Ideas for Toys for a Hyper-active Toddler

Updated on June 25, 2012
M.R. asks from Arlington Heights, IL
14 answers

I need ideas for any toys/games for my very active almost 2yr old daughter. She has too much energy, wants to explore something new each day, loves to climb up on things, is not a big book or story-reading person, and loves outdoors. I'm looking for a toy/game that is age-appropriate, and something that would keep her interested and engaged for a while.
Also, I have a gift-voucher for toys'r'us, that I need to use up within next few weeks. Hence, would appreciate ideas for stuff that you do get there.. :)

Suggestions anyone please?

PS: Sorry everyone, I should have added that I don't have a yard. We live in a small apartment, so am kind of looking for something that I can have up in her room or something that I can fold/collapse and put away. I do take her out to the park everyday, or at least once in every two days...but I still wonder how in heavens kids come packed with so much energy! :)

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your wonderful ideas!

We ended up buying a 3-in-1 cycle - rocker, toddler tricycle with pushing handles, and stand along tricycle for DD. Was mostly hubby's idea. Apparently he already had it in mind, sort of...and I was making a list of ideas...hmph! :P I also got her a set of 6-pin bowling set.
She is loving both the items, and the rocker cycle is a great hit! Finally, I have something at home that's helping her get out any extra energy.. :)
Am planning to get more stuff gradually, with all your clever ideas! :)

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answers from Honolulu on

Little Tikes is a good brand for kids apparatuses.
As Jo W. mentioned.
We had that too. And STILL have it though my kids are now 5 and 9.

Do you have a yard?
She needs a lot of runaround time. Big motor movement and activities.
Preferably, do these things in the morning. Then have lunch say at 11:00am. Then NAP.
If you get her physical yah-yah's out, in the morning, she will be tired/calmer by afternoon. Then you can have her nap.

Tis' the age.
They get more active from this age onward.

Or get a kids exercise video, and you and she can do that.
Tae Bo, has a kids one, that is fun. My kids liked doing that.
Its called "Tae Bo Kicks." by Billy Blanks.

The KEY with an active toddler/kid... is to have them do physical active stuff in the MORNINGS... to get it out of their system and then they will be tired, by afternoon. And nap.

With my son, (who is now 5), I used to take him to the park, and have him do laps. Which he liked. To make it "fun"... I would time him. Just for fun. And play games like "how many laps can you do in 1 minute" etc. And he'd go super fast and laugh and love it. But it also got out his physicality... and he sweated. And then after playing & doing stuff like that, we'd go home, eat an early lunch, and I tell him after that it is winding down and nap. And he'd nap!
He was SO tired by then.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

Having an active child I can say she needs to run and get her energy out.

Balls she can play with and chase after are good to keep her moving, you can take them to the park. A scooter or trike (and helmet) will be good later, but maybe better suited for 3. My active guy has had a soccer ball since he turned 2, a little over a year ago, he still takes it out every day and kicks it to me or just kicks it and chases after it for at least an hour, he wears me out! He also has a basketball and child-sized hoop he practices shooting, dribbling running with, and dodge ball he throws and chases after. He has tons of sidewalk chalk but was bored just drawing, he wanted to move, so we draw hopscotch squares and he hops from square to square. She can do most of this at the park, the hoop can go in her room, she just won't be able to run around as much as outside. Get her cars, vehicles and animals she can play with all around her room to keep moving. When she goes to the park have her run and climb as much as possible.

And don't forget, the first 5 years are her formative years, what she does the rest of her life she's learning and forming patterns now, so read to her a little every day to get her in the habit of liking books. A short story at bedtime or before her naps is a good way to sneak it in, when she needs to be quiet.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Do you have room for a small play kitchen? If you get a kitchen, some fake food, and a few pretend dishes, pots & pans, she can spend a long time cooking, setting up picnics, and more. My kids both love the kitchen. They make some pretty small ones that should fit in your apartment. TRU has a pretty big selection.

Blocks and balls are also both excellent toys. With blocks, she can build something new every day, then have fun knocking it down With balls, she can use up some energy. My son plays catch in the house every day.

Buying her some cars can also be fun, as she can zoom them around the house, have them race, etc.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

So, I'm looking at their website and these are the ideas which come to mind for active young ones (I used to teach in a toddler room for a few years, so I'll only give you suggestions which worked *inside* the classroom):

Little Tykes Sandy Lagoon water park (you can decide to use both sides for water if need be. Use an old rug on the floor underneath to prevent slip/fall accidents)

Bowling Set. Set it up in your hallway for a nice 'lane'.

Dolly stroller. Great for walking around the block with 'baby'.

Playdough. You can pull tools from your kitchen for it. Let her stand as she works and push, pound the soft dough.

Small slide. They have some folding ones.

