Grandma’s List of Five Best and Five Worst Toddler Toys and Gifts

toy trainAfter six grandchildren and many toddler gifts, this Grandma has listened to her daughters and daughter-in-law rave and complain about gifts and toys. Of course, when we give a toddler gift, we want the toddler to be happy, if not overjoyed. Here are some do’s and dont’s from this experienced Grandma.

As much as I would like to think that toddler gifts should be gender neutral, I have five grandsons and one granddaughter, and now two two year old toddler boys three months apart who like trucks and cars and things that go. So, please understand that asking the parents of our toddler grandsons what are the five best and five worst toddler gifts was met with many trucks and cars as the best. Therefore, if you are the grandparent of girls, you may want to consider what is the best resource, the Oppenheimer Toy Awards. The toys are evaluated by children of the age group to which they are geared, and the toys I have purchased based on their recommendations are ones that have stood the test of time with all of the grandchildren. I tend to buy their Platinum award winners  or their Blue Chip Classic toys.  I have written many blog posts for Oppenheimer Toy Award toys for various times and occasions. See, for example, post, “Award Winning Outdoor Toys For 2018 Spring and Summer Fun.”  For media and movies and the like, I found to be wonderful. The parents of my grandchildren find the website very conservative, but then, as a grandmother, I want to be conservative, and allow the parents to ultimately make the decision to be more liberal. See post, “Grandma’s List of Go-To Websites to be a Smart Internet Shopper: Assistance for Choosing Grandchildren Paraphernalia, Gifts and More.”

Best gifts for Toddlers

Number One. Pretend play wins here. This is where we get to the two toddler boys versus toddler girls as Bruder trucks are what one of the toddler boys plays with nearly exclusively. Be forewarned. They are expensive but can last through two or three sets of children. They are realistic reproductions to scale of real trucks. They are large and can be taken outdoors as well as used indoors. I have priced them at various sites including Walmart and Target, and Amazon is competitive, especially with Prime free shipping. If you live near a Home Goods, you may find a bargain Bruder truck, as they periodically have them for low prices. The favorite is the Bruder2815MACK Granite Dump Truck for Construction and Farm Pretend Play. Buy at Amazon. The second favorite is the Bruder Roadmax Garbage Truck. Buy on Amazon. Our grandsons own both.

Number Two. Pretend play with oversized figures, such as animals and dinosaurs and more. Schleich wild life animals are the best. If you’re still unsure whether a product is genuine Schleich or not, the best way to tell is by looking underneath for the Schleich stamp. Original Schleich products will have the stamp underneath as shown in the image. Schleich wild animals are developed with the assistance of parents, teachers, children, wildlife artists and experts and are especially designed for children’s hands. The designs of the figures are as realistic and naturalistic as possible. This enables children to experience the large variety of nature – from domestic animals on a farm to wild animals in the jungle. These are large. One at a time makes a great visit present. Buy at Amazon. One of the toddler grandchildren loves Pretend play with Fisher Price Little People Zoo Animal Friends. There are nine animals. Also Fisher Price Little People include Farm Animal Friends.

Number Three. Pretend play with stuffed animals is another favorite of toddlers, no matter if boys or girls. Buff, the Husky Dog, medium size is a favorite of the older of the two toddlers. You can find other TY stuffed animals that your toddler might like too. There is free shipping on

Number Four. Hapen Wooden Child Master Tool and Workbench. This continues the theme of pretend play as most interesting to toddlers. The workbench, with adjustable height, contains 35 pieces including a hammer, saw, screwdriver, wrench, vice, angle, screws, nuts, bolts, gears, links and more creative parts for building. Be creative and think of what the toddlers imitate their parents most. At one point it was sweeping the floor and we purchased a toy broom and dust pan. Buy at Amazon:  Yes, that faze did not last long but the investment was little.

Number Five. Fisher Price does the entire Thomas & Friends series which includes the wood track and classic Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway track (sold separately and subject to availability). Start with Thomas the Train. Buy at Amazon.


Number Six. This Grandma must add books! We read books over Face Time when we cannot read with our grandchildren in person. Remember, grandparents must be prepared to read the same book over and over again. How else is the toddler grandchild going to memorize it? See post, “The One Best Website for Finding the Best Children’s Books For Our Grandchildren of All Ages.”

Worst Gifts for Toddlers

Number One. Child toy telephones and electronics such as VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone. Our older two year old grandson does not pick it up. The lights and noise and music are of no interest. What is of interest to babies and toddlers are REAL Iphones. Our younger two year old grandson grabs his Mother’s IIphone while we are on FaceTime and runs with it, runs into his parents’ bedroom and hides with it and us under their covers. We are delighted but his parents not so much, but parents of toddlers must be prepared that the babies and children crave the real thing and discard the fake. See post,“Get Your Grandchild, Even Your Toddler and Preschool Grandchild, An iPad or iPad Mini For A Birthday Present or the Holidays With The Following Indispensible Accessories and Tips To Go With It.”

Number Two. Just as Fisher Price Thomas & Friends, based on the television program i vorite, the Paw Patrol toys are not. Our youngest toddler is obsessed with the Paw Patrol television program but does not play with the Mighty Pups Super Paws Marshall’s Deluxe Vehicle with Lights and Sounds which sells on Amazon for about $14. You would think he would like the noise. Similarly, he does not play with the PAW Patrol Marshall Remote Control Fire Truck with 2 way Steering which sells on Amazon for about $18. You would think remote control would be attractive to a toddler. Fortunately, they were not a great investment.

Number Three. Duplo Legos. Our older grandsons love Legos, but these large size Legos are of no interest to the youngest toddler grandson. This is maybe because he has two older brothers and most enjoys taking apart their Lego creations and playing with their Legos. Our older two year old grandson, not yet jaded by older siblings, plays with Duplo Legos, which are listed as Oppenheimer Platinum Award Winners.

Number Four. Puzzles. This Grandma has purchased puzzle after puzzle for all the grandchildren, thinking that it was educational and helped with small motor coordination. The first puzzles were of interest when the younger toddler boy was one and now that he is two, not so much. Having had two daughters, I can tell you from experience that this would be different for girls. Our granddaughter loved puzzles as a toddler. The mother of our grandson says toddler boys like to move and move and not sit and sit.

This Grandma loves buying and bringing gifts. Although all gifts are appreciated, some are more appreciated, especially those that do not have to be returned. I wish you happy toddler shopping so you can share the



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