Choosing the best play-based and educational toys for toddlers is the easiest way to ensure that your little one will continuously learn through play. Listed below are our favorite educational toys for toddlers that will easily grow with your child.

Our family’s favorite play-based toys

All of these educational toys are guaranteed to clock hours and hours of play for any toddler. Just click on the bolded title or the image to shop for that product. Don’t want to buy something if you’re not 100% sure? Jump to the end to view the ideal gift for everybody.

Jumbo Realistic Animals

We have several sets of the jumbo animal toys from Learning Resources and they are AWESOME. Very realistic, soft, and so fun. We use them every day when reading books, for pretend play, in sensory bins, and even while watching movies to match up with characters.

Set of Baby Dolls and Accessories

These sweet baby dolls are the perfect size for toddlers. They’re cozy and soft! I also love this simple wooden bed and highchair. Altogether they are ideal for imaginary play and snuggling.

Wooden Town Vehicles

Our boys (and daughter!!) love these perfectly sized wooden cars. In my opinion, the included car carrier is a necessary addition because it adds another level to imaginary play with the cars.

Wooden Musical Instruments

It’s hard to argue simple, hand-held musical instruments. Children of all ages will love shaking and creating with these toys.

Wooden Blocks

The best part about blocks is that you can never have enough. Ever.

Counting Bears

These large bears are great for counting… but also play! And sorting and lining up and as puppets. Honesty, the possibilities are endless.

Play Kitchen and Accessories

Bringing a kid-friendly version of “home” into the playroom is a great way to encourage independent play.

Shopping Cart

Looking for a more DIY option? This DIY Toy Organizer (filled with fake food) is a fun option, along with a small shopping cart. Our own shopping cart has been filled and emptied 10+ times a day since we got it two years ago.


These tiles are right up there with blocks, in my mind. You can’t have enough and they’re great for building anything and everything!

Climbing Toys

These climbing toys are essential around here, starting at 9-months-old, all the way up to three years (and still going)!!

Kitchen Helper

This is straight from my One-Year-Old Gift Guide, but I can’t recommend it enough! A kitchen helper is great for including kids in the kitchen or letting them help decorate a Christmas tree, or standing at a counter and eating with you. Honestly, it’s the one gift I think every household needs.

Looking for the perfect one-year-old gift?

This quick gift guide has it all – the exact gifts we gave our son and daughter (twins) when they turned one!

Dot Markers

Pair with some of the dot marker coloring pages from my Free Resource Library, a farm-themed coloring book, or some Dot Stickers for some amazing (and simple) coloring activities.

Still not sure?

The last thing parents and children need is more stuff. So if you’re not sure which gift is best, give them the ability to select and purchase it themself, on their own time frame with a gift card from Vanilla Gift.

Learn my three secrets!

My top three secrets for more independent play Freebie is the ultimate solution for parents who want to get some free time back in their lives and more playtime from their children.

It’s time to ditch the overwhelm of your child’s toys, momma.

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