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!)

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Things I Love Thursday: Vintage Peg Board Toy

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

My mom bought me this little wooden peg board toy when I was 3 or 4. I remember it vaguely, sorting and organizing the pegs into rows. I don’t remember ever seeing any other toy like it.

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Earlier this year, we were visiting my mom, and she had this out! I was excited to see it again, and excited to let my own babies play with it. It’s still in great shape!

This summer I brought it back to our house, and they were really into it. They liked taking all the pieces out and putting them back again. They also liked to throw them, and chew on them, and arrange them on the windowsill.

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What I like is that it’s classic–solid wood construction, the paint is clearly high-quality and long-lasting (it’s over THIRTY YEARS OLD!), and that it’s open-minded play; there are so many things to do with it.

The only issue with this toy is that every single night, I had to go find all the pegs, which often get scattered all around the living room. And sometimes I just have to put them all in order, correctly. (That’s totally normal, right?)

Occasionally one or more will go missing, and then I try not to fret. Because it’s just a toy, but ack! If one is missing, there’s no way to replace it! So far–KNOCK ON WOOD[EN PEGS]–none have actually stayed lost.

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It’s got a little stamp on the bottom that says TC Timber. I finally looked it up one day, and it’s a former brand that later became Haba–and here it is!  It still exists!!

And look, here’s a fun version, with shapes! Wooden Shape Sorter

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Our boys are not even two, so hopefully there’s still a couple years of play with it. Maybe this toy could even last to be played with my grandchildren. 🙂 As long as we don’t lose any pieces, of course…