Favorite Toddler Toys for 2 & 3-Year-Olds

When I went to the big twins club re-sale in 2013, I had a very specific list of items that I knew our 5 month old babies would need in the short term. When I saw the huge area of big toys, I froze. I tried to think about the next 5-6 months and what the babies would do or learn or want or play with. And I had utterly no idea what, say, a 9 month old could use.

So I figure that as I go along, I’ll keep track of the toys we use in age-ranges of our babies, in hope that someday, another parent will find it useful! This isn’t an official review or sponsored post, it’s just what our babies have liked and used a lot. Amazon links are affiliate.

(Previous gear lists: Pregnancy, New Babies part 1, New Babies part 2, New Babies part 3 Toys for 3-6 months, Toys for 6-12 months, Toys for 12-18 months, Toys for 18-24 months)

Also, FYI: Baby Cheapskate does an annual roundup of “Toys that get played with” for all age ranges, based on reader polls/surveys. Here’s the 2015 list for 24-36 months. You should follow them on Facebook--they find and post tons of deals on baby gear every day!

Our boys just turned four years old. We have a ton of toys in our house, and I wanted to share the things they play with the most, in case you’re looking for a wish list item. Many items are things we’ve had for years! They’ve been on previous lists, but I guess I want to emphasize that many toys and activities can last for a really long time.

New Toys in the Last Year or So:

PicassoTiles

We went for the off-brand of Magnatiles, but these are still fantastic. (Though apparently I have no fantastic photos of them playing with them?) Hours and hours and hours of fun. So much creativity. They build towers, castles, trains.

They forgot about them for a couple months, but once they started waking up and getting out of their toddler beds, the magnatiles were a perfect toy to play with “quietly” in their room. I say “quietly” because usually it turns into arguing over who has more.

We got these for them at the end of August 2015, so they were a little more than 2.5. They’d already been playing with them and loving them at daycare for months, so it’s definitely something that you can buy around 2 and they will last for years.

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Toddler Puzzles

Another obsession! My friend Holly sent these two puzzle boxes when they  (ABC Puzzle Set and Farm Puzzle Set) and they just love putting them together. For awhile they needed a lot of help, but now they can put the whole puzzle together all by themselves. Then the boys got a set of 3 preschool train puzzles that they love. And later we got the
Melissa & Doug Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle, which is a little bigger and more difficult, but they can just about do that one on their own in the last couple weeks.

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Play food

(Sandwich-Making Set Food Groups Cutting Food)

They got a bunch of these for Christmas last year (right after they turned 3) and they are OBSESSED. They use it as food, but they also use it to represent other things, or to just put into and take out of containers. (Containers of all kinds are still a big thing around here.)

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Reusable Sticker Pads!

These were the main surprise toys I brought out on our first airplane trip, and it was amazing. They played with them for two hours on that flight! They played with them for hours all last fall too. We have the vehicles set, the animals set, and a store/shopping set.

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Ukulele

The boys received a toy guitar for their 2 year old Christmas, and of course they fought over it. Our nanny lent us one of her nice ukeleles, and they loved playing that. So then we made sure they got their own ukelele for their 3 year Christmas. And thank goodness! It actually can stay in tune (the toy guitar can barely even keep its strings on and it has never been in tune). Mainly, it’s great because the boys can both play something at the same time.

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Car Tracks

Mindscope Car Tracks
Magic Tracks 220-Piece Glowing Track Set

The boys LOVE these car tracks. They were a Christmas present last year, and they are really cool! It’s these flexible pieces that you can snap together and apart, to make whatever kind of track shape you want. Kind of like an articulated snake. There are two cars with each set and they light up and zoom around. This will entertain our boys for a long time! (We have the Mindscope sets, and I’ve seen Magic Tracks appear at Fred Meyer this season.)

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Plastic Beads

We played with these last winter at the community center activity nights, and the boys loved stringing beads onto pipe cleaners. So I got a few from Joann, and man, that five dollars of stuff has provided HOURS of entertainment. They love making necklaces and bracelets. And when the beads run low, we just undo one of the creations and dump the beads back in a bowl. 🙂

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Scooters!

We figured they’d still be using the three-wheeled Radio Flyer Scooter scooters for a long time…but then this spring my dad brought up my brothers’ old Razor Scooters.  The boys loved them and immediately started playing with them, and soon enough were zooming around like experts!

