The 10 Best Active Toys for Toddlers

Get your toddler moving with rocking toys, hopping games, spinners, and more

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Every parent of a toddler knows that they are a whirlwind of energy. One of the best ways to enjoy that natural exuberance is with toys that encourage active play. The toddler years are a time of rapid development as children quickly gain physical strength and abilities. Whether designed for rocking, jumping, or hopping, the best active toys keep kids entertained as they develop their fine and gross motor skills. 

Reviewed & Approved

The Little Tikes T-Ball Set comes with five balls and a large plastic bat that makes it fun for toddlers to learn to play baseball. For a classic rocking toy that toddlers can ride indoors or outdoors, we love the Little Tikes Rocking Horse.

Safe, durable, easy to clean toys that are age-appropriate are best for toddlers. Consider your child’s interests and abilities, and look for toys that can be played outdoors or indoors. Look for a toy that will challenge your toddler, but ensure that the child feels confident in their ability to play with the item. To find the best active toys for toddlers, we considered age-appropriateness, entertainment value, safety, and design when reviewing products.

Based on our reviews, these are the best active toys for toddlers on the market today.

Best Overall: Little Tikes T-Ball Set

4.7
Little Tikes T-Ball Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Who else recommends it? Best Products and The Strategist both picked the Little Tikes T-Ball Set.

What do buyers say? 95% of 17,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

The Little Tikes T-Ball Set is our top pick because it’s adjustable, easy for toddlers to use, and can be played indoors or outdoors. This classic toy is suitable for toddlers 18 months old and up. They’ll learn to swing the bat and chase the ball in no time. 

The height of the ‘T’ is adjustable, so it will grow with your child. The set includes 5 plastic balls and a lightweight, oversized bat so they can play with comfortably and safely. When they’re finished playing, the pieces can all be neatly stored in the stand and hung on the wall out of the way.

Best Budget: Little Tikes Rocking Horse

Rocking horse

Little Tikes

What little kid doesn’t like a rocking horse? It’s a fun toy and it requires a bit of effort to rock back and forth, so it will definitely use up some energy. This model is made for tots between 12 months and 3 years old (and under 50 pounds), can be played with indoors or outside, and is built sturdy to avoid accidents. 

Best Outdoor: Little Tikes 2-in-1 Garden Cart & Wheelbarrow

Little Tikes 2-in-1 Garden Cart & Wheelbarrow

Courtesy of Amazon

There are two things toddlers really love: putting stuff into containers and taking them back out, and "helping" their parents any chance they can get. This toy is the perfect combination of both. It’s designed for kids between 2 and 6 years old and is equipped with features that are great for outside play, like a shade canopy and a working water sprinkler. It also comes with two potted flowers and two gardening tools.

Best Indoor: Kiddey Play Tent with Tunnel

Kiddey Play Tent with Tunnel

Courtesy of Amazon

Toddlers get a kick out of a crawl-through tunnel on their own but add tents at either end (which can also serve as ball pits) and you have endless active fun. Kids 12 months old and up can safely expend their energy with this fun toy, and once they’ve tuckered out, you can collapse everything down into a neat little carrying case. 

Best Versatile: Melissa & Doug Hop & Count Hopscotch Rug

Melissa & Doug Hop & Count Hopscotch Rug

Courtesy of Amazon

For little jumpers between 3 and 7 years old, this hopscotch rug and bean bag set will definitely keep them occupied. It measures 6 feet long, has a non-skid bottom, and features a vibrant traditional hopscotch pattern. Kids can simply jump from square to square or they can toss a bean bag onto the mat to add a bit of a challenge.

Best Classic: Playskool Sit ‘n Spin Classic Spinning Activity

Playskool Sit ‘n Spin Classic Spinning Activity Toy

Amazon

While your toddler is technically sitting on this toy, it’s still very active because they have to use their arms to spin them around, and the more effort they give, the faster they’ll go; so you know they’ll give it their all. This classic toy is great for kids between 18 months and 6 years old and can be used indoors or outside on a nice day. 

Best Climbing: ECR4Kids SoftZone Climb and Crawl Activity Play Set

SoftZone Climb and Crawl Activity Play Set

SoftZone

Climbers between 9 months old and 3 years old will have tons of fun with this five-piece climbing set. Each cushion is made out of a lightweight foam so your little one can easily move things around to create new challenges, and you don’t have to worry because each piece has a non-slip bottom for safety. They’re also waterproof, so if your tot spills something on one of the cushions, just wipe it down with some soap and water and you’re set.

Best for Younger Toddlers: Skip Hop 3-in-1 Ride-On Unicorn

Skip Hop 3-in-1 Ride-On Unicorn

Courtesy of Skip Hop 

Toddlers as young as 12 months old and up to 4 years old can use this toy, which can be configured in three different ways. It can be used as a push wagon to help provide new walkers stability, converted into a riding toy to help with coordination, or set up as a scooter once they’ve gained their balance. The toy also has fun sound effects and a little headlight.

