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Ultimate Baby & Toddler Gift Guide



As a pediatric physical therapist and a mom of two, I know firsthand the joy and challenges of finding the perfect gifts for little ones. Whether they're just beginning to explore the world around them or celebrating their first, second or even third birthday, selecting toys that are not only fun but also foster development and learning is essential.


In this blog post, I'm excited to share a curated list of gift ideas that I've personally found to be engaging, educational, and beneficial for the physical and cognitive development of babies and toddlers. From toys that encourage gross motor skills to those that stimulate imagination and creativity, I've carefully selected items that will delight both children and parents alike.


Come along as we explore a variety of gift options that cater to the unique needs and interests of our little ones during this crucial stage of growth and exploration. Whether you're shopping for your own child, a niece or nephew, or a friend's baby shower, these gift ideas are sure to inspire hours of play and learning for the special little ones in your life.


Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links which means that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!


In this blog:


 

0-3 month old gift ideas



  1. Lovevery Play Gym Both of my girls have played with this play gym and it's beautiful. You can easily take down and store the "gym" when needed and just use the mat only. The mat has different sections for play with textures and tags which help keep baby entertained. It comes with several hanging toys and contrast cards. I can't recommend this enough!

  2. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother We called this toy "baby TV" at my house lol because it's a magical, soothing lights and music toy (kind of shaped like a mini tv) that really helps keep baby engaged in tummy time, and just floor time in general! 

  3. Baby Einstein Tummy Time Mirror My girls loved looking at not only themselves in this mirror but also the adorable little caterpillar guy! He always got big smiles from them! This mirror is soft and foldable, but sturdy when propped open. It also comes with contrast cards.

  4. "The Looker" Playkit I have really loved all of the playkits my girls have from lovevery, but I am especially fond of their younger baby kits. The looker playkit is made for babies 0-12 weeks old and it was something that Charlotte played with almost exclusively from 0-2 months old. The next playkit after the 0-12 week one is "The Charmer" playkit (for 3-4 month olds) and several of the toys in that kit were also some of my girls top faves (the soft book in the Charmer kit is 10/10). I highly recommend both!

  5. Lamaze Octopus We keep this guy in the carseat and it always keeps my girls entertained. We also have the dragonfly I'll link here, and he is loved but not nearly as much as the octopus. His legs are irresistible for touching and sometimes tasting lol.

  6. Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano Mat This is a GOAT (greatest of all time) baby toy. I rotated between this and the lovevery play gym A LOT during the first few months with both of my girls. Parents beware... the songs are incredibly catchy and you WILL get them stuck in your head lol you have been warned.

  7. Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle I love this soft rattle that's easy for baby to grip and mouth when they're first learning how to use their hands to grab things!

  8. Infantino Tummy Time Pillow I love that this tummy time pillow has multiple uses, from tummy time to supported sitting as baby grows. I think it is less bulky than a boppy for tummy time, making it better for younger babies. 

  9. Soft Contrast Book Soft books are perfect for young babies! They can safely explore with hands and mouth and make for great tummy time entertainment tools. 

  10. Baby Paper Your baby will be starting to explore sensations more as they approach 3 months and this baby paper is fun for them to explore and crinkle!

  11. Drive n Drool Keys Babies love keys... and they can safely play with these! Perfect size for baby to grip, shake and explore.

  12. Toki Mats Play Mat Toki mats are the softest playmats EVER! They come in lots of adorable different patterns, a variety of sizes and also come in cotton or vegan leather cover options. The cotton covers are machine washable while the vegan leather covers wipe clean with ease. We have the mega size, vegan leather mat in the pattern "blooms" at our house and we use it EVERY. DAY. You can use my referral link (above) to get 15% off!


 

4-7 month gift ideas



  1. Rain stick I love rain stick toys for babies! It's gentle visual and auditory stimulation along with cause and effect. I also love that it can be rolled on the floor during tummy time. Any toy that can roll or move is perfect for this age as we are trying to encourage movement during floor time (rolling and/or crawling!

