Buying gifts for toddlers can be tough if you are looking for something unique (but not too expensive). Maybe it’s an ego thing or maybe it’s just wanting something a little different, but I LOVE when people come for a playdate and their kids get to interact with toys that aren’t usually found in other households.
In this list, I focused on many things (most fit into almost all the categories!):
- Quality: The item needs to be amazing quality and able to withstand toddler play.
- Aging-up: A lot of toys out there are played with and then are discarded by toddlers. Items should, hopefully, be something you can reintroduce later to re-spark interest (and new learning opportunities).
- Educational value: Toddlers learn mostly through play. If you are going to pay a little more for unique toys, they should provide a clear educational element.
- Reviews: Verify that other buyers have absolutely loved the product
- Price: No item should exceed $50 (though a lot are well below that amount).
- Shipping time: While I want to support small businesses, I also don’t want to have to wait a month before an item even ships!
Let’s get to it!
This busy board is amazing! There are tons of latches to learn and fiddle with. My toddler goes to a local children’s museum that has a wall full of latches – and he loves it! This board is recommended for kids age 2 and up.
This is a nice alternative to the busy board listed above. It’s a small, travel busy board for long car rides, travel or just if you need something a little smaller. Some latches open so that a child may put items inside the box. It measures 2.5 inches square. This one is pink, but WoodenToysStore also has a blue color.
I may end up getting all of the colors with these fun puzzles. They are color themed and can age up with words and even letters under the puzzle pieces (see image below). There are 6 colors to choose from (red, orange, green, blue, purple and yellow). Recommended for ages 18 months and over and measure 12″x12″. Meets all U.S. safety requirements.
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After seeing items like this, I tried to make one myself. Needless to say, a lot of work goes into making these pretend gardens! I am truly amazed this seller can offer this at such a low price to us parents. It comes with 3 felt carrots, 2 felt beets, 2 Romaine lettuce hearts, wood crate (approximagely 12x9x4.5″) and 4 felt dirt rows for planting.
My son loves his!
I don’t know about your kids, but my son loves to play with pretend tools! He will go around the house and try to fix everything he can find (including hammering everything…). This toddler tool belt is perfect for his pretend tools. The belt comes with 3 fully lined pouches and 2 hammer loops. It has a plastic closure and fits kids ages 2-7. Plus, it’s made of durable canvas fabric so you can throw it in the washing machine!
By MyBusyBots (UK)
Busy bags are an amazing way to keep your kids occupied while you need to do chores, make dinner or just get something done. This collection comes with 4 bags: Monster teeth (recognizing colors), pinch a pompom (fine motor skills), “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie” (alphabet) and match your stick (explore shapes). Recommended for kids ages 3-8. These bags come from the UK, but the shipping cost is still very low!
My local children’s museum has a section of game and toys for young kids to explore. One of my toddler’s favorites is a balancing toy like this one. He loves to watch it fall over (and laughs hysterically). These toys help teach your toddler about weight balancing, fine motor skills and physics. Not to mention the lesson of patience and perseverance! Recommended for ages 2 and up.
By mielasiela (Lithuania)
This set of stacking wild animals is similar to the balancing toy listed above, but adds a blocks type of element to toddler play. Stack and balance each animal to build a tower. Helps with fine motor skills, learning perseverance and problem solving. The seller is in Lithuania, but the shipping charges are comparable to the US!
I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t enjoy capes. UpcycledThreadsCo offers tons of cute designs and personalize the cape with your child’s name! They have a hook and loop closure (velcro).
I’m seriously in love with adding to my child’s play kitchen foods. playfoodcreative even offers 4 types of pizza to choose from, and the pizza comes with a pizza box!
These fun aprons come in so many designs it’s hard to choose which one to get your child. These are geared a little more toward girls, though my son has many items that are “girly” and he doesn’t mind!! Use one of these aprons in the kitchen or during pretend play. Plus, these aprons can be personalized with your child’s name (with additional fee). Machine washable and available in 3 sizes.
By A JoyFul Bow
Can you say adorable?! This puppet set comes with 9 finger puppets (as pictured above). They are made out of good quality, wool felt and measure about 4″ x 3″. Plus, the holes are big enough for adult fingers!
This is a busy bag (like the ones listed at the beginning of this post) for kids to match patterns on cards to the large wood nuts and bolts. This busy bag helps with pattern recognition and fine motor skills. Comes with 16 patterns , 4 large wooden bolts (3″ long) and 4 bolts. The seller says the cards are thick, laminated and “classroom tough” so they should hold up to little hands.
Even though my toddler is now 3-years-old, he still plays with this exact set of stacking cups! They are great in the bath (have holes in the bottom to create “waterfalls”). There are large numbers and animals embossed on the bottom of the cups. Plus, you will get your child’s name on the side!
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