones of a skeleton with pipe cleaners, a brain cap that shows what’s on your mind, a nutrition chart, a giant mouth to brush and learn to read without using your eyes! Recommended for children 4 years of age and older. This activity kit will keep them busy! Find it for $26 on Alex Brands.
This list was created by Cristy, a teacher herself and mom of boy/girl twins, age 2. These gift recommendations are not sponsored. Each toy made the list because our kids love it! Many of these toys we already had and in some cases we received samples to check the quality. All opinions are our own, from Cristy and our circle of “Deal”icious moms!!