Best-Loved Toys for Older Toddlers

The best-loved toys for toddlers age 2-3 years. Inspire exploration, sensory learning, and communication skills development with the best-loved toddler toys organized according to physical, mental, and social abilities.

toddler toys

Older Toddler’s Physical Abilities & Interest

  • skilled at most simple large muscle skills
  • beginning to solve problems in head
  • lots of physical testing: jumping from heights, climbing, hanging by arms, rolling, galloping, including somersaults and rough-and-tumble play
  • throws and retrieves all kinds of objects
  • pushes self on wheeled objects with good steering
  • good hand and finger coordination will emerge by 2½ to 3 years
  • lots of active play with small objects and explores different qualities of play materials

Developmental toddler toys inspiring exploration, while supporting muscle control and eye-hand coordination


toddler toys

Older Toddler’s Mental Abilities & Interest

  • interested in attributes of objects—texture, shape, size, color
  • can match a group of similar objects
  • plays with pattern, sequence, order of size, first counting skills
  • first creative activities (drawing, construction, clay)
  • process is still more important than final product
  • beginning to solve problems in head, imaginative fantasy play increases; continued interest in domestic imitation
  • fantasy play alone or with adult; child also makes toys carry out actions on other toys

Developmental toddler toys stimulating sensory learning, object recognition, and imitative play


toddler toys

Older Toddler’s Social Abilities & Interest

  • main interest is still in parents, but begins to play cooperatively with other children (especially 30 to 36 months)
  • uses language to express wishes to others
  • engages in game-like interactions with others, and also some pretend play with others
  • enjoys hearing simple stories, read from picture books especially stories with repetition
  • strong desire for independence, and shows pride in accomplishments

Developmental toddler toys supporting communication skills development


“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him.” —Maya Angelou


Our purpose is to make developmental toy selection easier for you. We do this through research, recommendations by experts and parents, and through the pre-selection of toys on Amazon, as reviewed by verified consumers. We welcome recommendations in helping us and other parents choose age-appropriate and developmental toys.

The Brightest Family conducts independent research, and may refer to studies from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission web site, and from non-profit organizations.

“Kids and Babies - Safety Alerts.” United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/kids-and-babies. Accessed Aug. 2017.

Which Toy For Which Child. Washington D.C., U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Accessed Aug. 2017. A Consumer's Guide for Selecting Suitable Toys

“Age-by-Age Toy Buying Guide.” PlaySafe.org, The Toy Association, www.playsafe.org. Accessed Aug. 2017.

Best-Loved Preschooler Toys

Encourage exploration, imaginative learning, and engagement with the world around with the best-loved preschooler toys organized according to physical, mental, and social abilities.

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