Now that Connor is about to turn two, I wanted to share some of our favorite toys and products that we have been using and loving over the past several months. When I look to buy toys, I am always looking for a few key qualities: durability, versatility, and longevity. I want it to last because it’s made well, I want to be able to use it for more than just one specific activity, and I want it to hold Connor’s interest for more than just a few days or weeks. Obviously there are some exceptions to this. A few weeks ago I bought plastic Easter eggs and a basket from the dollar store, “hid” some mini animals inside that I got from the Target dollar spot, and it kept Connor busy for 45 minutes. I don’t expect that to be a toy that lasts forever because it’s super inexpensive (but I will say- it is versatile. I also use the animals in sensory bins and we bring them to restaurants for Connor to play with because they are small and easy to pack in a bag, and the plastic eggs will also be used for an egg hunt). But, when I’m spending money on toys I generally look for things that are good quality and will last.
Before I get into products, I want to also mention that we LOVE the sites Busy Toddler and Bringing Up Babe. We get SO many fun ideas from them and often we can use items that we already have around our time. Perfect for times like these when we are stuck in the house! We also really love simple things like books, puzzles, and blocks and rotate these to they always feel “new”!
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A few of these items are repeats from my previous lists because Connor is still VERY into them:
Big Soft Blocks– Connor stacks these, climbs on them, rolls cars down them, uses them as a stool to get on the couch, etc. We have them in our basement and they get a ton of use.
Water Table– Currently put away for the season, but this was a life saver on hot summer days and Connor has already been asking for it now that the weather is warming up and we are outside a lot.
Indoor/Outdoor Slide– So great to have indoors for the winter. He loves climbing up and sliding down, but also has a blast putting things down it (cars, trucks, trains, balls..).
New items we have gotten recently:
ThinkFun First Game– I love this game and actually have also used it with my preschool age speech clients as well. Connor loves rolling the cube and naming the colors, and we flip through the cards and he completes the tasks that he is directed to. We haven’t ACTUALLY played by the rules of the game yet, but as he gets a little older I’m excited to try it with him.
Ikea Kitchen– We got this for Christmas and it has been GREAT. We got some pots/pans and utensils to go with it from Ikea, but also Melissa and Doug play food and Green Toys accessories. The possibilities are endless with this and it gets used pretty much every day.
Letters/Numbers Bath Toy– Kevin uses these with Connor at bath time and it’s so cool to see him recognize letters/numbers and label them just from repeated exposure (and not us pushing him to learn them in any way).
Lakeshore Train Set– The perfect starter train set. Small enough to be packed away easily but has enough stuff to keep Connor interested. I actually keep this in mine and Kev’s bedroom and Connor plays with it while I get dressed and ready in the morning.
Drums– Connor has these at my parents house (my dad plays the drums) and he is OBSESSED to say the least. Asks for them all the time and really enjoys playing them or dancing around as my dad plays. My dad has even taught him a few little skills and he is picking it up super quickly.
2nd Birthday Toys We are Excited For:
Lovevery Block Set– The possibilities are endless with this wooden block set and I feel like it’s SUCH a good investment. Comes with blocks and planks for building, string and wheels to turn the box into a car, wooden people, etc. I have heard SUCH great things about this set.
Lawnmower– Connor has been asking for a lawnmower for MONTHS. No idea why he decided he wanted one, but I think it’s a great toy to use outside. Perfect for pretend play.
Garden Set– My parents have a really big garden that Connor is super interested in helping out with in the summertime. They do let him help when they can, but obviously some garden tools are not safe for toddlers and he also can’t water the garden constantly (to his dismay). So he can use this set to pretend play and imitate my dad working in the garden. Also great for use in the sandbox!
Beginner Patterns– Work on colors, shapes, patterns, and puzzle skills all with one toy! This will come in handy when the new baby comes and Connor needs a quieter activity to do.
Mommy and Me Swim Lessons- Still going strong with these (except for the time being during the lockdows) and loving every lesson. Such a great activity for Connor and I to do together and he is learning important skills at the same time.
Kitchen Helper– We use this EVERY day. Connor loves cooking with me and asks for the kitchen helper whenever I’m making something in the kitchen. It lets him be at counter height safely, and he helps measure, pour, and mix ingredients when we cook. Such a great activity for us to do together- he is learning valuable skills, engaging and interacting with me, and tasting new foods…. and I am getting stuff done which a huge win for both of us.
Zoo Membership- We LOVE our local zoo and had a membership last year that we got a ton of use out of. We asked for one again as a birthday gift for Connor and I know we will get just as much use out of it this year.
Wagon- Not really considering this a toy because even though Connor loves it, it’s really for Kevin and I to be able to pull Connor around places without having to constantly be putting him in and out of the stroller. He is at an age where he wants to walk a lot more so this is way easier to use depending on where we are.
Kids Yoga Mat and Yoga Bug book– Haven’t used this with Connor yet, but he has been REALLY interested in watching and participating in Kevin and my workouts. He knows a few yoga poses and I am so excited to practice with him as he grows. There are also other books in this series and I think it’s more interactive than using a video (not that I’m opposed to that- but I’m always books over video any day).
What toys and activities do your little ones love at this age?!