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Gifts for Older Toddlers

Updated on February 16, 2013

As toddlers grow a little older and wiser, they enjoy more challenges and begin to use more imagination to play. All toddlers love imitation. Anything that toddlers see their parents do frequently makes for great toddler gifts. For example, a mini-kitchen or cooking set. Or maybe a play tool set. Also, toys that require problem solving skills, such as small jigsaw puzzles, are often enjoyed by the older toddler. Following are some gift ideas for older toddlers and brief explanations on why they're sure to be a hit.

scooter scuttle bug

Dress up is fun for both toddler girls and boys.
Dress up is fun for both toddler girls and boys. | Source

Fun Gift Ideas for Toddlers

Dress Up: Older toddlers love playing dress up. Dress up gifts can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you want. You can give your toddler anything from an entire outfit to a couple pieces. Either way, your toddler will sure to enjoy this gift. Some examples of dress up gifts that allow your toddler to use their imaginations are:

  • Princess tiara and shoes
  • Feather boa
  • Their favorite cartoon character costume, mask or hat
  • Construction hat and tool belt
  • Chef hat and apron
  • Lab coat and play stethoscope

Puzzles and Sorting Games: Now that your toddler is a little older, they enjoy playing with toys that require them to use their problem solving and skills. Older toddlers will now be able to complete puzzles and sorting games on their own, and the fact that they can figure it out on their own will boost their self-confidence.

Melissa & Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle (8 pcs)
Melissa & Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle (8 pcs)

These wooden chunky puzzles by Melissa & Doug are not only adorable, but they are simple enough for my daughter to put it together on her own, plus she plays with the animals separately.

Hape Fix It Kid's Wooden Tool Box and Accessory Play Set
Hape Fix It Kid's Wooden Tool Box and Accessory Play Set

Toddlers love toys that allow them to imitate what their parents or caregivers do.


Imitation Toys: Toddlers love to imitate adults and older children or siblings. The older toddler begins to use their imagination to play, so toys that allow them to pretend play always make great gifts. Some of these gifts might include:

  • Tool sets, including blocks to hammer and screws to twist
  • Tea party set: Keep napkins nearby for clean up! Your toddler will love to pretend that the tea has spilled and to clean it up. Consider including a dolly or stuffed animal to have a tea party with.
  • Kitchen or cooking utensils: Your toddler will love sharing their pretend creations with you!
  • Doctor kit: These allow your toddler to play doctor. She will love make sure you or her "patients" are OK. She will fix them up good as new.

My daughter loves her Poke-a-Dot book.
My daughter loves her Poke-a-Dot book. | Source

Interactive Books: Teaching toddlers to enjoy books while their young will give them an appreciation for books for a lifetime. Older toddlers enjoy books that are interactive, such as peek-a-boo books where they can lift flaps to see what's there. Books where they can push buttons and hear sounds are also enjoyed by toddlers. My daughter loves a books we bought that has bubbles you can pop as you count the sea animals.

Towers: Toddlers love blocks or towers that they can stack up as tall as they are and then knocking them down! Some towers are made especially for toddlers that are easy to stack.

Sandbox or Water Tower: Even though your toddler is a little older now, they still love exploring their environment. All toddlers love playing in the sand and in the water. A sandbox or water tower will allow your toddler to explore his surroundings. You might be surprised how long your toddler will play with these toys.

Bath time toys are always fun gifts for toddlers.
Bath time toys are always fun gifts for toddlers. | Source

Bath time toys: Bath time is fun time! There are many fun toys that your toddler will love playing with while in the bath. Consider:

  • Bath crayons, markers or paints
  • Floating toys with a net to catch them
  • Fishing bath toy
  • Bath color tubs
  • Toys that squirt (be sure to keep a towel nearby!)
  • Bath stickers

