As much as I love to give my kids fun gifts and watch their faces light up on Christmas morning, I don’t love giving items that will be stored away in their closets and minimally used. I’ve put together a list of some of our favorite practical toddler gifts.
Whether you are looking for gift ideas for toddlers that are not toys or simply looking for toys that will get played with endlessly – here are my best recommendations! These are literally our tried and true favorite items of both ME AND my 2 toddlers!
21 Practical Toddler Gift Ideas
Ok, on to our favorite gift ideas! I’ve decided to include both non-toy items as well as toys that actually get played with over and over. You know, the good toys that promote independence and creativity. The ones that last years. I’m not including those battery-operated toys that cause a big bang on Christmas morning and then get thrown in the closet for next to forever.
Useful & Non-Toy Gifts for Toddlers
A practical toddler gift idea – both a raincoat (I love this one for boys and this is adorable for little girls) and rain boots will get tons of use! We love these rain boots that we got last year. And if you live in an area that gets snow, snow boots are also a useful gift for toddlers.
2. Sleeping Bag or PeaPod
For the family that loves to camp or travel this is a perfect gift. It can even work for sleepovers at Grandma’s house. A small, portable sleeping bag is a great practical gift. It can even double as a travel bed for toddlers!
We also love our Peapod. We actually have both the original Peapod (perfect size for my 1-year-old) and a PeaPod Deluxe which fits my 3-year-old.
What toddler doesn’t love new pajamas? They are arguably more fun to a child than clothes yet super practical. Every toddler needs them and outgrows them quickly! Check out my favorite toddler pajama brand here.
4. Fun Beach Towel
Does your toddler love the beach or the pool? Get them their favorite style of towel (my kids’ favorites are anything Super Hero/Mario or Minnie). Not only will they have fun with it but it’s practical to use at the pool, beach, or even during bathtime.
5. Bird Feeder
What toddler doesn’t love to watch the birds and refill a bird feeder? My 3-year-old has a bird feeder in his playhouse and is always intent on making sure it is full of birdseed.
The practical toddler gift of a bike is something your child will be able to use as they grow. One size does not fit all with bikes! Typically a 2-4-year-old will need a 12″ bicycle and somewhere between 3-5 will need a 14″ bike, but measure to know what size to buy your child.
My son went through a BIG puzzle phase at age 2 and 3 years old. We bought a lot of small puzzles in tins from the Dollar Tree and Aldi. Here are some great puzzles for 2-5 year-olds.
My son was gifted an herb garden kit at the age of 3. He was very interested in planting it, watching it grow, and caring for it (we had to water it often). The best practical gift ideas are those that you can actually use – especially in your kitchen!
If your toddler is into a certain topic, consider gifting them with a magazine subscription. My toddlers love to receive the Highlights High Five magazine in the mail and would also enjoy Ranger Rick Jr or National Geographic Little Kids
10. Small Suitcase
Whether you travel frequently or are simply sending your toddler off to Grandma’s house for the night, a small suitcase is a fun gift. In fact, I still remember when my grandparents gifted me a small Minnie suitcase!
11. Picnic Table
This summer our kids were gifted this picnic table and it’s perfect! We have had many lunches/snacks on it and also enjoy playing with Play-Doh and other activities outside. Plus, it folds down so we can store it away in the garage this winter.
12. Bible or Devotional Book
Jesus Storybook Bible – We gifted this Storybook bible to our kids over a year ago when my son was only two. He loved it even though it is probably geared towards older kids.
Louie Giglio Devotional Books – We are currently reading this with our 3 year old and honestly, it’s probably a bit better suited to older kids, but he does LOVE it and reminds us to read it every day.
13. Nugget (Play Couch for Kids)
Ok, we technically have a Nugget, but my kids don’t know it yet! It’s hidden away waiting for Christmas. My 3-year-old is OBSESSED with taking the couch cushions off the playroom sofa every day so I’m hoping this will satisfy that desire somewhat. It’s a splurge for sure, but we plan to give it to both kids as their only gift this Christmas.
We have a small real set we let our toddler play with and he loves them. However, he does have some issues remembering which side to look through so this kid’s set would solve that problem for younger kids.
Of course, books are the obvious practical gift and one I included on my list of practical gift ideas for 1-year-olds as well. Here are our favorite books for 2-3-year-olds:
- Bear and Friends Book Set – My kids love these books and I personally find them very catchy and fun to read so it’s a win-win.
- I Spy Books – we found these to be especially great for travel this summer.
- The Pout-Pout Fish , Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School, Pout-Pout Fish and the Big Big Dark
16. Memberships & Subscription Boxes
Check with your local zoo or museum to see if they offer a discount for memberships. My kids love the zoo and aquarium but these places do get more expensive as they age.
KiwiCo has various activity box subscriptions depending on your child’s age. We have purchased the Koala Crates for our 2-year-old before and he really enjoyed doing them.
17. Art Supplies
These are some of our favorite art and activity supplies for our toddlers:
- Do-A-Dot Markers – We love these Do-A-Dot markers. They provide plenty of entertainment and wash off hands and clothes easily from our experience. Pair them with this dot activity book to make a complete gift set!
- We use a Mess Free Coloring Set similar to this one for our 3 year old in the car and he loves it!
- Stamp Set – Stamps are always fun especially when they are washable like this one. (ha!)
- Large Roll Paper – We love to use this to trace or use for other activities (shown below.)
Minimalist Toy Gifts for Toddlers
Obviously, you want to give SOME toys to your toddler. You just want to be picky about what kind you give. To us minimalist toys are the ones that get played with over and over, providing hours of entertainment and therefore are still practical toddler gifts at the end of the day. Here are our FAVORITES:
18. Magnetic Tiles such as Magnatiles (or Picasso Tiles)
I definitely recommend having a duplo starter set with basic blocks, but we also have quite a few special sets that we just love and build over and over. Duplos were something we did almost every day while my son was 2. Here are a few of our favorite sets:
- Duplo Barn & Duplo Horse Stable– These are favorites of my sons. I had to help assemble at age 2, but at 3 he can do it himself.
- Duplo Train – Your toddler will likely need help building this at first, but once they are older they will be able to do it on their own and it will continue to provide entertainment for years.
- Duplo Minnie Set – My daughter received this set when she turned one and she just loves it. Her big brother sets it up for her and then she enjoys playing with it.
- Duplo House – We have the 80s version from my childhood, but my kids absolutely love the duplo house. It has gotten hours upon hours of playtime.
20. Play Kitchen
A toddler kitchen provides a lot of entertainment for toddlers. We have the one from IKEA which is an inexpensive and cute option. However, here are some other favorite toddler kitchens and don’t forget all these best toy kitchen accessories.
21. Outdoor Toys
Some basic outdoor toys can help keep kids entertained while they get a dose of Vitamin D from the sun. Here are some of our favorite outdoor toys:
- Crayon Water Blaster – These push/pull squirt guns are so fun to use. Someone recently just gave us some and my 3-year-old loves to even just blast the trees all day.
- Water Table – These are perfect for 1 year olds and younger toddlers, but my 3 year old still plays in it as well.
- Outdoor Dump Truck
- Water Balloons
- Bubble Machine
What are your Favorite Practical Gifts for Toddlers?
I’m quite literally always looking for new ideas for practical gifts for my kids. I don’t want to clutter up our closets or home with items that got used on Christmas morning or never again. If you have any great non-toy gift ideas for your kids or even minimalist toys that get a lot of playtime, please share them below!! By the way, if you have a 1 year old here are some great practical 1-year-old gift ideas!