It's normal for toddlers to be on the move, but knowing that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to manage them! Here, from Circle of Moms members who've been through this busy phase, is a shortlist of favorite toys for very active one-to-three-year olds, all recomended for capturing and holding the attention of your busy toddler.
1. Push Or Ride Indoors
Kids who are on-the-go love toys that move with them. To encourage your toddler to play more with the stuff they have now, try giving them a way to cart their toys around the house.(Toy shopping carts are not only great for carting around their stuff, but for developing their walking and gross motor skills.) Lisa M. shares that a doll stroller quickly became her daughter's favorite toy: "We come home from daycare and she searches for dolly to push around in the stroller."
Melissa W. highly recommends the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Shop and Learn Walker, which her twins can't get enough of: "It's so interactive and most importantly, very sturdy! They have yet to fall out of the cart."
Another tried-and-true favorite for toddlers who are ready to saddle up is the rocking horse. What mom doesn't love hours of do-it-yourself riding entertainment with no motor and no batteries needed? Dierdre H. reports that her 16-month-old recently starting spending lots of time with this classic toy.
2. Outdoor Toys
Sand & Water
Playing outside can be especially engrossing when you have the right toys. Anything involving water or dirt is usually a big hit with toddlers, which usually means a big mess for you to clean up! A few moms recommend a sand or water table for easy backyard fun with quick cleanup.
Amanda P., mom to a 16-month-old "busy bee" says her daughter has many favorite toys, and the sand and water table is definitely one of them. Another mom, Wendy S., says her daughter would play with the water station for hours: "She enjoyed it so much that in the Winter I put it in my livingroom, put an absorbent mat underneath, jacked up the heat and let her have a ball! The water play is very soothing for her."
Anything With Wheels
If your toddler is constantly on-the-go, toys that keep him or her moving will be big hits. For outdoor playtime, Lisa H.'s son "loves anything with wheels (cars, walkers, trucks, etc.) and especially enjoys his Cozy Coupe car and wagon outside."
There are hundreds of outdoor riding toys to choose from. You can go with the high-priced motorized Power Wheels, all the way down to a $20 ride-on toy that kids push with their feet. Several moms in our communities recommend 3-stage convertible trikes for toddlers, such as this one from Little Tikes. Abigail W. likes the trike because it grows with her son and helps him learn to steer and peddle: "for my first son's first birthday (he's now 3), we got him a 3-in-1 bike which he still uses, just with all the extras off, so it is a good buy."
3. Playing Grown-Up
Moms agree that some of the best toys on the market for toddlers are the ones that mimic everyday adult activities such as cooking, cleaning, and careers. Even as young as the age of one, kids want to do what their moms and dads are doing!
In the house, play kitchens are very popular for boys and girls. A Circle of Moms member who goes by the name "Ink" found that a plastic kitchen occupied her son so she could actually cook: "The first month or two he was pulling himself up on it..but as soon as he mastered that, he was whipping up souffles and scrambling eggs right beside Momma. It has become a HUGE help to have that plastic kitchen...it lives in the foyer at the end of my galley kitchen. He plays in the foyer, cooking...while I cook in the big kitchen."
Tools are a big hit for Julie P.'s son, although he prefers Daddy's tools over toy tools: "he asks for the drills, hammers, saws, and lawnmowers by name," says this mom.
Julie's son isn't the only one who loves toy lawn mowers. Jaclyn A. bought her oldest son a bubble mower when he turned one, and at five years old he still plays with it. So for her younger son's first birthday it was time for another lawn mower: "I picked up the lil guy his own lawn mower so he can join Daddy & Big Brother this summer mowing the lawn."
Older 2- and 3-year-olds love toys that open their imagination and help them pretend to be everything from bankers to veterinarians. Both of Laurie P.'s kids really enjoy the "Pet Vet" toy set that she got from Target (B. Critter Clinic): "It looks like a doctor's kit, contains [a] stethoscope, shot, pretend medicine, etc... and the front of the case has six little doors and... six keys they are color coordinating... my son got it when he was 2 and it helped him learn [to] match his colors and the fine motor skill of putting the key in the lock and turning it to open it... they would play vet for hours. . . .it is an educational toy as well as an imaginative [one]!"
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.