Minimalist Toy List for Toddlers

Minimalist Toy List for Toddlers – 12 Toys Kids “Need” to Thrive

Are you tired of all the toy clutter? Downsize your kid’s toys and only keep the items on this minimalist toy list for toddlers. Your kids and you will benefit greatly!

If your house is anything like mine before I discovered the value of minimalism, its overflowing with toys. Every corner is filled with a baskets of colorful, plastic toys… a quarter of which are broken. And most of them are never played with.

Did you know that clutter is a major source of stress for moms? It’s totally true. They’ve done studies. The toy disaster in your house is causing your anxiety.

And did you know that kids are actually happier with fewer toys? Yep, its true! Fewer toys improve the quality of your toddler’s playtime,

So let’s tackle one of your stressors and help your kids at the same time by moving toward a minimalist philosophy for toys! Here’s a simple minimalist toy list for toddlers to help you downsize your stash.

The Only 12 Toys You Should Keep

A Doll

A high-quality doll is a great toy for a boy or girl. Your child can use it as a lovey, bring it along on all their adventures, and snuggle close with their doll at night. Invest in a well-made, premium doll so it will last for years and years. Check out this one.


Building blocks are invaluable. You could choose standard wooden stacking blocks or blocks that connect like LEGO or DUPLO blocks. Your kids will get hours and hours of use out of blocks because the possibilities are endless! Check out these blocks.

A Set of Educational Board Books

Every toddler should be surrounded by books! But not too many books. Be selective, and only keep books that serve a purpose. Look for books that help kids identify and deal with big emotions, learn about objects or words, or discuss social issues.

BONUS recommendation: We love this list of 25 Feminist Books for Tots from our friends at Well Beings with Alysia. It contains an excellent variety of books to help promote strong female characters and diversity.

A Set of Play Figures

Play figures allow for a wide range of imaginative play. It’s good to have a diverse set of figures, like simple animals, generic people that represent the differences in your community, and some of your kid’s favorite characters (because a Disney princess or a Paw Patrol Pup will definitely spice up their playtime). I like to limit the characters to a single shoebox. If it’s overflowing, it’s time to donate some of our figures. Here’s a great set that includes community helpers!

A Set of Puzzles

Puzzles are great learning tools. They help kids lengthen their attention span, develop their fine motor skills, improve their problem-solving skills, and they can be incredibly educational. Find puzzles that feature the letters of the alphabet or a map of the United States! Check out this set of 10 puzzles.

A Set of Silk Scarves

Most parents don’t consider purchasing silk scarves for kids, especially boys. But they are so versatile! They can become baby blankets for their baby doll, a headscarf for a princess in disguise, a cape for an amazing superhero, or the menacing flag of a dangerous pirate ship. Check out this set.

A Few Vehicles

All kids love playing with cars. Choose vehicles that interest your kids, like bulldozers or airplanes. Kids can use these in conjunction with their small figures or use a leftover cardboard box to create their own race track. Here’s a great set.

A Rubber Ball

A durable rubber ball will encourage hours of outdoor fun. Your kids might practice playing sports like kickball or soccer, or they might make up their own games! My oldest developed a game called “swing ball”, where she tries to kick a ball as far as she can while swinging through the air on her playset. We love this one.

Sorting and Pouring Buckets

Sensory tools are really valuable when you have to entertain toddlers for hours. Most kids are mesmerized by dumping and pouring liquids and powders. Your kids could use these tools in the kitchen sink, in the bathtub, in a water table, or digging in the dirt. Try this set.

Play-doh or Kinetic Sand

Here’s another sensory toy that will result in hours of independent play. I prefer kinetic sand, but Play-doh has the same benefits. Kids can create almost anything they can dream up, plus it feels good between their fingers. You might find it therapeutic for yourself too! We like these two-pound bags.

RELATED: Create Your Own Kinetic Sand (Just 4 Ingredients)!

Are you drowning in toys? Tame the chaos by downsizing toys. Check out this minimalist toy list for toddlers. Hint: Kids will benefit too!
Are you drowning in toys? Tame the chaos by downsizing toys. Check out this minimalist toy list for toddlers. Hint: Kids will benefit too!

A Tricycle or Big Wheel

Tricycles help toddlers develop coordination and balance. They also get your kids outdoors! Invest in a quality trike that fits your kids and let them stroll around the neighborhood! Get a classic red Radio Flyer here.

A Small Set of Art Supplies

It’s easy to find yourself swimming in construction paper, crayons, and glue sticks. So don’t go overboard! But keep a small container of art supplies (think: construction paper, crayons, watercolors, kid-safe scissors, and a couple of glue sticks) It’s nice to have a small stash of art supplies on hand for when you need your kids to play quietly for a short time, or when they need to make a birthday card for papa. Here’s a Crayola kit with a nice reusable box!

Honorable Mention

Here are a few additional items you should consider for your kids. While these are not absolutely necessary, they can go a long way in keeping your kids entertained for days on end. These are the honorable mentions of my minimalist toy list for toddlers.

A Swing Set

Not everyone has the space or the money for a magnificent swing set. While most kids will get hours (maybe even days) of use out of a great swing set, you could easily hang a single swing from a sturdy tree in your back yard.

A Doll House

A dollhouse is not absolutely necessary, but kids tend to get a lot of use out of dollhouses when they have very limited toys. Dollhouses offer lots of imaginative play, especially when you add small figures and vehicles.

Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard boxes can become ANYTHING. Kids can create boats, houses, spaceships, flat cities with roads for their vehicles, and so much more. Whenever you have a decent-sized cardboard box arrive, hold off on recycling it. Let your kids use their imagination and get the most out of this up-cycled item. And then, when it’s just taking up space, you won’t feel bad about sending it to the recycling center.

RELATED: Handmade Toys for Hours of Fun!

Ample Outdoor Time

Ok, maybe this one is absolutely necessary. Kids need to get outdoors every day (or almost every day). They learn by exploring. And moving their bodies helps them think, regulate their emotions, and develop skills. The more your kids are exploring outside, the better they will behave, the better they will sleep, and the easier it will be for them to entertain themselves.

But what about gift giving?

Your kids don’t need more toys just because it’s a gift-giving occasion! Here are non-toy gift ideas that kids will still love.

What You Should Do Next…

1. Snag Our Connected Parent Challenge

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2. Join Our Free Online Community

Connect with like-minded moms (and dads!) in our free online community. You’ll find a plethora of resources to help you through your parenting challenges. Plus, you’ll find me there! And I’d love to connect.

3. Take a Free 60-Minute Parenting Webinar

Do you need actionable strategies right now? Register for this free 60-minute webinar titled How to Get Kids to Listen, Without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control. You’ll walk away with parent-tested tactics to get your kids to listen starting today.

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