I find it really fun buying gifts and presents for children this age. Older toddlers have a much longer attention span and will play with toys for a lot longer. They enjoy toys that allow them to copy what they see in the world around them and to develop their imagination and creativity. Outdoor toys are also good gifts for children this age. Toddlers will have clearly developed likes and interests by this age, so you can easily find something that fits in with this. All these present ideas are recommendations based upon what has been popular in our house!
1 - Wooden train set
My son has played for hours with his wooden train set. It’s a toy that it’s worth looking out for second hand as you can often buy a large box of pieces all together and it can work out very good value. It is so durable that it will last for years, and it’s a gift that friends can relatives can add to over time with extra track and trains. It’s nice to think about buying a big storage box too so that it can be packed away neatly, or you could even think about a train set table with integrated storage.
2 - Small world play toys
Toddlers this age are just starting to understand small world and imaginative play. There are lots of different play sets available, so you can choose one that reflects the child’s interests. It’s nice to find out what the child already has, so that you can expand with different items from the same range.
3 - Car garage and toy cars
Our car garage is another favourite toy, and loved by both my son and my daughter. Look for one that has a ramp or a lift for more fun, and team the gift with a big pack of toy cars.
4 - Simple jigsaw puzzles
Jigsaws are a great quieter activity for toddlers and there are so many to choose from that you can easily find one that reflects the child’s interests. Look for large, sturdy pieces, but don’t be afraid to choose one with a larger number of pieces as toddlers enjoy doing puzzles together with adults. I would suggest puzzles with at least 20 pieces. There are some lovely character jigsaw puzzles available based on different television programmes and so on, but if you go for a more generic image then it won't date and can be passed down through the family.
5 - Scooter or Scuttlebug
A toddler this age may have moved on from the simple ride-on toys but not yet have the height or co-ordination for the pedals on a trike. Most children this age will be able to begin mastering a scooter, look for one with three wheels for added stability. I’d also really recommend a Scuttlebug - a simple trike without pedals which can be used indoors or outdoors. We have the Mini Micro 3 wheel scooter and it is brilliant for toddlers.
6 - Vehicle toys and play mats
All children love pushing cars about, but look for some different types of vehicle, like an amblulance or fire engine. You could also think about a car play mat or rug.
7 - Role-play toys
A toy kitchen is a fantastic present for toddlers this age. If money or space don’t allow, look for some play food and utensils. Other popular toys let toddlers mimic the jobs that they see their parents carrying out, for example a toy lawnmower, vacuum cleaner or iron.
8 - Sand/water table
We’ve had a lot of play with a sand and water table. In the summer you can keep it outside (if it is for outside use make sure to look for one with an easily removable cover) filled with sand and water, and in the winter you can bring it inside and fill with dried pasta or rice. It also serves as storage for the sand toys. We have the Thomas The Tank Sand And Water Depot and it is great, very solid with a nice cover and lots of accessories.
9 - Outside play equipment
If your budget allows, you will get a lot of use from some outdoor play equipment. You can buy swings with baby seats that can be replaced with a seat suitable for an older child as your child grows. If you want to buy a slide I’d recommend avoiding the very small slides as although they are great for young toddlers they do grow out of them quickly. A sandpit is also a great outside toy that will be played with for many years. Make sure to look for one with a cover to keep the sand dry and clean.
10 – Sticker and activity books
Older toddlers will have the attention span for longer stories, especially if they have lots of pictures with lots of things to talk about. They will also love activity books with lots of stickers, which are great to hold in reserve for times when you need to occupy a toddler quietly, for example in a plane or train or while waiting in a restaurant.
Buying for a different age group? Try these:
Gift ideas for very young babies
Gift ideas for young toddlers (age 1 - 2)
Gift ideas for pre-schoolers
Clutter free gift ideas for children