Whale teeter-totter or a rocking-horse.

Does she have a Wahoo puppy? These are bit more stable for toddlers than a verbatim hoppy ball.

I also have plenty of ideas for around-the-house activities that burn off energy. Please PM me if you want a short, easy list. All you need is masking tape or placemats, it's that easy!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son was very busy and is still very busy and active as a 4 year old.

The best thing we ever bought was a sand/water table. I cant count how many hours he has spent at it in the past two years, scooping sand, moving sand, running cars and trucks through it, sitting in the table, putting sticks on the table, taking sticks off the table, putting water in, floating boats, making mud.... I think he spends at least 30 minutes a day, every day, for the past two years. My two year old daughter also likes playing in it.

Another idea is a bucket of water, soapy water and a sponge outside. My kids will keep busy, and wet, for 30 minutes washing their outside toys.

We also have a play house outside which is a big favorite of both my 2 year old daughter and my 4 year old son. We made an area with mulch on the ground for it, and planted silk flowers around it. The plastic barbeque set is in the house's "back yard." We bought ours off of craigslist, but they have some at Toys R Us that are not too expensive - @ $125 (some are $400). Add your voucher and a coupon and consider she will play with it for the next couple of years and its worth it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

We have a plastic slide that folds down and slides under the bed. Keep an eye out though, my dd sometimes uses it as a ladder. We also have a crawl through tunnel that folds up pretty small, or you could get a play tent that folds up, my daughter has been asking for one. Babys R Us had one set up with some little tikes play camping stuff, she was really into it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Does she watch videos? IF so Elmocize is a great DVD for burning energy, also although we do not have one, I know some kids have these cute mini trampolines, that are made to be used indoors...

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I used to have one of those little tykes climbing things in the living room. Pretty much the only time anyone lived in there. :)

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answers from Chicago on

The BEST thing that I bought for my very active little one was an inflatable wheel. I don't know what it's really called but I called it 'the hamster wheel.' It's meant for a child to sit inside & hold onto the handles while you push it & it rolls outside. We used it a little differently. I would blow it up & put it on it's side so my son would have to climb in & out of it. I would try & be creative & would have him throw heavier balls into it & bury them. We called them dinosaur eggs that he would put into his 'nest.' he would be climbing in & out of it & eventually get tired. It was inflated pretty quickly. We also had a little trampoline with a handle but that takes up a lot of space. I'm pretty sure I got the luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think by nature all 2 year old are hyper active! ;) I'd go with some sort of outdoor toy like a big wheel, bike, ride-on something! At 2 she probably can't pedal really so maybe something she can just push with her feet. I have one of those Little Tikes pedal/M. push trikes and honestly they aren't that great. I got mine for like $20 so I guess it was worth it for me, but don't pay full price for those!

You could also look into a mini trampoline. I'm not sure if they sell them at Toys R Us, but probably. They would definitely help her get out some energy! You can put them inside or outside and are pretty fun.

At 2 both my kids loved balls as well. THey would happily play with various balls of different sizes, bounce level, etc. Those would also be good gifts and help keep her active! Other favorites would be bubbles (Gymboree has awesome bubble sets by the way) and sidewalk chalk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Maybe some indoor balls would be good. I also agree with the tunnel. You could maybe get a doll house so she could pretend and go on a different kind of adventure.
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

a big wheel! a playground in the backyard. Check on craigslist. We picked up a free used rainbow. It's one of those 15k ones!

We spend about 1 hour a day inside, the rest of the time we our outside climbing, running, riding, etc.

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answers from Chicago on

I have yet to meet a kid that age that didn't spend a ton of time building with them, and I do daycare for MANY very active kids that age. You can't find them at Toys R Us, but google it and you'll find lots of places online to buy them. If you go through Discount School Supply use the code COUNT for 15% off and free shipping if the order is over $79
I love them so much I have 5 sets and my girls still play with them and they are 10 and 13

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

My active toddler loves to play with a big bouncy ball in the house. She also loves her My Little Sandbox (for in the house - it's messy though). She loves her ride on car and shopping cart. She has a little pop up tent that we get out every now and then and put in the livingroom. She loves playing in that. She LOVES the small indoor trampoline. The kind one adult can jump on for exercise - we got it for free on freecycle. I leave it in a closet and just get it out now and then. I put it next to the couch and she loves jumping on it and having a crash landing on the couch. She does it over and over and over. We also got for free one of those small little tykes climbing structure/slide that is in our livingroom. It was free so we can just pass it on when I'm totally sick of it. But our daughter has had fun sliding down the slide and making toys/cars go down the slide. When my son was 2.5 to 5 he LOVED his hippety hop ball you sit on and bounce. He flew around the house in that thing! Good luck coming up with ideas.

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