The best toys for little kids.

August 16, 2022

Determining what makes a great toy is easy: how many minutes of distraction does it offer? More than five means you’ve found a great toy. These meet that high bar for my 4-year-old and me.

Green Toys Tea Set

You can throw this tea set in the dishwasher, it won’t break and the cups aren’t too heavy for kids to hold, even when they’re full of “tea” and “milk.” It also has all the components that matter (tea pot, cups, saucers, spoons, plus cream and sugar holders) and it comes in a cute colors.  

Dough Toys Dinosaur World

These dino molds are easy to use, and the dinos come out looking very realistic. Plus, after making them, your kids can play with the dinos — at least for five to seven minutes, which is all you need to go to the bathroom, make a coffee and pretend you have the rest of the day to yourself.

Sarah’s Silk Rainbow Streamer

My daughter loves dancing around with this silk rainbow streamer – it’s basically like blowing bubbles indoors. You can also turn it into a wand by wrapping the streamer around the stick and tying it. Best of all, you can use it once they go to bed and pretend you’re Taylor Swift in her Shake It Off music video.

The Squirrel Game

I’ve bought other games for my 4-year-old, but this squirrel board game seems to be the one she gravitates toward. It’s very simple, but it includes a lot of fun elements, like collecting, spinning, and placing tiny acorns into miniature logs. The squirrel tweezer is a little challenging, but you don’t have to use it.

Melissa & Doug Bowling Friends

This bowling set is one of the only activities my 1- and 4-year-olds can play together — with supervision, but still. And once they’re done bowling, they love playing with the cute animal figures. We’ve had our set for four years, and it’s in great shape.

PlanToys Solid Drum

This toy drum has a great sound, almost like a steel drum. Kids can even make different sounds depending on where they hit the drum. And best of all, the stick has a rubber tip, which softens the sound.

Skip Hop Pull & Go Submarine

A monkey in a submarine that moves underwater?! It exists and it’s as fun as it sounds. We’ve had this submarine bath toy for three years, and it’s still going strong.

Fisher Price Classic Farmer See ‘n Say

This animal sounds pull-toy is a classic for a reason. The sounds are realistic, and it’s fun for kids to guess what animal will be next (until they figure out that they can point the arrow at the animal they want to hear).

Rody Horse

Most kids love to bounce (adults too, but we get fewer opportunities), and Rody is a fun way to do just that. It’s stable, cuddly, and low to the ground, so kids don’t tumble far.

Radio Flyer Classic Walker

This wooden Radio Flyer is sturdy and really easy to maneuver around corners — thank goodness because my girls love being pushed in it. They use it as a grocery cart, a stroller, a car and even a horse. You can take the slats out once kids get bigger or if more than one wants to get in. We’ve had ours for four years, and it’s still in great shape.

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