When it comes to play time for your toddler, you want fun, safe, and most importantly, educational activities. Below you'll see our picks for the very best products for your growing toddler, with an emphasis on creativity and physical activity. Note that while there are countless electronic toys marketed towards kids this age, some of which we've tested, we're not recommending them in this guide. We feel more traditional toys encourage toddlers to be a bit more thoughtful in their play.

    Toy Boat: Green Toys Tugboat

    The perfect toy to enjoy in the bath or the pool, this durable boat from Green Toys is made right here in the USA and made of recycled plastics. It's even packaged in completely recycled cardboard - no nasty plastic ties to contend with (and throw out!).

    The Guru's Tip:

    This tugboat will even do double-duty as a bucket for rinsing your toddler during bathtime!

    Sled: Paricon Toddler Boggan Sled

    Good for toddlers age one and up, we think this is just about the best $20 you can spend on a toy. It allows kids to get outside when the weather turns cold, and promotes parent-child interaction.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Have a carpeted room at home? You'll be amazed at how much toddlers will enjoy sledding inside!

    Instrument: Kid O Toys Tambourine

    Music makes the world go round, and this wonderful tambourine is easy for kids to hold and durable enough to survive plenty of play sessions.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Unlike a lot of cheap tambourines marketed towards toddlers, this one has no glue or staples, making it much better for little ones still in the habit of chewing their toys!

    Play Broom Set: Melissa & Doug Let's Play House Pretend Play Set

    Amazingly enough, little kids love to clean house! This high-quality set gives toddlers plenty of options for play, while keeping them on their feet and active.

    The Guru's Tip:

    With enough practice, toddlers might actually be able to do some real house cleaning with this toy!

    Art Easel: Melissa & Doug Double-Sided Magnetic Chalkboard Easel

    The product photo for this easel doesn't do it justice - it's just packed with activities for toddlers. That includes a chalkboard (with included chalk), a magnetic whiteboard with a full set of numbers and letters (36 in all), and a roll of art paper for use with crayons (not included, and we recommend Jumbo Crayolas). The whiteboard can also be used with the included dry-erase marker, but we think that's better saved until your little one is just a bit less likely to draw all over themselves!

    The Guru's Tip:

    As with many Melissa & Doug products, this one has multiple uses. Honestly, it's actually four toys in one!

    Toddler Table: KidKraft Round Table and 2 Chair Set

    Once your toddler starts to mimic adult behaviors more, they'll really want to sit down at a table to play. This wonderful little table is easy to assemble and includes a useful bin in the middle for toy storage. It comes in several pieces, but can be assembled in under 10 minutes. Note that the chairs will be a bit too tall for most kids under two to touch the floor, but that won't stop them from enjoying it!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This table can also do double-duty during mealtime, giving toddlers a chance to sit up on their own without the fear of anything falling too far - including food!

    Play Mat: Baby Care Pingko & Friends

    If your toddler will often be playing in a room with hard floors, this mat is an absolute must-have item. It will go a long way to protecting wood floors from impacts when toys go flying! This mat also has educational value, with the many animal illustrations and names to keep your little one entertained for hours.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Because this mat is so well cushioned, your little one may even be able to comfortably nap from time to time in between play sessions!

    Wagon: Radio Flyer Big Red Classic ATW

    Could there be anything more synonymous with childhood than a Radio Flyer wagon? This model is updated for the modern age with big tires, making it perfect for play in the yard. It will even do double-duty hauling your garden supplies around!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We recommend you take it slow at first with your toddler to let them get familiar with riding in a wagon. They'll quickly learn how to hold on and use their core strength to stay sitting up, which is great exercise!