16 Best Tech-Free Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Best Tech-Free Toys for Babies and Toddlers

October 21, 2019

Best Tech-Free Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Best Tech-Free Toys for Babies and Toddlers
Best Tech-Free Toys for Babies and Toddlers

We’re pretty sure whoever invented the Take Along Tunes is a baby-whispering genius, and the thought of taking our toddler on an airplane without some sort of screen loaded up with games and videos strikes fear in our heart of hearts. But we also know that other times, less really is more when it comes to kids and toys. Lights, music and sounds can be great—but so can a set of simple blocks or a classic wooden rattle.

We love these toys for what they’re not—no batteries, no screens, no bells and whistles. If you’re looking for tech-free toys this holiday season, here are the 15 best.

So Many Ways to Play

Kid-sized tables are timeless gifts that will get years of versatile use as everything from a flat spot to build to the perfect place for arts and crafts. This one packs an extra punch—our favorite hack is to drop storage bins into the top, turning into a sensory table just right for playing with water beads (for 3+) and whatever else you can dream up.

Tried-and-True Favorite

It’s often the simplest toys that bring kids the most joy, especially when it comes to younger babies. This classic teether + rattle hybrid is made from natural wood and features a unique design and an easy-to-grab shape. It’s fun, safe and has been loved by parents and babies for years.

Open-Ended Fun

Can kids ever have too many types of blocks? (Answer: no.) These classic wooden blocks have a modern twist—there are magnets carefully hidden inside so they stick together. They work for kids ages one and up, and gift-givers can add to the set over time with things like magnetic wheel kits and block expansion packs.

On the Go

Scooters make great gifts for so many reasons. They encourage kids to get outside and move, they help with coordination and confidence, and they make a great alternative to bringing along a stroller once your little one has mastered their scooting skills. The Mini Deluxe works for toddlers up to about age five and is our favorite pick thanks to the exceptional quality, lean-to-steer turning, smooth ride and adjustable handlebar.

Ready, Set, Race

Looking for a gift that’s going to be played with again and again? This ramp racer looks simple, but to a toddler, it spells hours of playtime fun. (Really—we promise.) Kids LOVE watching the cars race down to the bottom over and over. It also helps build concentration, hand-eye coordination and understanding cause and effect.

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Maybe not the quietest of gifts butttt we promise the pros outweigh the cons for this one! Musical instruments are fun, interactive and have all sorts of benefits for babies and toddlers from building brain power to inspiring creativity. We love that this set includes a huge host of instruments to get kids grooving.

Balance Builder

A push walker helps little legs gain strength, balance and confidence. This one, which also doubles as a storage space for toys, has removable sides and furniture-friendly bumpers to protect your home. It’s the perfect gift for older babies who are ready to explore their world on two feet.

Super Stacker

There’s nothing complicated about the look of this wooden stacker—but don’t let that fool you. It may look like your little one is simply placing shapes on a wooden dowel, but they’re actually working on coordination, fine motor skill development, shapes, spacial skills and lots more. And we love the bright colors and non-toxic finishes.

Climbing High

This wooden climber transforms any play space into an indoor baby gym. Climbers build on what your crawling baby is designed to do: explore. They help with balance control and motor skill development and are great at helping little ones burn off some steam. This one folds flat for easy storage and comes with fun accessories like a slide/ladder combo or a rock wall.

Developmental Fun

Encourage learning through play with these play kits from Lovevery (they’re the ones behind the Instagram-worthy play gym). This subscription includes three baby play kits, each containing two months of playthings based on baby’s age, as well as a play guide that helps caregivers know what to do actually do with the toys (helpful!). All the products are made with organic cotton, sustainably forested wood and baby-safe materials.

Fun on the Farm

Watching a young child engage in pretend play is pretty amazing. All the details of this wooden barn and animal figurines are just like the real thing, and kids will love playing in the imaginative farm world that they create. The barn folds up and features a handle for easy transport.

Open-Ended Play

The best part about these peg dolls is just how simple they are. Pretend people, counting tools, sorting objects…these dolls can be anything your little one wants them to be, and that’s the point. The dolls are made from sustainably harvested wood and finished with natural stains. They’re great for babies over 12 months and work well through the toddler and little kid years too.

Read and Learn

Books are about as tech-free as you can get—and you can never have enough. This brightly colored board books is one of our favorite gifts to give. It’s packed with over 100 photos and 100 first words to read and learn together.

Skill Builder

Puzzles work the brain and the body; they’re great tech-free toys for building baby and toddler visual and spacial skills, teaching early concepts like colors and shapes and practicing fine motor skills. This shapes puzzle is great for working on together with your toddler, pointing out colors and shapes along the way.

Sensory Play

Don’t worry—we promise this one isn’t as messy as it sounds. Kinetic sand sticks to itself and not you. (Phew.) It never dries out, holds its shape and is perfect for play in a sensory table or even just a plain old plastic tub. It’s one of our favorite activities and makes a great gift to give or receive.

Enjoy the Show

No screen needed here, just a stage! Puppets help kids express emotions, engage in interactive play and get their imaginations going. This handmade zebra will be the star of any show.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content.