  2. O-ball car Another great toy to encourage movement, I love that the O-ball part of the car is easy for baby to grasp and manipulate. The car is also something that can grow with your child.

  3. Spin-a-letter This toy was always a HOT commodity at the clinic. Babies (and toddlers) love this toy! It's great to encourage reaching to spin the wheel. The size of it is also perfect for sitting practice. It is a little taller, it's great to place between the baby's legs and sit because they can use the toy as a cue to stay upright.

  4. Spill + Stuff Taco I got this toy as a Christmas gift for my youngest who turned 6 months this past December, and she loves it. This little taco is so cute! The "filling" is great for baby to practice pulling stuff OUT and then eventually will be fun to put back in. The pieces of fabric look textured which adds extra fun.

  5. V-tech play cube Both of my girls have loved this play cube! It's another great dual purpose toy that works well for reaching during floor time and then aids in sitting practice when placed between baby's legs.

  6. Sophie the giraffe Don't ask me WHY this toy is such a big hit, I can't explain it lol. But I can tell you that both of my girls love Sophie the giraffe! She's perfect for teething, squishing and playing with!

  7. Haba rainbow ball Another great "movement" toy option. I love how this ball is soft and manipulable with the folded fabric, making a great choice for babies this age!

  8. Flip fish Babies this age LOVE tags. And this fish toy has "scales" that are essentially just a bunch of tags lol so it's an instant hit! I love using it for both tummy time and sitting by placing the fish on baby’s lap.

  9. Hape wobble penguin This little wobble penguin moves and wobbles when your baby touches it but it doesn't fall down! It also chimes and flaps its wings when you hit it making it adorable and enticing for your baby to continue to try and get it as it moves. Great for motivating movement which is what we want to start to encourage at this age.

  10. Senser play kit In case you can't tell, I'm a lovevery fan. This play kit includes several variations of toys that I have mentioned in this idea list. AND it has the "magic tissue box" which is a favorite for both of my girls and I have yet to find a sturdy, quality "dupe" for it. 

  11. Roll rattle Another simple, yet effective toy to encourage movement in babies 4-7 months. This rattle rolls and well...rattles! Baby will like to watch and hear the rattle as it rolls and, hopefully, want to move to get it!


 

8-11 month old gift ideas



  1. Montessori shape sorter This simple shape sorter is great for babies, with only 3 large shapes to place its a great "beginner" shape sorter option to work on problem solving and fine motor skills.

  2. Sassy stacker rings Stacking rings on the stacker and taking the off is a skill that starts to emerge at this age. I love this Sassy ring stacker because it has a variety of ring shapes and textures, making it a fun toy to play with and explore even when you're not stacking them!

  3. Whirly Squigz spinners I love these spinner toys for working on vertical skills such as standing and cruising. They also work well for sitting and make a great "on-the-go" toy option as they can be suctioned to smooth surfaces.

  4. Drip-drop stacker cups These stacking & nesting cups are fun to play with IN and OUT of the bathtub. Your baby will love to explore placing them inside of each other, stacking them, and also knocking them down! They each have a variety of little holes at the bottom that make for a fun time filling them with water and watching it drip out in the bathtub! These are one of our faves.

  5. Hide and find ball box This toy is perfect to work on object permanence and problem solving. Your little one will love dropping the ball in and opening the side door to look for it.

  6. Softzone steps and slide This is easily one of the best purchases I made for Charlotte when she was around 8 months old. She recently turned 2 and STILL plays with these little steps and slide! They are perfect for working on climbing/crawling up, kneeling, pulling to stand, sliding down, pushing toys/cars down... the list goes on. We love it!

  7. Ball popper This toy was always a big favorite when I was working with patients in the clinic. Babies (and toddlers) loved this thing! It's fun to put the balls in and watch them pop out. You can also use the balls to roll away to encourage crawling/walking etc. or place the toy higher to encourage baby to stand and play.

