Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Toddlers

Holiday shopping for toddlers can be a bit tricky. They’ve outgrown basic baby toys and in most cases, are way too young for all the popular and full-sized toys. Our picks are somewhere in the middle. They still promote fine and gross motor development, while also bringing in imagination, pretend play, and body movement.

Here are our recommendations for toddlers, 1-3 years:

Fat Brain Toys Spin Again Kids Stacking Toy

Why we love it:
Not all stackers are created equal. This one by Fat Brain Toys has a corkscrew which slows down the speed of the ring as it descends, promoting visual attention. It also has the option to switch from a sturdy base to a wobbly one, challenging your child’s hand-eye coordination. The pole can be removed, letting all the rings fall off, fostering problem-solving skills to put it back together.


Melissa & Doug Latches Barn

Why we love it:
This toy not only provides the opportunity for pretend play but encourages functional fine motor skills while doing it. The barn has six brass-hinged doors with working latches and locks (as seen in real life) with four farm animal figurines (cow, pig, goat, horse) as its residents. When your kid is done playing, they can easily pack up the animals into the barn and neatly place it on the shelf to play with another time. This is a much more open-ended version of the usual latchboards.


LEGO DUPLO Steam Train

Why we love it:
This train set has all the bells and whistles while still promoting pretend play and creativity. For one, the tracks can be altered and rearranged in multiple ways AND can be attached with other LEGO Duplo train sets. Because it’s LEGO, building the train, station, and other parts challenges your kid’s motor planning, visual perceptual/motor, and fine motor skills. It also includes five action bricks that can be laid onto the tracks to change up what the train will do (change directions, turn its lights on/off, honk horn, stop, pause to refuel). Oh, and it has the option to download their app to make it MORE interactive than it already is. 


Fisher-Price Bounce And Spin Puppy

Why we love it:
As your toddler gains more control of their body, they will seek out different ways to move it. Toys and objects that feed their vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (body awareness) systems become a go-to. This bounce and spin toy lets your kid do just that, strengthening their balance and coordination as they ride. It also plays educational songs, sounds, and phrases with interactive buttons and lights. Fun fact: Movement helps kids retain information as well as support speech and language.

Radio Flyer Busy Buggy Ride-on

Why we love it:
Ride-on toys help challenge and build lower limb coordination and strength. This buggy imitates the fine motor components of a car (moving gears in the front, clicking spare wheel in the back, turning key, and folding side view mirrors), encouraging imaginative play and building fine motor skills. Also, it’s got storage under the seat for snacks or whatever else they want to take on their “road trip.”

Stocking Stuffers

Toddlers can now actually open gifts during the holidays, so totally try wrapping little things to keep the excitement. Along with these recommendations, also add in toiletries, hair accessories, socks, cups/water bottles, etc.


All of the linked items can also be found on our Child(ish) Advice Holiday Gift Guide Amazon List.
Next week, we’ll be sharing our gift guides for PreK/Elementary kids and alternative gifting.

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