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Top Ten Gifts Every Toddler Should Have

Classic Toys, Little Tykes, Toddler Gifts, Toddler Toys

On the move….how else can you best describe a toddler? Gifts for a toddler should be engaging, active, and satisfying to their innate curiosity. As the mother of a toddler, and long time child-care professional, these are the top 10 gifts I have found for any toddler.

 

 

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  2. A tunnel. Toddlers love exploring. Tunnels satisfy their desire to explore and hide as well as climb. Toddlers will spend hours climbing in and out of the tunnel, pulling their favorite toys in and out, and even rolling the tunnel around and around. Parents love tunnels because they are compact and fold up easily. They can also easily be used indoors or out. Tunnels range from $30-$60+ brand new. I got my daughter’s tunnel for $1 at a garage sale. Search (froogle.com) “play tunnels” online to find the best deals. 

 

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  2. Duplo blocks. Duplo blocks are the toddler version of Legos. They are small enough to satisfy the fine motor skill development of the small child but large enough to be attainable and not a choking hazard. Basic Duplo sets include enough blocks to build a decent sized house or tower. Additional add-on sets are available in a wide array of characters that your child will love. Basic sets range from $15-up and add-ons from $15-$60, depending on how many pieces you want. Check discount stores like Ross and Marshalls for great deals on these items. 

 

 

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  2. Musical Instruments: Though not a favorite gift of some parents, musical instruments are a favorite of small children. Children love experimenting with sound, rhythm, and marching around the house making their own music. The best musical instrument sets are wooden, however the plastic are more affordable and easy to clean. There are even plenty of ways to make your own musical instruments using items such as oatmeal canisters, plastic bottles, and other kitchen items. 
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  2. Push toys: These are especially loved by the young toddler. Toys such as the Fisher Price “Corn Popper” and the “Bubble Mower” are favorites as well as generic items such as a shopping cart or stroller. Toddlers love experimenting with different speeds (What will this do when I run? What will happen when I crash into this wall?), as well as developing their pretend play skills when using these toys. 

 

 

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  2. A durable slide: Step 2 and Little Tykes make good, durable, easy to store slides for toddlers. These are ideal because they can be used both indoors and out. Toddlers love practicing climbing up the ladder and up the slide itself, learning the basics of sliding and watching things disappear down the slide. Slides can cost around $50 new and as little as $5 on ebay or at a garage sale.
  3. A riding toy: A good riding toy can be a great outlet for pent up toddler energy and if small enough can even be used indoors. My daughter loves the classic Little Tykes Cozy Coupe Car as well as small ride on cars such as the Playskool Step Smart Walk n’ Ride. (The latter is a walker that turns into a small ride on car…great for the transitioning toddler!) 

 

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  2. A large ball: This is perhaps the cheapest “must have” on the list. A large beach ball or other plastic ball (opt for a light weight plastic one as opposed to a large kick ball) can keep a toddler entertained for endless spurts of time in the yard. Toddlers love experimenting with throwing, kicking, and watching how things (and people) react when the ball is thrown at them. You can find beach balls as cheap as $1.00 at a dollar store
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  2. Nesting Blocks: These towering blocks are so much fun for the toddler. Toddlers love to build towers that are taller than them and watch them crash to the ground. They love to experiment with how the blocks fit inside one another, as well as look at the colorful pictures on the blocks. Nesting blocks are great because they are durable, easy to store, and light weight so bumps on little heads won’t do damage! Search (froogle.com) “nesting blocks” to find a great array of these toys! 

 

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  2. Mr. Potato Head- Because toddlers are just starting to learn body parts, the Potato Head is a fascinating toy. They get tickled when you put body parts in the wrong places, and are intrigued with how to fit the parts into the potato body. Mr. Potato Head is cheap ($10.00 or less) and has lots of interchangeable parts as well as lots of accessories you can buy that make it even more entertaining. 

 

 

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  2. A telephone: Whether a real phone that has been discarded or a pretend, plastic phone, a telephone is a must-have toy for the toddler. Toddlers love imitating mommy by carrying on pretend conversations or even just holding it to their ear (if the aren’t quite into conversations yet.) The “Parents” line of toys (available at Target) has a cell phone (under $10.00) that has a record button so you can record a special message to your child. My daughter has loved that feature because she can “call” her daddy and her daddy talks back to her! 
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When buying for the toddler, think “Active”, think “Interesting” and think “Creative.” Opt for toys that encourage thinking and exploration. Stay away from toys that require batteries. Though there are lots of fun toys that take batteries, these are the toys toddlers (and even older children) usually tire of most quickly. It’s the sturdy, classic toys that are enjoyed over and over again.

 

 

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