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Scissors

The boys got Fiskars Preschool Training Scissors as presents last Christmas and promptly spent at least thirty minutes carefully cutting up wrapping paper. Every once in awhile they go into a scissors craze and spent a long time cutting copy paper into big and tiny pieces. It’s like a trance.

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Things they’re still loving:

Little Tikes Super Chef Kitchen: We gave this to them just before they turned two. They still play with it all the time.

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PlasmaCar: The boys love steering this around the garage and down the hill of our driveway. Whee!

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Water Table: Still a good time in the warm months!

Learning Towers: The older they’ve gotten, the more they realize they can do with these. 🙂 But they’re super helpful to have–the boys can watch us cook, can wash their hands at the kitchen sink, can help us stir or bake.

Mop & broom set: If they see me start sweeping, they usually grab one of their tools and join right in.

Haba Blocks: These are amazing blocks, and sadly we keep them in a non-see-through bin so they probably don’t play with them as much as if they could see them. I think they will continue to be great toys to have!

Things we still don’t have for them:

Easel: We might finally get an IKEA one for this Christmas.

Dress-up clothes: I’m going to keep an eye out for things like half-price Halloween costumes. Then we need some kind of bin or basket (and we have bins everywhere already).

What are your favorites to add for this age group? Let me know in the comments!

(All Amazon links are affiliate. Thank you for your support!)

Easter 2016!

Just as this past Halloween and Christmas felt like the boys’ first ‘real’ holidays, this Easter was the best one yet. They were so excited about the Easter Bunny coming to visit, and doing some egg hunts.

We attended a group Easter egg hunt and brunch at a golf course. They were psyched for the pastries, and then for the hunt. They willingly wore their bunny ears. 🙂 I loved watching them eagerly grab eggs for their baskets! Then we all “played” putt-putt, and watching them push their golf balls around was adorable.

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That evening, we went to visit the Easter bunny at the mall! (The day before a holiday has been a great way to avoid crazy lines at Easter and Christmas for the last couple years.) The boys were SO happy and excited to see and meet and hug the Easter bunny this year! It made me smile with so-precious-it-almost-hurts feeling.

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On Easter morning we did a little egg hunt in our yard. My dad came to visit and helped us dye Easter eggs! I baked them in the oven instead of boiling them (I saw this video on Facebook), and they really seemed to like picking out colors for the eggs. I didn’t really let them do much…we only had one dozen, and I figured it would just be a giant mess if they tried to pick up those wire egg holders.

Then we went to a delicious Easter brunch at Edgefield–they ate a ton! Fruit, omelets, waffles, bacon, sausage, rolls, pastries, etc. (Kids four and under eat free at the holiday buffets, fyi.)

When we came home, we did another indoor egg hunt. Once the boys had found and gathered all the eggs, E took them upstairs to their room and proceeded to set up his own egg hunt for the rest of us. He announced, “Ok everyone, come find the eggs!” He’d made piles of eggs around the room, and then he pointed them all out for us. “Here’s some, and there’s some…” Heh.

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Hope you and your family had a fun Easter. 🙂

This Is A Post

I hate it when I get out of the habit of blogging regularly. It seems like then it becomes a Big Deal to post something, like it has to be Important enough to break the radio silence, so to speak.

I’ve got a couple posts percolating (some in my mind, some finally here in WP) so I figured if I break the ice with a stupid non-post post, that will be easier to post something else.

Also here’s a crappy picture of my pretty tulips. I’m really proud of them, actually. Planting these was the very first time I’d ever planted flower bulbs, and I assumed that I’d probably done it wrong and they wouldn’t come up. So the fact that they’ve come up, even at different heights and at different paces, feels like a huge win for me. For a couple years I’ve had the vision of this walkway being lined with flowers, because it’s so perfect for that. And now it’s a reality! Hurray!

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And here’s a nicer picture of whatever fluffy trees are now blooming around Portland. I always think that all spring-flowering trees are cherry trees…but the cherries are long done flowering already (as well as peach–did you know they are pink blossoms too? I didn’t.). Apples and pears are apparently currently blooming, so maybe these are one of those? Who knows. I just know that I like flowering trees.

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