Best for Older Toddlers: B. toys by Battat Floor Piano Mat

B. toys by Battat Floor Piano Mat

Courtesy of Amazon

Kiddos with a love of music or dancing can burn energy with this 26" x 54" floor piano mat designed for little ones 3 years old and up. They definitely won’t get bored, because this toy has four play modes, all of which keep them moving while also aiding in their development. There are tons of great songs, opportunities to dance, and even the option to make up their own sound combinations. 

Best Splurge: Little Tikes Jr. Jump n' Slide Bouncer

Little Tikes Jr. Jump n' Slide Bouncer

Courtesy of Amazon

If you have the backyard space, this is the toy that is sure to encourage tons of active play. The bounce house is enclosed with safety netting on three sides and the fourth side opens to a slide. It comes with stakes to secure it in place outside, an electric fan to keep it inflated, and a carrying bag for when it’s not in use. This amazing toy is best for kids between 2 and 8 years old. 

Final Verdict

Every tot is different and has their own interests, but you can’t go wrong with the Kiddey Play Tent with Tunnel (view on Amazon) or the B. Toys Floor Piano Mat (view on Amazon) for endless active fun.  

What to Look for in Active Toys for Toddlers

Indoors vs. Outdoors

Before you make a purchase on an active toy for your toddler, you'll want to think about if you want an indoor or outdoor toy. Some active toys may take up more space than you originally thought they would, and may work better outside. Or, you may want a toy that can be used both inside and outside.

For example, the Playskool Sit 'n Spin (view on Amazon) can be used indoors and outdoors and doesn't take up much space. A toy like this helps toddlers burn off energy no matter where they're playing. But a toy like the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Garden Cart & Wheelbarrow (view on Amazon) works best outside, because it's larger and can be used with outdoor materials, like dirt and flowers.

Age Appropriate

Purchasing active toys that are age-appropriate will ensure your toddler is learning at a pace designed for their age. You don't want a toy that's too little for their age or too advanced because then they may feel overwhelmed trying to use it or may not find it entertaining.

You'll want an age-appropriate toy for safety reasons as well. Many toys come with age recommendations that parents and caregivers should highly consider before making their final purchase. These age recommendations are a great guideline to follow, especially for little ones and if the toy comes with smaller pieces. Smaller pieces to an active toy can become choking hazards.

Entertainment Value

Whether you need to take a break or keep your toddler busy while you work, entertainment value is a necessity. No parent or caregiver has the time to play with their toddler every second of every day, so we rely on books, toys, and other items to keep them busy and still learning. Physical development is important for little ones, and active toys are no different.

Any toy on this list is sure to keep your toddler busy, but it's up to you on what you think your toddler would be most interested in. Consider their interests, like running, jumping, music, and more, before buying. For example, if your toddler loves music, check out the B. toys Battat Floor Piano Mat (view on Amazon) to help them groove the day away.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you sanitize toddler toys?

    To clean non-absorbent toys, start by cleansing them with soapy water, rinsing, then letting them air dry. To sanitize both nonabsorbent and absorbent toys, throw them alone into your dishwasher or washing machine and add half a cup bleach. Or, mix half a cup of bleach per gallon of water in your sink, and soak them for about five minutes. Always rinse toys thoroughly afterward, and lay them out flat to dry.

  • How do active toys help my toddler develop physically?

    Active toys help develop toddlers' small and large motor skills. Push-and-pull toys, tiny-tot sporting gear, rockers, and ride-on toys help develop balance and coordination. Stacking toys, art supplies, and puzzles help develop hand-eye coordination.

  • How do active toys affect learning?

    Games like blocks, sorting games, zippers, and buttons help toddlers learn simple problem-solving tasks. Construction sets, play kitchens, puppets, dolls with accessories, and the like, help foster creativity by encouraging make-believe play. Arts toys such as jumbo crayons, washable markers, and kiddy paints can help get creative juices flowing.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce content for a variety of platforms. She’s a mom to 1-year-old and 3-year-old daughters and an aunt to 3 nieces and 2 nephews ranging from 5 to 10 years old. In addition to regularly scouring the internet to find the best things for herself, Ashley spends multiple hours a week researching, comparing, and writing about products specifically for kids and families.

More Toys for Kids

When it comes to toys for kids, our team has you covered. The Verywell Family team of editors (who are parents or have nieces and nephews of their own) have tested, gifted, and personally recommend every item we feature. Find more of our top toy picks for every developmental stage and personality phase here:

2 Sources
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  1. 8 BEST T-BALL SETS THAT WILL HAVE YOUR LITTLE SLUGGER HITTING IT OUT OF THE PARK. Best Products. https://www.bestproducts.com/parenting/kids/g36630207/best-t-ball-sets/

  2. The Best Outdoor Toys for Kids, According to Experts. The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-kids-outdoor-toys.html