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Article: Your Guide to the Ultimate 5 Best Toddler Toys

best toddler toys, unique gifts for 2 year olds

Your Guide to the Ultimate 5 Best Toddler Toys

At Piccalio, our enthusiasm for baby gear drives us to independently curate our favorite products. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, Piccalio may earn a commission.


Shopping for toddlers can be challenging. Toddlers are notorious for their strong opinions and short attention spans, which makes finding the perfect gift difficult. If you’re looking for cool toys for kids, you’ve come to the right place! We’re here to help you sort through gift ideas and find the best toddler toys for your special little one.

How to Choose the Best Toddler Toy

When trying to find the best toddler toy, it's essential to consider the audience. Toddlers are “toddlers” because they’re just beginning to walk. At this age, they toddle around, a bit unsure of their steps. Yet, it’s their natural tendency toward achieving mobility that makes toddlers enthusiastic walkers, climbers, and dancers.

Toddlers are also famous for declaring “I want to do it all by myself!” As Maria Montessori noticed, children in this age group work hard to become independent. They feel an innate need to assert their independence. From dressing themselves to feeding themselves, toddlers try to do everything on their own.

What does this mean when choosing the best toys for 18 month old children?

Basically, it means the best toddler toys help toddlers meet their needs for movement and independence. Choose toys that encourage physical activity such as rocking, swinging, hopping, balancing, or climbing. Or, opt for unique gifts for 2-year-olds such as child-sized furniture that allows them to play, cook, and eat independently. 

Other cool toys for kids include building blocks, board games, and educational toys. These toys help children to build their problem solving skills and hand eye coordination.

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Tips and Tricks for Choosing the Best Toddler Toy

Every toddler is unique, which means they will have different favorite toys and preferences. Here are our top tips for selecting the best toddler gift:

Get the Inside Scoop

If you're purchasing a gift for a toddler you know well, think about their interests. Many toddlers have intense interests and preferences. For example, some might love dinosaurs, while others enjoy playing with balls or stuffed animals. Yet others might always be on the move, looking for a new piece of furniture to climb.

Use your knowledge of the toddler's personality and interests to choose the ideal toy. If you don't know the toddler well, contact their parents. Asking for advice and opinions about the best toddler toy can help ensure your gift is a hit.

Go Low-Tech

Experts agree that too much screen time is harmful for toddlers. Additionally, simple, wooden toys and play sets offer more educational opportunities. What's more, these simple toys encourage creativity.

Toddlers also play longer when fewer toys are available. Make sure these toys are of the highest quality to promote your toddler's development.

What to Avoid

Some toys are best to avoid because of safety reasons. Toddlers may still put small parts of toys in their mouths. Button batteries are particularly dangerous. Instead, opt for toys that don't have small parts.

Also, choose toys made with non-toxic, safe materials. Toddlers will likely "mouth" the toy. This is the way toddlers learn more about textures and tastes.

Piccalio's products are Greenguard Gold Certified, meeting a high standard for safety. Tested for hundreds of compounds, you can purchase our toddler toys with confidence.

The 5 Best Toddler Toys

We chose these toys based on the benefits they offer toddlers. While some of these are best for toddlers, many of them are excellent toys and gifts for kids of all ages. Here are our favorite toys for toddlers:

1. Best Toddler Toy Overall: Pikler Triangle Set


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Hungarian pediatrician, Dr. Emmi Pikler developed the Pikler Triangle. She designed it as a safe space for babies and toddlers to work on their gross motor skills. Plus, have you ever met a toddler who didn’t love to climb? That’s what makes this one of the best toys for 18 month olds.

However, keep in mind it’s a great toy to grow into! Ideal for children up to 6 years of age, who will still enjoy climbing up to the peak and then flying down the slide.

This toy also encourages children to use their imaginations and enjoy pretend play! Put a blanket over the Pikler triangle and it becomes a tent. Or, pretend it is a big mountain to climb. Toddlers can play for hours with this great wooden toy.  

Worried about bumps and bruises? Use a play mat under your Pikler triangle as a soft landing. Or, use it on a carpeted surface.

2. Best Unique Gift for 2-year-olds: Mini Chef Convertible Helper Tower

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Toddlers love to help in the kitchen! Whether they play in soap suds at the kitchen sink or help whisk up some eggs, they love it. However, one common barrier to getting involved is the height of countertops. A helper tower solves this problem by giving toddlers safe access to the action in the kitchen.

Plus, did you know that your purchase of a helper tower comes with a free wooden cutter? That means your mini chef will be ready to cut, chop, and slice with a child-safe knife. The convertible helper tower also turns into a table and bench in just a few quick moves. Toddlers love having their own child-sized table and bench for eating their creations! 

3. Best Cool Toy for Kids: Surfer Balance Board


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Get ready to rock and roll with the surfer board! The surfer is a fun wooden toy that helps toddlers develop balance and gross motor skills. Whether they walk over it upside-down as a bridge or rock back and forth, toddlers love playing with this toy.

Toddlers need lots of sensory input for their growing brains and bodies. During infancy and early years, toddlers develop their proprioceptive and vestibular senses. These senses help us know where we are, how our body parts are in relation to each other, and achieve balance. Activities like swinging or rocking on the balance board help children develop these senses.

The balance board is also a perfect toy for those rainy days when you can’t go to the park. Wouldn’t it make a great unique gift for a 2 year old?

4. Best Toy for Gross Motor Skills: Acrobat Balance Beam

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Have you ever noticed how young children love walking along logs, curbs, or even a painted line? Bring that fun indoors with our acrobat balance beam set. It includes 4 beams and 5 connectors so that your toddler can also get some fine motor skill practice when putting the pieces together.

It’s definitely on the list of cool toys for kids. With it, children can also create shapes or pretend that the beam is a highway for cars and trucks.  

5. Best Gift for Real Life: Apron and Hat Set

best toddler toys, unique gifts for 2 year olds

When browsing new toys 2024, don't miss our apron and hat set. Young children love playing dress-up and pretending to be firemen, doctors, and even chefs. An apron and hat can make cooking and baking even more exciting. Plus many toddlers will enjoy role-playing while wearing an apron and hat.

Encourage your toddler to enhance their vocabulary by pretending to talk like a chef. Or, they might try creating their own recipes.

This adorable apron and hat set can help the mini chef in your life stay clean while they work. Available in High Tide Blue, Peachy, or Oat Cream, there’s a perfect apron and hat set for your toddler. 

The Bottom Line on the Best Toddler Toy

The options for toddler toys are virtually unlimited. Yet, not all toys offer the same benefits. Ultimately, the best toddler toy is one that is durable, fun, and encourages the toddler’s growth and creativity.

Any of the above toys fit the bill. Which will you choose? 

Let us know which toddler toys are your favorite in the comments below. We look forward to hearing which toys your toddler loves best.

Posted in: 12 - 18 months, 18 Months - 3 Years, Playroom

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