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The best toddler toys in 2023 for hours of entertainment

Keep your toddlers amused with delightful toys that provide long-lasting fun

Playtime is not only fun for toddlers, it’s when they learn about their surroundings and improve their fine motor skills. Whether they’re building towers of bricks before knocking them down or playing with kid-sized versions of adult tools, toddlers are expanding their knowledge and capabilities.

The right toys help your toddler use their imagination and strengthen their self-confidence. They can inspire exploration and learning with open-ended play. It can be tempting to follow the trends of what toys are popular this season, but at this age you’d be better to choose more foundational toys that will engage your toddler while entertaining them.

There are so many options when it comes to toys that toddlers will love. When you actually stop and look at all the options, it can feel overwhelming. So how do you narrow down your choices?

In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes a good toddler toy and provide a list of our favourites.

READ NEXT: The best bath toys for babies and toddlers

Best toddler toys: At a glance

How to choose the best toys for your toddler

What to consider when buying a good toddler toy?

It’s important to start with age-appropriate toys. You don’t want something that will overstimulate your child or that’s too advanced for their age group. This could end up making them upset and cranky. Choose toys that will encourage imagination, without excessive lights and noises. Here are some other questions to ask yourself when picking out the best toy for your toddler.

Can the toy be used for open play? A toy that can play multiple roles for a child is always a hit. Blocks are a great example – children can build towers, castles or whatever else their heart desires.

Is the toy safe for a toddler? Consider the materials that the toy is made of, as well as the shape and density. The best toddler toys use non-toxic materials and have rounded edges, so there are no corners to bump. There should be no small parts that the child could accidentally swallow, and batteries should be secured behind a panel with screws.

Is it a toy they will continue to enjoy as they grow? You don’t want to choose a toy that they will play with for only a couple of months before leaving it to collect dust in the corner of a closet. Items such as plastic figures or action figures, toy vehicles and stuffed toys can be fun for toddlers who are honing their skills, but also for growing children who are learning to create stories themselves.

What features should I look for in a good toddler toy?

Seek out toys that encourage children to be active, and help develop physical strength and skills. Choose toys that prompt your child to practise problem-solving and logical thinking. Encourage your child to play with kid-sized versions of real-life items. Whether it’s a toy mobile phone, a kitchen set or a puzzle made of locks, children are keen to be like the adults around them.

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The best toddler toys you can buy in 2023

1. Lego Duplo Wild Animals of the Ocean Set: The best overall toddler toy

Price: £18 | Buy now from Toys R Us

Lego is one of the best-known and most loved toy brands around the world. For toddlers, this kit provides more than building blocks to have fun with – they can learn about a variety of sea creatures. It comes with an adult and baby whale, as well as a turtle and a tropical fish.

The building blocks include brightly coloured coral and flower shapes, designed to resemble the animals’ natural environment. The slide is a bit of extra fun. The three-dimensional playmat ties the experience together, allowing your toddler to build stories of ocean exploration through their imagination.

This set allows children to have endless fun with open-ended play. It helps toddlers practise creativity and curiosity as they learn about ocean wildlife and build their own stories. Putting the blocks together also helps their motor skills and overall cognitive development.

Key specs – Number of pieces: 32; Dimensions: 24 x 25 x 24cm; Materials: ABS plastic

Buy now from Toys R Us

2. Yookidoo Spin ’n’ Sprinkle Water Lab Bath Toy: The best toddler toy for bath time

Price: £15 | Buy now from Smyths

There’s nothing kids love more during bath time than splish-splashing water all over the place. With this water lab, toddlers can have their bath time-fun without getting water outside of the tub. This toy provides STEM-based learning, encouraging sequential thought and improving hand-eye coordination.

The lab easily connects to the side of the tub and provides a chain reaction of delights. The detachable test tube has volume markers, so kids can experiment with water levels. Using this tube, they can pour water into the gauge funnel to make the wheel spin and create ten different water sprays along the pipeline.