  8. Pop/spin diaper bag toys pack I am ordering this ASAP! We actually already own the Dimpl toy included here. But I love the others they included in this "diaper bag pack"... the mini spinner toy looks so cool! I also love the other popper/dimpl toys included. Looks easy to bring along when out and about and keep baby entertained.

  9. Radio flyer push wagon This toy is one that your baby will use even after they start walking independently! It is a push toy that your baby can stand and push to walk for practice, but it's ALSO a wagon. You can put toys etc. in the toy and push it. So in the future it can be a shopping cart, baby stroller, etc. I love that it can be used for a long time!

  10. Vtech sit to stand walker This is another option for a push-walker toy. The buttons and gears on the front of the toy keep baby entertained for sitting, crawling, standing.. and then baby can stand and push the toy with the handle. Charlotte LOVED this little push toy when she was learning how to walk... and even afterwards!


 

12-18 month gift ideas



  1. Pop-up shape sorter- Fantastic for problem solving and hand-eye coordination, The shape sorter may take some guidance and practice at first but as your 1 year old advances after their first birthday, they will develop the skills to sort the shapes independently!

  2. Spin Again - A fun take on your typical stacking toy, the spin again is eye catching and mesmerizing to watch. It’s also great for hand-eye coordination. This toy is great for 1 year olds and beyond!

  3. Montessori stacking puzzle - I love that this puzzle can work on shapes recognition, fine motor skills, problems solving and so much more. I also love how it is a different kind of puzzle for toddlers to interact with than a typical jigsaw puzzle.

  4. Pikler Climbing Set - These are GREAT for helping your little one work on gross motor skills such as climbing and bilateral coordination. Also a good way to work on problem solving and overall strength and balance! BONUS: They can be used indoors! It's like having a playground at home

  5. Pop-up toy- This pop up toy is simple but I promise you, it’s super entertaining for 1 year olds! Great for finger isolation and strengthening as well as a fun learning experience about cause and effect.

  6. Gumball machine - I love this toy because it is great for encouraging movement in toddlers! The balls come out, they walk/run/crawl after them to put them back in… it was a great tool in the PT clinic and kids absolutely love the gumball machine.

  7. Retrospect balance bike - Baby’s first balance bike! Your little one will love riding around on this bike/ride-on toy. It’s a great way to work on bilateral coordination and balance, two skills they will need to develop in order to ride a bike in the future.

  8. Pull Toy - This pull toy is still one of my daughter’s favorites even at 2 years old. Pulling a toy is an advanced walking skill that our newly walking 1 year olds will need to master. It requires balance, whole body coordination, problem solving etc. I love that this toy also has additional learning components with songs & the alphabet.

  9. Baby Stella doll: Stuffed animals and dolls are great to introduce to your little one to encourage pretend play. This soft doll is a great first baby doll for a 1 year old. It also  comes in many different options for you to choose from.  boy - girl - pigtails (blonde hair) - pigtails (black hair) - pigtails (darker complexion) - boy (darker complexion) 

  10. Push & pop bulldozer - This little bulldozer toy is a great way to encourage movement from your little one. They will love chasing, scooping up and dropping the balls back into the toy while building hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

  11. Learning tower - The learning tower is BY-FAR the best and most used purchase I have made for my daughter. We use the learning tower EVERYDAY, she absolutely loves it. It gives her a sense of independence and inclusion in the kitchen. I actually have a full post on learning towers you can read HERE to get more information on them and why I love them so much. I also share tons of other options in that post but I’m linking a very popular option here!

  12. Push n go cars - These push and go cars are great for entertaining and keeping 1 year olds busy! You simply have to push down the top of the car to propel it forward and then let your little one chase it down.

  13. Melissa & Doug knob puzzles - Fine motor skills, visual spatial awareness, shapes and colors. Simple shape puzzles are great gifts that will grow with your 1 year old throughout their first year.

  14. Lovevery Blocks - Blocks are another great toy for fine motor, visual spatial awareness and imaginative play. The open ended nature of blocks provides for tons of play ideas and can grow with your child.


