Toys for Older Toddlers
Twos & up
Tags: early learning, toddlers, language, active play
Posted: 2012-09-27 14:52:43 By: Joanne Oppenheim


Toys that quiz and demand more than they have deliver negative messages. Remember you want to develop their positive attitudes about learning. Knowing their letters may be a good trick they will work on to please you--but do nothing to build a love or desire to read. Right now the accent should be on developing their language by talking, singing, telling stories, and reading to them. Symbols come later. We looked at the wide range of toys for this holiday season that you might want to consider. Be sure to include some books and hug-ables on other parts of the Toyportfolio—they are basic gear for toddlers. Click here for some excellent choices for your two and up toy maven.



2012 Award
Tots Art Start
(Alex $16 Score: )

A collection of art supplies, chosen for young preschoolers. No glue or scissors are needed. There are no lines to color inside of, nor designs to copy. There are two colorful frames with a sticky background on which children can put pieces of flat, shredded, or fringed tissue paper, patterned stickers, and doilies. All of these are supplied in the package. There are four other non-sticky frames, two with white backgrounds, one shaped like a tree; another shaped like a horse. This is an open-ended kit that also includes three triangular shaped crayons. The latter are faint unless used on one of the points of the triangle. All the materials are ready for experimenting with making collages. Marked 18 months and up. We'd say that may be rushing it a bit for most toddlers. Once you start using this you may want to start a collage box of your own for further exploration.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on




2012 Awards
ELC Music Garden
(International Playthings $29.99 Score: )

Talk about making things happen, this is it! Touch the flowers and set off the music and lights and sounds. There is no right or wrong way to make this work. We really like the musical selections, not because they ar classic melodies, but the quality of the sound is excellent! That alone sets this toy apart from all too many of the so-called musical toys for tots. There are several modes of play to explore: the scale, animal sounds, silly ones and pure music. The tote handle will please toddlers who like carrying their favorite toys as they move from one room to another.  This does have a volume control and teaches kids about cause and effect as well as empowering them to make music.  6 months & up.

SNAP: For all the reasons above, this is a pleasing and interesting toy for learning about cause and effect and giveing children a sense of power, by making things happen. It has a lot of sensory play value.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on




2012 Awards
ELT Whizz Around Mountain
(International Playthings $54 Score: )

Push the light switch on top of the mountain and watch the little cars speed down the spiral runway. Add the plastic boulders and they can chase the two little cars that can stick together or run solo. There's a switch on the runway to release the boulders separately from the cars. Loaded with batteries the lights will flash and sounds will be activated. However, kids will enjoy this with or without the sounds and lights. 18 months & up.

SNAP: A winning choice for learning about cause and effect and a sense of success as they use the two different actions to make thing happen. The cars do go too fast for tracking with ease, but they do invite some pretend play as well as plenty of pleasure from repetition.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on




2012 Award
eeBoo Tot Tower: Life On Earth
(eeBoo $20 Score: )

Ten colorful nesting blocks by storybook illustrator, Melissa Sweet, are covered with birds, bugs, and other wildlife. The top of each is emblazoned with a numeral. Knowing and naming all these creatures will be a challenge to most toddlers and preschoolers. Yet, there's something to be said for stretching the vocabulary beyond the usual farm and zoo animals. For starters these will be fun to put in size order and knock them down. This is just one of the many handsome Tot Towers from this maker. Also charming in this nest and stacking format, a set of Alphabet blocks or a Read To Me set with short sentences about each item pictured. 2 & up.   The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on


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