If they pour water into the other funnel, the googly eyes spin and water flows from the mouth, which moves the propeller. This toy is perfect for sensory and independent play, helping to improve fine motor skills as well as cognitive and emotional development.

Key specs – Number of pieces: Four; Dimensions: 8.7 x 8.3 x 3in; Materials: Plastic

Buy now from Smyths

3. Little Tikes Cape Cottage: The best toddler toy playhouse

Price: £140 | Buy now from Toys R Us

This kid-sized cottage is perfect for toddlers who like to play pretend. The playhouse has functional doors and window shutters, with modern details such as an arched doorway. The exterior has realistic brick shaping, a working mailbox and even a spot to hang a little flag.

Children who love to play houses will be thrilled to have a compact home of their very own. The playhouse comes in a standard beige and red colour scheme. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and it’s waterproof, so it won’t rot if left outside.

Playing house can develop a child’s cognitive abilities and motor skills. It’s also a good way to set the building blocks for social skills and problem-solving capabilities. The cottage is designed with safety in mind, with soft corners and durable materials.

Key specs – Number of pieces: One; Dimensions: 88.9 x 109 x 124.4cm; Materials: Plastic

Buy now from Toys R Us

4. Fisher-Price Little People Toddler Playset: The best toddler toy with vehicles

Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon

Cars and vehicles are consistently a favourite toy among children, so this Fisher-Price garage playset will be quite the hit. The playset includes a three-level garage and two vehicles with built-in characters. The garage has a spiral race track, where cars can zoom from the top level all the way down to the floor.

It includes an electric vehicle charging station and a petrol pump, and even has a mechanic’s platform if your toddler decides the car needs repairing. Children can learn how important it is to care for your belongings.

The vehicles included in this playset are easy to grasp, so toddlers can work on improving their fine motor skills by moving them around. It helps with their dexterity, as well as hand-eye coordination. This is a great set for open play, meaning that children can use their imagination to craft stories and ideas.

Key specs – Number of pieces: Three; Dimensions: 34 x 13 cm x 32 cm; Materials: Plastic

5. Little Tikes Go Green Cosy Coupe Dino: The best ride-along toddler toy

Price: £60 | Buy now from Smyths

As children reach their toddler years, there’s a lot more moving and shaking going on. They begin moving independently and want to explore and enjoy that as much as possible. Riding toys are a great way to stimulate that curiosity and sense of exploration.

This car toy has two modes: push-along and foot-to-floor. With the first, the floor remains intact and parents can push the vehicle around, engaging children without exhausting them. For the other mode, the floor insert is removed and children use their feet to move and guide the car.

It has durable tyres that swivel 360°, an ignition switch and a working horn for extra delight. Ride-on toys can help children develop their motor skills, working the large muscles of the legs and torso. They can also build their sensory skills and balance.

Key specs – Number of pieces: One; Dimensions: 73 x 44 x 92cm; Materials: Recycled plastic

Buy now from Smyths

6. Happyland Farm: The best toddler toy with figurines

Price: £40 | Buy now from The Entertainer

Figurines are a surefire way to encourage imaginative play. With the Happyland Farm playset, toddlers get two people and six animals to play with, along with the accompanying farm setting. That includes the farmhouse, tractor and trailer, standard fences, jumping fences, a ladder and stable.

Toddlers can have fun setting up the farm, while strengthening their little hands and improving motor skills. Toddlers can use this set to learn about farm animals and their roles. They can check on the chickens to see if they’ve laid eggs, or have the dog round up the sheep. They can also practise fence jumping with the horse and so much more.

This playset has multiple sounds to add to the enjoyment, but don’t forget the required 2 x AA batteries (not supplied). It’s a great open-play toy that allows children to build stories and practice their social skills.

Key specs – Number of pieces: 16; Dimensions: 25 x 32 x 16cm; Materials: Plastic

Buy now from The Entertainer