Hey guys! Today I want to share my favorite toys (so far) with y’all. We have found it so helpful to be intentional about what toys are available to Ava and Hayden. I can remember last year around Christmas time feeling a little anxious about all of the stuff the girls would receive – and then again a month and a half later on their birthday. (keep in mind in our 1100 square foot house… extra space isn’t a term we use very often) With that being said, we have found some toys that are worth taking up space in our house and some toys that aren’t.
One thing that we have noticed is that battery operated toys are a one hit wonder… the girls love them for a second and then move on to their open ended toys. For that reason, we rarely put battery operated toys on their wish lists. They do come in handy at times, of course but just not as the primary toy option.
Here are my favorites:
Melissa and Doug Ice Cream Scoop
The girls love this one. The parts are magnetic, so the scoops stay on top of the cone as they walk around offering licks to any and all visitors. It’s awesome!
Melissa and Doug Farm Puzzle
The latches are great for fine motor skills and underneath there are different animals. It’s really been fun to watch their vocabulary grow with this one puzzle! It stays out all of the time.
Melissa and Doug Shape Puzzle
I love the big knobs on this puzzle because it’s great for those chubby little hands to grab onto when they’re still learning to control their grasp. The girls loved teething on this one when they were cutting their first set of molars – haha! They aren’t spectacular at getting the pieces to fit in the puzzle yet, but they can match it (the puzzle underneath the piece is exactly the same). They just become more and more independent with toys like this.
Another favorite. I bought this toy when the girls were a little over a year old and they’ve used it ever since. They push their babies in it, the want daddy to push them in it, and they use it for hauling little items around the house (kitchen food mainly).
Ride on toy
This isn’t the exact one that we have, but you get the idea. It can be ridden on, pushed, and played with. The seat lifts and kiddos can put things inside their little car. Before the girls could walk, we received this toy and we would push them around the house on it. Then they walked behind it and now they ride on it and can push themselves. My personal favorite is when they push each other. This toy was a suggestion from a friend because it seriously works for children in lots of stages.
Melissa and Doug slicing food activity
The girls don’t have this exactly because we have been gifted food from a friend and it works for us, but if not this is something I’d like for them to have. The food velcros together and littles one practice slicing it. I love the tray that this comes in because it gives this activity a place. Great fine motor task and overall just a fun way to see your babe interact with pretend food.
Melissa and Doug Shape Sorting
Shape sorting is still above their pay grade, but they have played with a shape sorter toy for a while now. They can remove the lid and put everything inside and they sure love to dump everything out. When I sit down 1:1 with them, it’s a good activity for us to work on the shape language and the fine motor.
I’m not married to a specific kitchen, but we love love love having one for the girls. A friend recently gave us theirs and it’s been a really fun toy for this age. The girls use their kitchen multiple times a day and now we have moved it into our kitchen, so they can be “cooking” when we do. I have nothing but good things to say about having a pretend kitchen. The link and picture are just “amazon’s choice”, but seriously just pick one that works for you – maybe it’s a hammy down (yay), consignment find, or brand new…
I have to say that we love the stella baby doll. I put it on here because it’s a great first doll with the soft material. The paci and other accessories are magnetic, so really easy for little ones to play with independently. With that being said, when the girls first starting getting baby dolls (at 10 months old- last Christmas) I wondered how long it would be before they got into them. For them, it was around their first birthday. They LOVE baby dolls and playing pretend with them. It’s truly amazing to watch… my husband says it’s their only shot at a baby sibling – aka – no real ones coming from us.
This wagon is just the best little toy. It can be used in so many different ways. When the girls were really little, we would pull them around in it. Now, they pull their baby dolls around. They collect things in it and drag them around the house. It’s just a versatile toy.
Little People Doll House
This little doll house is the perfect size for this age. They received this on their first birthday and have played with it more and more as they’ve gotten older. When they need some time away from us or each other, they’ll sneak away to their doll house and play. It’s really cute to watch!
Little People Barn
My mom has this toy at her house and it’s the first thing the girls want to do when they go over there. They LOVE animals, so getting to engage with animal figurines in a cool barn is right up their alley. Just like the doll house, this opens up for play and folds up nicely for storage.
Wooden Toy with Mallet
I have no idea what this is called, but it was a consignment sale find for us and the girls have enjoyed it off and on. It is 2 toys in 1… the mallet is used for hammering the balls through the holes and for playing music on the xylophone. It’s a cute open ended toy.
Melissa and Doug Pull Back Cars
The girls have always loved these vehicles – they received them for their first birthday and at the time they needed help pulling them back and getting them to go, but now they are able to do so on their own. They are a soft material, so a really good first toy.
This is a toy similar to the kitchen for our girls. It is outside, so when Ethan is working they can be working too. They play with it each day that we are able to go outside and I imagine this will be a toy that just grows with them as they are more able to use the tools.
This year’s Christmas wish list has more toys that are similar to these. I LOVE Melissa and Doug so when in doubt, I get on amazon and just search through all of their toys and day dream about owning all of them – hahahaha!
I hope this helps! For me, the key is open ended toys. Toys that are going to be used for more than just one stage or one day. Toys that will allow the girls to use their imagination and give them freedom and versatility in their play. I’d love to hear about your favorite toddler toys 🙂
All images sourced from Amazon.com