 

18-24 month gift ideas



  1. Slide - At this age your child is likely very busy! A little slide is perfect to satisfy their need to move. Climbing up and sliding down works on bilateral coordination as well as provides vestibular input. This slide can be used indoors or outdoors and its the perfect size for toddlers.

  2. Little People - I love little people for one year olds! They’re perfect for little hands and there are SO MANY options that there is sure to be a little people set that will interest your toddler. Two versatile and favorite sets at my house are the Farm and the House

  3. Bouncing toy - Starting as early as 18 months, your little one may show more interest in trying to jump. This toy is great to promote leg strengthening and work on the basic mechanics of jumping.

  4. Matching Dinos - These dinosaurs double as cute play figures and also little mini puzzles! Your child can mix and match the colors of the dinosaurs or you can work on matching colors. My daughter loves these.

  5. Play Sink - This was another top purchase that I made during my daughter’s first year. This play sink comes in Pink and Blue. I can attest to great customer service from this company as well, if you have any issues with the sink they will replace it!

  6. Wooden racers - A great toy for little ones who love cars, this simple cause and effect toy will keep them entertained. I love how this one comes with patterned wheels that make optical illusions as they spin down and the quality of this looks amazing.

  7. Water Table - This is a MUST HAVE if you are going to be spending time outside this summer with your little. It provides tons of entertainment and minimal set up. You’re toddler will love this, guaranteed. 

  8. Sensory table - A sensory table is a great way to engage your child in sensory play. We have the Ikea Flisat table and it gets used for sensory play, coloring, play-doh, crafts and so much more. The flisat table is often out of stock and this amazon table is almost identical to it according to reviews. Don’t forget to get bins for your table! We have the Ikea Trofast Bins however, these collapsible bins also come highly rated. 

  9. Play kitchen - Play kitchens provide a creative outlet for toddlers to engage in imaginative and pretend play. Our daughter loves her play kitchen from Ikea, it’s a minimalist design but has all of the basics your child will need for pretend play. This kitchen from Teamson has a few more cabinets, a fridge and interactive components while still maintaining a relatively minimalist design. Don’t forget to get some Pots & Pans and pretend food to complete the kitchen!

  10. Mini trampoline - As I mentioned earlier, jumping is a 2 year old skill but can start as early as 18 months. A mini trampoline is a great way to foster the development of jumping in your toddler.


 

2 year old gift ideas



  1. Play Ice Cream Set - Since I bought this toy for my daughter, she has legitimately played with it every single day… and it’s been 3 months. Safe to say it’s a hit!

  2. Obstacle course set - This obstacle course set is perfect for a toddler. It has balance beams and stepping stones to create a fun obstacle course for your 2 year old. Obstacle courses are great for generalized strengthening and balance, problem solving and following directions

  3. Screen free story/music players like the Yoto mini or the Tonies box is a great choice for a 2 year old. We personally have the Yoto player but I know so many people love Tonies as well. If you’re getting a yoto mini, I also highly recommend getting the Adventure jacket and also joining yoto club! Here are some yoto cards we love at 2 years old: Wheels on the Bus - Old McDonald -  Caspar babypants - Row Your Boat - Where’s Spot - Daniel Tiger Sleepy Stories - Encanto Songs - Moana Songs - Gruffalo - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

  4. Strider bike - Great for introducing skills necessary for riding an actual bicycle such as balance and reciprocal leg movements, strider bikes make a great gift for a 2-year-old. Don't forget a helmet!

  5. Critter Clinic - Not only is this toy great for problem solving and fine motor skills (unlock and lock the doors with keys), it also comes with pretend vet supplies for pretend play!

  6. Magnetic Tiles - I love the open ended nature of magnetic tiles. They are a perfect gift for 2 year olds and can grow with your child as they expand their building skills.

