Fun toys for toddlers who want to feel grown-up

Stephanie Faris

Fun toys for toddlers who want to feel grown-up.

Christmas with a toddler is always an adventure, especially when it comes to choosing gifts. There's such a wide variety of fun toys to choose from, it can be hard to decide. The ages of 12 to 36 months are important for cognitive development, which is why there are plenty of toys that focus on the developing brain.

While each child is different, toddlers are innately curious. Due to this, they may seem difficult at times, but really it's simply a part of learning and growing. If you have a toddler, Christmas brings a great opportunity to give your child the tools necessary to move to that next stage of development. Toys that help your toddler feel older are essential at that age, especially if your child has an older sibling. Here are some popular gifts this holiday season that will help your toddler feel all grown up.

Brain Games

The toddler years are a great time to help your little ones explore their interests. They'll try a variety of hobbies and some will stick, while others will become passing fads. But as educators push for more students to be introduced to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects, it can never hurt to explore those areas early. By introducing them through interactive toys, you'll be able to encourage that natural curiosity. The Educational Insights Design & Drill Robot helps your toddler learn to take items apart and put them back together again. It comes with a screwdriver and multicolored bolts to bring fun to building things. If you're looking for a toy with staying power, the Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit contains more than 100 different STEM projects in one package.

Interactive Toys

Another way to think and learn is to play with interactive toys. The Fisher Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Toy encourages problem solving as toddlers troubleshoot ways to keep a caterpillar going. They eventually learn that if they plan ahead, they can achieve the best results as the remove and rearrange pieces to find the perfect combination. For parents whose children watch them working at a desk or easel day to day, the VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe may be a big hit. This toy can easily go from desk to easel, where your child can transition from learning to being creative.

Big Wheels

Nothing makes a toddler feel older like wheeling around on a vehicle, and Big Wheels have long been a popular way to motor around the house or yard. If you remember Big Wheels from your own childhood, you might want to pass that tradition on to your child. The PJ Masks Fly Wheels is reminiscent of those classics. If you want something closer to a tricycle, though, the Fisher-Price Grow-with-Me Trike is perfect for the toddler who wants to play like the big kids. It has two positions, making it usable all the way up to five years of age.

Toy Vehicles

Why settle for a tricycle when your toddler can drive a miniature vehicle around? Toy vehicles let your toddler be just like Mommy or Daddy while still saying safe. For your aspiring farmer, there's the Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force Tractor with Trailer. With two speeds plus reverse, this toy tractor has wheels that can keep your toddler moving forward on carpet, dirt, gravel, or pavement.

Pretend & Play

You'll probably find your toddler expresses that need to be grown up through playing. There are plenty of toys that will help indulge that side of your toddler, including interactive dolls like the Luvabella Responsive Baby Doll. This doll has realistic facial expressions and the ability to expand its vocabulary as children interact with it.


Stephanie Faris is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.