The Scuttle Bug is a nice alternative to the traditional tricycle, which can be tricky for a toddler to learn. The Scuttle Bug is powered with the toddler's feet, rather than with pedals.
The Scuttle Bug is a nice alternative to the traditional tricycle, which can be tricky for a toddler to learn. The Scuttle Bug is powered with the toddler's feet, rather than with pedals. | Source

Gifts for Active Toddlers

Parents and babysitters will appreciate gifts that run down some of the toddlers energy as much as the toddler. Here are some gift ideas for the active toddler:

  • Scooter or Scuttle Bug: The Scuttle Bug is similar to a tricycle except it does not have pedals. It is easier for a toddler to ride a Scuttle Bug than a traditional tricycle. If you do want to purchase a tricycle for your toddler, I recommend one with a handle where you can help push the toddler when he is first learning how to ride. It will save you a lot of energy and a back ache.
  • Bouncy toys: Balls, horses, or other types of bouncy toys are a great way to wear out an active toddler.
  • Stick pony: Toddlers love pretending to ride horses. Instead of using mommy or daddy as the horse, buy her a stick pony and she'll be galloping all around the house.
  • Tunnels and play houses: Active toddlers will run around, climb through the tunnel, run in circles, climb through the tunnel again. Toddlers love tunnels and houses to climb in and around.
  • Sit and spin: I hate getting dizzy, but toddlers love it. The sit and spin toy is a classic.

Matryoshka nesting dolls are affordable, fun and require a toddler to use his problem solving skills.
Matryoshka nesting dolls are affordable, fun and require a toddler to use his problem solving skills. | Source

Affordable Gifts for Toddlers

So you want to get a toddler a fun gift without spending a fortune? Good news, there are lots of fun gifts that are affordable. Here are some toddler gift ideas that are under $20.

  • Princess tiara and jewelry
  • Bouncy balls
  • Matryoshka dolls: The older toddler will love opening each doll and finding another one inside. It's also good practice to try and put all the dolls back together.

Play-Doh Super Tools - Flip 'n Snip
Play-Doh Super Tools - Flip 'n Snip

Play-doh tools are very entertaining for older toddlers. They can practice using scissors safely.

  • Play-doh with molds:
  • Wooden jigsaw puzzles
  • Sticker or coloring books
  • Washable finger paint
  • DVDs: Some stores now have $5 DVD sections that include a variety of movies for kids.
  • Window crayons:
  • Scarves: All though scarves are so simple, toddlers love dancing, dressing up and imagining with scarves. There are so many different things you can do with a good-sized scarf. Throw it up in the air and watch it float back down to the ground. Play peek-a-boo. Dance with the scarf, waving it through the air and you dance in circles. Use it as a head wrap or a skirt or wrap while playing dress up.
  • Pull toys: Even older toddlers still enjoy using pull toys. Melissa & Doug make some really adorable pull toys for $20 or less.
  • Bubbles: Bubbles never get old for kids! There are tons of different molds or bubble blowers you can that are fairly inexpensive. We bought a little dinosaur that blows bubbles from it's mouth for our daughter for about $10 at the grocery store

If you're still stick on what gifts to get the older toddler, answering these questions might help guide you to the perfect gift:

  • What kinds of things does he/she love to do? What does she always comment on? What types of things make him excited?
  • Is there anything his/her parents would find useful or appreciate? For example, a pair of shoes, an outfit, a bath toy organizer, a clay picture frame with the toddler's hand prints?
  • Are there any toys the he/she already has that you can buy supplements for? For example, sand toys for his toy box, clothes for her doll, fake food or dishes for his kitchen or chalk or dry erase markers for her easel?

In general, toddlers are pretty simple, so don't worry too much about what to buy them. Hopefully the suggestions her have helped to guide you to find the perfect gift for the older toddler. Good luck!


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    • prokidwriter profile image

      KA Hanna 5 years ago from America's Finest City

      Those Matryoshka dolls are wonderful. They're a "quiet toy" that is fun to sit and do with a child. My Matryoshka dolls have kept many of my friends' toddler children occupied for hours!