The Best $20 and Under Toys for Toddlers

With the holiday season approaching, our thoughts are turning to gift-giving. It can be baffling to find the right toy for a toddler. It needs to be durable, yet pretty, soft so they can’t get hurt, yet sturdy enough to not break . Parents have a hard enough time deciding what to get when the todddler is their own child, but Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and even family friends can get downright baffled when trying to pick the perfect gift for the special toddler on their list. Here are a few tried and true suggestions for the person looking for the perfect toddler toy that is fun toddlers, yet easy on the gift-givers wallet.

The first toy is a tried and true shape sorter. Many of us remember playing with these toys when we were kids. You put the various shapes into the correct holes. Simple, yet wonderfully fun when you are a toddler. Shape sorters are supposed to teach not only shapes, but hand-eye coordination and puzzle-solving skills also. There are many different varieties out there, from wooden to plastic, and even a washable material version. Our “test-toddlers” , however, liked playing with the Fisher Price version the best. This shape sorter features familiar characters from “Sesame Street”, is brightly colored, and the pieces are easy to grasp in tiny fingers. All of this for under $13, and it’s plastic and easy to wipe off, too. ($12.99 at Target or Walmart).

Going with the classics, our next toy is a durable, brightly colored update of the hammer and peg toys that were popular with toddlers in the 1970’s. This updated model by Melissa and Doug has a hammer that makes a satisfying “thwack” when hit against the real wood base, and pegs in primary colors for easy visiblity. Called (appropriately) Pound-A-Peg, this toy is availiable in almost every store that sells children’s toys, from Walmart to Toys R Us, for $8.99.

A new twist on the boring old ball is the Discovery Ball by Leapfrog. This unique ball comes attached to a base for younger children, but the base is easily removed as the toddler grows. Featuring large buttons and fun colors, this ball plays over 20 tunes when rolled. The lettters on it say their sound and play a song when pressed. Lights blink in time to the music, fully engaging a toddler’s attention. This fun ball sells for $18.99 at Babies R Us.

Last but not least, we have the “Push-Along Thomas”. This plastic push toy can be used with the handle as an aide for walking toddlers, or the handle can detach and sitting toddlers can push the colorful train around on the floor. The handle does detach easily, which can be both a drawback and a good thing. Toddlers loves to detach the handle themselves, but it means that it is not a sturdy walking aide. Despite that, it is fun to play with , with its cheery face and upbeat songs. This retails for $19.87 at Amazon, and is made by International Playthings.

No matter which toy you choose to give a toddler, the best gift of all will be when you sit and play with the toddler. These toys can be fun for both of you!

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