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You loved my 10 Toys Your Toddler Will Love (it was one of my most popular posts of 2020!), so I'm back with a new post, almost a year later. My child is obviously a bit older now, and has some new interests. These are the toys my little one is obsessed with right now. Of course, he is still interested in the toys on that last list, so be sure to check it out, too.
This list contains a number of educational options, as well as fun movement and art options. With it being cold and snowy in my part of the country, having tons of activities to choose from has been a lifesaver. Where relevant, I've included some of the activities we do using these products. So, without further ado, here is the roundup!
10 of the Best Toys for 2 and 3 Year Olds
Melissa and Doug Train Sets
My little one has been loving playing with his train sets (we have both of the sets below, plus an activity table). The toys build fine motor skills (i.e. putting tracks together), STEM skills (testing how to built elevated tracks, learning about cause and effect through working with the magnets and the swivel bridge), vocabulary skills, and imaginative play skills, making them perfect as an educational toy, too.
Some of the best vocabulary these sets can be used for are teaching relationship concepts and words, such as over, under, in, on, etc. These are difficult concepts for young children to begin with, so having visual aides is a huge help! Plus, the sets have the quality you expect from Melissa and Doug toys.
2. Play Food Sets
My little one loves his play food sets. Along with the Fisher Price food truck and thekitchen set we have, my child has been loving his ice cream parlor set. We paired it with kinetic sand for extra fun!
My child loves all things dinosaurs, but his favorite by far has been this amazing, educational dinosaur toy from Learning Resources. The toy builds color awareness and vocabulary, shape awareness and vocabulary, and fine motor skills. Other dinosaur toys he is obsessed with right now? The Melissa and Doug Dinosaur Party set, and his big T-Rex stuffed animal (also from Melissa and Doug, predictably; it is currently out of stock, but you can check back if interested here).
Of course Play-Doh would make an appearance on this list! It is a great sensory activity for young kids, and this truck builds find motor skills, too!
5. Mega Bloks
I've written before about why blocks are a great educational toy, so it isn't surprising that we have tons of them in our home. This Mega Bloks Peek a Blocks Amusement Park was a Christmas gift from my child's uncle (an industrial designer and inventor, no joke!), and it is a great activity to help build awareness about several different simple machines (specifically a lever and an inclined plane)!
6. Magnet Toys
Magnets are an excellent STEM toy, and these PicassoTiles are a lower cost (but durable) substitute for expensive MagnaTiles.We love using them for testing cause and effect, working on basic engineering skills, and discussing relational, shape, and color vocabulary!
7. Animal Play Sets
My child is obsessed with animals, so our home is filled with tons of animal toys. One of my child's favorites is the Battat Big Red Barn. It comes with 4 animals and a farmer, as well as the barn. My child spends tons of time playing imaginary games with the set!
Another favorite activity? Playing vet! My child loves his Melissa and Doug vet kit, and "fixing" his kitty and puppy.
8. Reusable Vinyl Sticker Sets
Tired of buying stickers only to have your child go through them quickly and need to buy more? We love vinyl stickers for this reason! My child loves playing with stickers, which means traditional options are an expensive choice (if you don't have sticker piles on paper, are you even a toddler/preschool parent?!). And what about stickers all. over. everything. Vinyl stickers stick to a ton of surfaces, but come off. Plus, these Melissa and Doug sticker pads come with great scenes that your child can use to mix and match during play. Huge score for my kid, for me, and for my furniture!
9. Active Movement Toys
My child is still obsessed with all the active movement toys included on last year's list, but we've added a few new items (including a Nugget couch and a new swing set!). Here are some of the other great new additions to our collection!
A balance bike can be a great way to start getting a child ready to move on to a real bike... and get moving! Make sure to get a helmet, too! My child absolutely love his Velo balance bike, and all his cousins have had one, too. While it is a bit too cold and snowy to use it at the moment, we look forward to spring so we can pull it out again!
PS: Nugget not in your budget? Check out the blocks I put on last year's list. We still use them a lot, and they are on many Nugget alternative round up lists I've seen! You can also add extra sets to get even more building capacity!
We also have a Little Tykes Mini Trampoline with a stability bar that my child absolutely loves. Why no link, then? Because the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend them. Not even mini ones! Why do we have one, then? In consultation with our child's therapy team, we decided (with adequate supervision and in following other recommendations for trampoline use from the American Academy of Pediatrics) that the risks of a mini trampoline were less than the risks of the other places my child was finding to bounce. Our home has specific factors that influenced our decision. Considering one for your home, too? Speak with your child's pediatrician first! There are many, many ways for children to stay active! .
10. Art Supplies
Looking to elevate your child's art supplies beyond the standard crayons and markers? My child loves his tabletop easel! It is great for painting, coloring, and comes with a white board, roll of paper, magnets, and chalk board! We have also paired Crayola markers, crayons, and finger paint, the Melissa and Doug vinyl stickers seen above, and Melissa and Doug animal magnets with the easel for even more fun!
Aside from fostering creativity, art activities are great for teaching fine motor skills, vocabulary, and color awareness, and this product offers letter magnets to help with teaching letter awareness and basic literacy skills such as phonological awareness!
I hope you'll find this roundup as helpful as last year's! Have an idea to add? Comment and share!
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May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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