This is the best toddler toy to gift this holiday season

Kids get all sorts of gifts during the holidays, but only a select few are both engaging and encourage development. Sasha Exeter makes a case for her toy of choice this year.

I’m a mom to a very precocious toddler and at two years old, we have reached the point at home where stuffies have become less interesting; now, it’s all about toys and activities that engage her little developing mind. The toddler years are often a trial and error period for most parents when it comes to toys. We make impulse purchases at toy stores to keep them from having meltdowns, or they are gifted for birthdays or holidays only to get discarded after being used just a handful of times. For that very reason, I have taken a more pragmatic approach in our home, preferring toys that not only keep my daughter engaged for longer, but that have also been proven to help with children’s development, like LEGO Duplo.

Sasha Exeter and her daughter Max play with LEGO Duplo, which Sasha deems the best toddler toy of the year, on the living room floor

For 50 years, LEGO Duplo has been introducing sets to little builders with big imaginations. These colourful plastic bricks have become iconic, and for good reason. For starters, they connect like regular LEGO bricks, but the Duplo bricks are much easier to put together and pull apart because they are double the size—not to mention a lot safer for toddlers, as most kids this age are still putting everything into their mouths.

Duplo is not new to our household, but we had never tried their themed play sets, like the LEGO Duplo Frozen Ice Castle. Little fans of the film are going to love this special edition set, out now ahead of the sequel’s November 20th release date. We’ve spent hours building and adapting the infamous castle together with its accompanying accessories on our living room floor. Every time we put the last brick up, Maxwell wants to tear it down and start all over again. I actually encourage this because each time we work on building the castle, she is essentially mastering elementary construction skills and developing fine motor capabilities as she assembles and re-positions the bricks. Her little hands have grasped the basics of connecting the pieces on her own so well that she can now entertain and occupy herself using her own imagination, practicing dexterity and problem solving.

Sasha Exeter and her daughter Max play with LEGO Duplo, which Sasha deems the best toddler toy of the year, on the living room floor

5 reasons this is a great gift idea for toddlers this holiday season

  1. While building and creating, you get to watch your little one hit all these amazing early childhood developmental milestones like learning colours, shapes and numbers, while expanding their imagination and vocabulary.
  2. Get some toddlers together to play with LEGO Duplo sets and you will quickly understand how well it facilitates social development. Besides teaching young children to take turns and share, it also promotes communication skills.
  3. Even though LEGO Duplo pieces are larger than the original LEGO system bricks, it still takes a fair amount of hand-eye coordination and strength to snap and pull apart the bricks. Using these bricks actually helps to strengthen the muscles in toddlers’ tiny hands, improving dexterity that will become important when they are a little older and learning to write.
  4. Miniature versions of the film’s main characters—Elsa, Anna and Olaf the snowman—are included in the set, along with a slew of accessories: a slide, table, chairs, miniature kitchen equipment and outfits for the characters that allow for endless imaginative play.
  5. All kids will love the multicoloured light brick feature that tops the sparkling Ice Castle. It is the last brick to be added to the castle, marking completion and giving children a feeling of accomplishment. This special brick also illuminates at the touch of a button and flashes, allowing toddlers to discover and learn to identify various colours.

Sasha Exeter and her daughter Max play with LEGO Duplo, which Sasha deems the best toddler toy of the year, on the living room floor

For all these reasons and more, I—along with countless other parents—absolutely love LEGO Duplo. The multi-faceted Duplo building play sets will not only keep toddlers entertained longer than most toys for the 2+ age group, but parents will really appreciate that they are very educational while still keeping things fun, making it the perfect toy for toddlers this holiday season. While building and creating, you get to watch your little one hit all these amazing early childhood developmental milestones like learning colours, shapes and numbers, while expanding their imagination and vocabulary.

Read more:
This parenting podcast host tested the season’s hottest toddler toy
How my family of five kids learned to bond and connect through play
These toy sets are the answer to all of your holiday gift-giving worries

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