I love creative toys for toddlers! What a great way to grow their minds through role-play, problem solving, building, and more. Toddlers are learning about their world through everything they do. Dress up clothes and puppets allow them to reenact what they’re learning every day. Practicing real life situations such as having a tea party, running a food truck, or sweeping the floor are teaching them while using their imaginations.
The toys here are arranged according to manufacturer’s recommended age. Many of them are appropriate for younger ones as well, and all of them could be enjoyed by older kids. You know your toddler best, so use your judgement when choosing a toy.
This article contains affiliate links. Learn more here.
Creative Toys for Toddlers Age 1 and Older
These magnetic shapes are awesome for building creativity in kids of all ages! They will be a hit with everyone in the family. We have some at our library, and it’s the first place my little ones run when they get there. I love seeing their imaginations at work as they create shapes and build objects. Picasso Tiles are another brand that are comparable in quality and price and recommended highly by parents. This is an amazing STEM toy too, as highlighted in Best STEM Toys for Toddlers—Ultimate Guide!
Legos are a timeless toy that will be enjoyed by your kids for years to come. The duplo sets are a great intro to legos for little ones. There are so many sets to choose from, these are some of their most popular. Click the link above to see more.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Sweet Manners Tea Set
This entertaining tea set is a perfect role-play toy for little ones. With cute sounds and songs, it introduces them to manners and sharing. The spout lights up as they “pour”, and the “treats” can be placed on the plate like a shapes puzzle.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn My Smart Purse
This fun purse with accessories will be a hit with any toddlers like mine who love packing and unpacking bags, going “shopping”, and generally doing everything Mom does. The zipper and buttons provide fun and learning as they play songs and phrases to teach little ones opposites, Spanish, and more.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck
Little ones will love the pretend play that comes with this toy! Includes everything they will need to run a food truck: sink, grill, cash register, steering wheel, and of course, the food. There are also added learning opportunities with fun songs and phrases.
Creative Toys for Toddlers Age 2 and Older
Melissa and Doug high quality hand puppets encourage creative play in little ones. Toddlers love acting out real life or imaginary situations with hand puppets. These are another one of my girls’ favorite toys to play with at the library. What a great way to get their creative juices flowing! Practically speaking, I love that these puppets are sized to fit both little hands and grown ups, and that they are washable.
There are lots of general hand puppets to choose from, such as Zoo Friends and Jolly Helpers.
In addition, there is a collection of special puppets for the budding ventriloquist that come with a detachable wooden rod to animate gestures! These are a huge hit with toddlers and older kids alike!
Real Working Play Kitchen Sinks
Oh my goodness! Have you seen these little toy sinks? I wish I’d found them when my kids were younger! Playing at the kitchen sink is one of their favorite things. My girls are big enough now to stand on a chair and “help” me wash dishes, but this would have been so much fun when they were smaller. Water flows through the faucet into the sink, while little ones wash the dishes. I hesitated to highlight this toy, because frankly, the reviews aren’t great. It can be difficult for smaller ones to get the water to flow by themselves. However, despite the reviews, this is a favorite with little ones everywhere!
Creative Toys for Toddlers Age 3 and Older
Melissa and Doug Role Play Costume Dress Up Sets
I love watching little ones play dress up and use their imaginations! Admittedly, these are pricey, but that’s for good reason. These costumes are high quality and meant to last. What does your little one love? Choose one or two sets you know they will enjoy and go with that. Recommended for age 3-6, so they may be too big for younger toddlers.
Do you have a little Doc McStuffins in the house? They will love fixing up their furry friends with this doctor kit. Every child I know has fun with doctor kits. There should be one in every toy collection!
Pretend Play Cleaning Sets
If your toddlers are anything like mine, they want to do everything you do, including sweeping, mopping, and cleaning. But when they get ahold of your long-handled broom, everyone and everything had better look out! And of course, they may want to spray your window cleaner, but nobody wants to take the chance of getting sprayed in the face, right? This Spray, Squirt, and Squeegee Set, is perfect for your toddler “helpers.” Unlike some other children’s cleaning tools, these are actually just like the real thing! And I love that it comes with checklist that teaches little ones which cleaning products are used for what.
I love this toy to get little ones’ imaginations flowing! They can create and recreate as many funny faces as they want. Fun for all ages, this toy will grow with your children.
There are some things Melissa and Doug just do right, such as wooden puzzles, as I share in this gift guide. Another thing they’re known for is wooden food. They have a wonderful variety of high quality wooden food play sets that have been loved by children for years. These are fantastic creative toys for toddlers, sparking imaginative play and creativity.
There are a number of different sets that allow for a wide variety of pretend play for little ones: Slice and Bake Cookie Set, Food Groups, Fridge Food, and one that’s always a favorite, the Cutting Fruit Set. Little ones always want to try to cut things with a knife like they see mommy doing. Why not let them practice with a child-safe knife?
What Do You Think?
Do you have any of these creative toys for toddlers? Are there any others you would add? My readers and I would love to hear your opinions about these toys or others that create opportunities for little ones to use their imaginations. Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
If you’re looking for more ideas for gifts for toddlers, check out the other guides in this series:
Start here with the ultimate guide: How to Choose the Best Gifts for Toddlers
Spotlight on the Best Musical Toys for Toddlers
15+ Puzzles for Toddlers That They Will Love
35+ Best Board Games for Toddlers That You Will Love
Best STEM Toys for Toddlers–Ultimate Guide!
Active Toys for Toddlers You Need to See
Books for Toddlers That Will Make You Smile
Spotlight on the Top 12 Toddler Bath Toys