  7. Cozy Coupe - A classic toy, the cozy coupe is a great toy for working on coordination and pretend play of driving a car! Aside from the classic coupe, It also comes in a variety of styles including: Dinosaur Blue Truck - Pink

  8. Play couch - A play couch is a great gift for a 2 year old. You can build forts, use it for obstacle courses, crash pads, lounging, playing… it’s incredibly versatile! I linked an amazon version with great ratings but you can also consider the nugget, which is slightly more expensive but also a greatly loved brand by many!

  9. Sit and Bounce toy - This toy is great to promote leg strengthening and work on the basic mechanics of jumping. It also comes in several different shapes, like this dinosaur or the unicorn I linked above.

  10. Dress up clothes - Dress up and pretend play will be becoming more popular during this second year. Here are a few ideas of clothes your little one may like!  Rapunzel - Mermaid - firefighter - construction worker - chef 

  11. Peek a boo puzzle - This is an adorable shape matching/lock and key toy where you unlock the doors with keys that have shapes on them to free little zoo animals. Very adorable and a fun puzzle for a 2 year old!

  12. 3 wheel scooter - Scooters are great for building coordination and balance in toddlers, and they’re fun! 3 wheeled scooters are more safe and easier for 2 year olds to control.

  13. Puppets - These puppets are adorable and a fun way for your toddler to pretend play. 

  14. Basketball Hoop - This classic basketball game for toddlers is great for building gross motor skills and ball skills.

  15. Play kitchen - Play kitchens provide a creative outlet for toddlers to engage in imaginative and pretend play. Our daughter loves her play kitchen from Ikea, it’s a minimalist design but has all of the basics your child will need for pretend play. This kitchen from Teamson has a few more cabinets and interactive components while still maintaining a relatively minimalist design. Don’t forget to get some Pots & Pans and pretend food to complete the kitchen!


 

3 year old gift ideas



  1. Yoto player - if you follow me on instagram, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Yoto player… I have an entire highlight dedicated to it where I discuss why I love it so much. If you don’t already have one for you child, I highly recommend getting a story/song player like the Yoto or Tonies.

  2. Walkie talkie - walkie talkies provide numerous benefits for 3-year-olds, including promoting communication skills, imaginative play, fostering independence, cooperative play, and encouraging listening skills. 

  3. Gears Set- I love this gear puzzle/building set for 3 year olds. It’s a fun twist on a simple free-ended play activity.

  4. Microphone - This microphone comes with 15 pre-loaded songs for your child to sing to, has voice changing effects & the ability to connect to bluetooth so you can play any song you want through the microphone speaker to sing!

  5. Camera - This camera is perfect for toddlers! They can take pictures and record videos all on this digital camera. It’s a fun way to let your toddler explore photography and create memories with pictures.

  6. Counting bears - A classic toy that’s great for counting, sorting and fine motor skills these counting bears are fun and educational.

  7. At 3 years old, your child will be ready to play some simple games and board games! This is great for following directions, taking turns and social skills. Some of my favorites for 3 year olds are: Pop the pirate - Candy Land - Chutes & Ladders- Bluey scavenger Hunt - Matching/memory - princess Eric carle 

  8. Pogo stick - If you’re looking for a fun gift for a child with lots of energy, this fun pogo stick would be perfect! It’s a safer version of a traditional pogo stick that’s perfect for 3 year olds. 

  9. Play-doh sets- Play-Doh sets make great gifts for toddlers. It can help work on hand strengthening and fine motor skills as well as foster creativity. In addition to the Play-doh sets, tools for open-ended play with play-doh, like this set from Melissa and Doug, also make great gifts.

  10. Animal Puzzle - This un animal alphabet puzzle is a fun option for 3 year olds as well as traditional jigsaw puzzles.


 

I hope this ultimate gift gift for babies and toddlers helps to inspire you with ideas on what to get for the little one in your life. BUT... If you're looking for even more gift ideas, head to my amazon storefront for even more toys and gifts curated by me for your child.


Happy Shopping!




2 Comments


Could you please link number 12 in your 0-3 months? :)

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Ahh!! Thank you for catching that. I just updated it!

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