10 terrifically fun holiday toys for toddlers

by Melissa Jaramillo

toddler gifts 2012It's easy to find gifts for toddlers. They love anything they see...want to grab...bounce around...or tear apart!

The main challenge or issue can be that most of these items lose their luster after about 45 seconds. While the child doesn't have ADD, the concept of "Ooooh shiny!" applies here!

The key to successful toddler gift giving is presenting something that the child will not only be "wowed" by, but the parents appreciate as well! If you're buying a toy for a friend or relative remember this: If it makes too much noise, annoying or otherwise, you'll be put on the "bad" list!

10 terrifically fun holiday gifts for toddlers

Walk or ride toys

Toddlers are little people toddling along. Full-on walking or just giving it a try, a ride on or push toy can help your little one master the art. There are so many styles available, but the most impressive are the ones that convert from walker to rider with just a few easy steps.


Those little hands are for more than just holding! As they grow into little "people" they're able to manipulate toys with more dexterity. A sturdy set of blocks will have them stacking, balancing and throwing with delight! All of these activities develop critical thinking skills!

Kitchen gadgets

No, not the blender! But do give them a spoon, a plastic bowl or some pots and pans. Noise is just fantastic to a tot, and even more amazing if they're the one's making it!

Toy cars

Why oh why are toy cars so fascinating? Because they move roll and function! They spark a lifelong love affair with all things wheels! Don’t discount the girls, mom and dad! They love cars as much as the boys! Go for the larger, brighter chunkier cars versus the smaller Hot Wheel style.

Chunky puzzles

Easily grabbed, manipulated and fairly inexpensive, chunky wooden puzzles not only spark fun, they have staying power. This great gift encourages parent and child play as well.

Board or flap books

Books are magical. Each page offers more than the next, surprise after surprise. When their little fingers finally allow them to turn those pages on their own, it makes the experience that much more intense! Look for sturdy books with simple pictures and bright colors. Whenever you can, read with your child!

Boxes -- from the gifts!

Cheap, easy and fun! An empty box, big or small can be a race car, a house or even a bed for their dolls. Toddlerhood bring about imagination. Giving your child the opportunity to use that is the best gift you can give. Help your toddler decorate and don't forget to get on the floor and play too!


Any ball (so long as it's not too small) will cause your kid to have a "ball" any time of the day. Roll it, ride it, throw it or stow it! Beware! Playing with a ball has been known to cause giggles, laughs and even chuckles for much longer than anticipated! This might be the one toy that he or she actually looks for in the toy box!


For you it's simple science! Water and soap makes a bubble. For a toddler, bubbles are nothing short of the most amazing thing EVER. They will spend hours chasing and popping, laughing all the way! Bubbles are a little messy but that just makes it that much more fun!

Age-appropriate electronic toys

Electronic toys have really grown-up! You can mix and match products and services -- some even have online components for those early 'net users! While they can never replace actual hands-on play, they can help boost learning skills!

What will you be buying this year? Any toys you wouldn't add to the list?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.


Jules's picture

Submitted by Jules on

Would that be the best gift according to the toddler or the best gift according to the mom? Those might be mutual exclusive terms. lol As a tot, one of my boys received that tool box with pegs that you hammer down, then flip it over and hammer them down again...over and over and over and... He loved it. Me, not so much. After listening to BLAM! BLAM! hour after hour (or so it seemed) I was ready to take the hammer after the gifter.

We're a bit low on toddlers this year, but if I were buying gifts for that age, I'd probably steer clear of electronic toddler toys and opt for activity toys.