When you're going down your list of gifts to buy, toddlers can be the hardest recipients to shop for. Although they can speak at this age, toddlers can't always clearly express their wants and needs So gift buying for this age range can be a bit of a guessing game. But because there are so many clever things (and people who make them) in the world, you can find gifts for toddlers that will keep them happy and — sometimes equally as important to Mom — busy enough to burn off some of that endless supply of toddler energy.
As the mother of a little boy who only recently graduated from the toddler stage, I can personally attest to the fact that choosing the right gift for your child at this age often boils down to luck. Even if you find the perfect gift, there's no guarantee your toddler will like it. These tiny beings aren't always rational, you know.
Still, it helps to go into your holiday shopping with a game plan and healthy dose of hope, and doing that is easy if you come prepared. To narrow the hunt, here are 18 gifts for toddlers that are basically sure-things for your little one.
1Construction Plate & Utensils
2Step2 WonderBall Fun House
With tunnels up top for tossing balls into to planks inside to create a "plinko" effect, this Step2 play house ($83) is every toddler's dream come true. Set it up in a safe spot where you can keep an eye out, and then listen to the symphonic sound of your child laughing and playing.
What's a Bilibo, you ask? Well, a Bilibo ($27) — which comes in eight colors, no less — is a multi-tasking toy that lets your toddler decide what play purpose it's best suited to. A swiveling seat for your toddler? Check. A rocker for their baby dolls? Check. A magic shield? Check. The sky's the limit with their imagination.
4VTech Touch And Learn Activity Desk Deluxe Interactive Learning System
At this age, a child's brain is primed to learn. In fact, their minds crave it, which is why a toy that pulls double duty as an educational aid makes for a particularly well-suited present. This VTech activity desk ($55) lets your little one explore letters, numbers, and words through a bright interface and more than 20 educational activities.
5Little Live Pets Snuggles My Dream Puppy
Few things on the face of this planet are more irresistible to a toddler than a cuddly puppy. Happily, this Little Live Pets plush Snuggles pup ($45) doesn't require potty training like the real deal would. Rather, your toddler gets a fully interactive furry friend who loves head pats, tummy rubs, and bottle feedings.
6Mega Blocks First Builders Big Building Bag
You can't go wrong with classic Mega Bloks ($12). Not only are these stackable blocks super-affordable, but they'll see your little one through the toddler years and beyond. They don't call them classics for a reason — this 80-block set stands the test of time and toddler approval.
7Little Tikes Trampoline
If only we could harness the energy of a toddler, we could solve any global energy crisis that came up. Unfortunately, that's not an option . . . yet. Until it is, you can let your kid burn off some of his or hers on this ever-popular Little Tikes trampoline ($50).
8My First Mess-Free Touch-Lights
Here's one you'll appreciate as much as your toddler will — the My First Mess-Free Touch-Lights art pad ($27). The gel pad and special stylus let little artists create masterpieces without getting paint all over the place. No muss, no fuss. That's something to be excited about, right?
9Playhouse Tent With Tunnel And Ball Pit
When it comes to keeping toddlers entertained, you can't do much better than a ball pit. Unless, that is, you get them this playhouse tent with a tunnel and a ball pit area ($38). The balls are sold separately, but at less than $50 for this entire activity center, you can use the savings to splurge on extra balls.
10Melissa & Doug Monster Bowling Set
Aw, a baby's first bowling set is certainly cause to celebrate. Toddlers will naturally gravitate toward this giggle-inducing monster bowling set by Melissa & Doug ($22), which includes a bowling "ball" sized for small hands and six cute-as-a-button plush bowling "pins."
11VTech Drill and Learn Toolbox Playset
Calling all handy boys and girls in the making — this drill and learn toolbox set ($19) will make the little mister or miss fix-it in your house incredibly happy. In addition to providing a spot to store your toddler's tiny tools, the set also builds motor skills and engages children with fun noises and sounds.
12Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar
STEM experts seem to agree that our children should be exposed to coding from an earlier age, so why not get the ball rolling now? Fisher-Price's Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar ($42) lets kids experiment with coding by attaching the creepy-crawly fellow's segments in different configurations — which, in turn, determines the direction he crawls.
13Magformers Rainbow 30-Piece Set
There's so much to said for building blocks when it toddler play, and this special Magformers Rainbow construction set ($37) is next level cool. It's not your traditional blocky construction set but, rather, a 30-piece set of magnetic shapes kids can stick together to create all kinds of formations.
14Roll & Bounce Tower
With its brightly colored design and curvy, swirly pathways, this roll and bounce tower ($30) practically begs for happy little faces to spend hours watching balls drop, roll, glide, clunk, and bounce around its design.
15Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Diggity Dancing Mickey
Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog — every toddler parents knows the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song by heart, which obviously means our little ones love watching it. Now you can bring their favorite character to life when you pick up this Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Diggity Dancing Mickey ($40).
16Little Tikes Hoop It Up Value Pack Ball Pit
How do you make a toddler squeal with delight? Gift them this Little Tikes ball pit ($47) that does double-duty as a basketball goal. Whether they prefer sloshing around on the "court" or practicing their slam dunk, your toddler will have a blast playing in this hybrid ball pit.
17Challafish Quadie Adjustable Ride On Four Wheeler
Just because your toddler can't ride a big kid bike yet doesn't mean they don't want to cruise around the yard in high style. The best part about this Chillafish ride on four wheeler ($60) is that the three different height options allow the scooter to grow with your child for plenty of future scootin'.
Aside from how obviously cute it is, the Hucklebee Game ($20) makes a great gift for myriad reasons. The double-sided action cards and instructions let parents foster their child's love of learning, while listening to the prompts helps the kiddo master colors, shapes, and directions. Kudos, sweet Hucklebee.