Baby & Toddler

Our Living Room Play Area: Toy Organization and Favorite Toddler Toys

Now more than ever, parents are looking for ways to keep their little ones busy and engaged in the comfort of our own homes. Last month, I realized Margot (who is now 20 months) was lacking age-appropriate toys, and she seemed a little bored. I did some research and placed a few orders. All her baby toys have been stored for baby sister, and I got to work, researching the best toys for toddlers.

Since Margot’s first birthday, I tried to invest in toys that I hoped she’d play with for a while. Toys that would keep her engaged in the months (and maybe even years) to come. I even ordered a few toys that are popular among ages three and up, keeping small parts in mind, of course.

We have a playroom in the basement and do spend time down there, but I love our living/family room and wanted to make sure Margot felt like it was her space, too. It is, after all, a space for our family. I recently warmed up our family room to make things more family-friendly and have since some fun additions for Margot. She went from having a small corner to lots of space to play!

I loved the idea of a Montessori-style shelf but wanted things to feel clean and tidy at the end of the day, so toys are stored in pouches and baskets. It works well for us and keeps everything organized.

Our new console has been the perfect spot to store toys. The bottom shelf has 4 very budget-friendly baskets that I keep canvas pouches in, each holding types of toys. Wood puzzle pieces, characters, animals, and so on.

Here’s a peek at the inside of our baskets. I keep her puzzles in one basket with the puzzle pieces in a pouch. Searching through the pouch to find the right pieces is a fun activity. We almost always clean up together, and she’s also learned what goes where. Raising an organized little babe (so proud). We have a few larger toys like dolls) that I keep in their own basket.

We’ve been using our Toki Mat since Margot was new to sitting up and love it. It’s easy to clean, folds up for easy out of the way storage, and is a great little Montessori-style play space. I always set her up on there, and it’s a nice, soft place to sit. Bonus: It fits perfectly inside her $40 teepee and will be the perfect spot for baby sister when she needs a cozy spot for tummy time and is new to sitting up.

I really love chunky puzzles and little wooden figurines because they can be played with in more ways than one. Margot will match the pieces in her ocean puzzle, but she’ll play with them like little characters. The little wooden guys are my favorite. They’re so cute, match her rainbow, and are great for counting, going over colors, and playing pretend.

Margot is really into little figurines right now. She names them, makes them sit/stand, hug, high five, and hold hands. She’s in the very early stages of playing pretend, but it’s been fun to watch, and she can spend what feels like a pretty long stretch of time playing with her characters. We haven’t really watched Mickey at all but went to Disney on Ice, and she fell in love with those characters pretty quickly, so I ordered a little set, and she plays with them every single day.

She also loves books. I shared our favorite kindness books in this post and will work on adding some more favorites to my shop.

There are a few things I thought she might like that she’s not into. Margot used her climber when she was cruising, but hasn’t really touched it since. For right now, climbing just isn’t her thing. I bought her a train set for Christmas that she’s also shown very little interest in. She hasn’t shown too much interest in this car (beyond putting characters in the seat next to Mickey) but I think she’ll have fun with it as she gets older.

I keep a few larger toys next to and behind our chaise. Everything gets pulled out during the day, and takes less than 5 minutes to clean up when she’s done playing.

Belly Baskets

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Striped Basket

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Canvas Toy Pouches

I'm considering ordering iron-on paper to make some labels for each pouch, but I'm not a Pinterest mom and am not the craftiest, so we'll see if that actually happens.
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Ice Cream Counter

She loves bringing us ice cream! Definitely a favorite, and I heard from a bunch of moms who have 3 and 5 year olds who still play with this one.
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Wooden Coffee Maker

This has been a hit for months. I keep it in her play kitchen and she loves making coffee, playing with the cups, and using the spoons to stir.
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Play Kitchen

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Little People Farm

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Elsa's Palace

It's annoying and loud and she loves it. Margot loves the little figurines and makes them go up the steps and down the slide. And it sings Let it Go (her favorite)
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Frozen Little People

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Large Animal Figurine Set

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Small Animal Figurines

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Dress Up Minnie

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Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Daniel Tiger Figurines

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Disney Clubhouse Pals

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Baby Doll

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Kiwi Co Panda Crate

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Counting Turtles

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Wooden Blocks

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Wooden Pastel Figurines

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Sorting Board

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Rainbow Stacker

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Counting Puzzle

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Wooden Letter Puzzle

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Chunky Wood Puzzle

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Wooden Doll Stroller

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Cleaning Set

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Organic Play Tunnel

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Bounce House

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Kinetic Sand

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Modeling Clay Tools

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Eco Dough

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Flower Clay Set

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Paint Markers

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Natural Crayons

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Felt Poms

Great for scooping and sorting!
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Wooden Scoops

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I bought this play table at IKEA last week and finally set it up this week. Margot loves it and the price really can’t be beat. The bins need to be purchased in addition, but the table also comes with two top pieces that come off. Margot is definitely too young/small for the stools, so I wouldn’t get those unless your toddler is at least 2.5-3.

I’m coming up with some fun sensory table ideas and will be sharing those on The Everymom soon!

When the teepee isn’t in use, I keep it together but flatten it and put it behind the sofa. It’s not the most amazing quality, but they can get so expensive ($200+) and this one was in the $40 range. It’s definitely fine enough. I’d recommend it.

Easel

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Sensory/Play Table

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Play Teepee

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Play Mat

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