Best-Loved Toys For Young Toddlers

The best-loved toddler toys for young toddlers age 1-2 years. Promote free play, cause-and-effect, and sensory learning with the best-loved toddler toys organized according to physical, mental, and social abilities.

toddler toys

Young Toddler’s Physical Abilities & Interest

  • endless exercise of physical skills
  • likes to lug, dump, push, pull, pile, knock down, empty and fill
  • likes to climb and can manage small indoor steps
  • manipulation is more exploratory than skillfull
  • active interest in multiple small objects
  • by 2 years, can kick, catch a large ball

Developmental toddler toys promoting free play and exploration


toddler toys

Young Toddler’s Mental Abilities & Interest

  • interest in causing effects and action toys
  • interest in mechanisms and objects that move or can be moved
  • combines objects with other objects makes simple block structures, uses simple stacking toys, does simple puzzles
  • very curious, and constantly experiments with objects
  • interest in hidden-object toys
  • at 1½ to 2 years, group or matches similar objects; enjoys simple sorting toys
  • identifies objects by pointing and can identify pictures in book
  • enjoys water, sand play
  • makes marks on paper, scribbles spontaneously
  • first imitative play; imitation of adult tasks, especially care-taking and housekeeping tasks

Developmental toddler toys animating cause-and-effect, objects similarities, and imitative play


toddler toys

Young Toddler’s Social Abilities & Interest

  • mostly solitary play; relates to adults better than to children
  • tries to do adult tasks
  • expresses affection for others, and shows preference for certain soft toys or dolls
  • likes being read to, looking at picture books, likes nursery rhymes
  • by 1½ year old our young toddler enjoys interactive games like tag

Developmental toddler toys supporting sensory learning


“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” —Emilie Buchwald


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 Toys for Older Toddlers

Inspire exploration, sensory learning, and communication skills development with the best-loved toddler toys organized according to physical, mental, and social abilities.

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