Apart from landing a job as a teacher’s assistant the summer before I started high school, I had absolutely NO experience with kids prior to becoming a mother, and while I still struggle with a lot of aspects of parenting, I’m a whiz when it comes to finding the best toys for girls.
We lived within driving distance from one of the best toy stores Toronto has to offer until my daughter was 5, and spent MANY winter afternoons testing out all of their toys whenever we needed to get out of the house but couldn’t bring ourselves to brave the elements, and I always took notes so I could research anything new we came across when we got home.
My husband often gives me a hard time about my obsession with toys. I spend hours searching for the perfect gift ideas for birthday parties and holidays, and he wonders when I’m going to start my own YouTube channel so I can video tape myself unboxing and playing with all of the toys I order online while my daughter is at school.
Anyway, if you’re looking for the perfect gift ideas for girls aged 7 and under, I have you covered. I’ve rounded up 9 gifts for each age and stage, for a total of 45 of the best toys for girls, each of which my daughter has played with and loved.
You won’t be disappointed with any of these gift ideas.
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TOYS FOR BABIES UNDER 12 MONTHS:
1. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy: This toy kept my daughter entertained during long stroller rides outside, and saved me from many meltdowns at the grocery store. I still catch myself humming the tunes sometimes!
2. LeapFrog My Pal Violet: My Pal Violet will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved that I was able to customize the songs and phrases using my daughter’s name and favorite things, and she became a comfort item when we were traveling and needed reminders from home.
3. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker: This toy will grow with your child and keep her entertained for hours! The removable play panel is perfect for little ones who aren’t walking yet – it’s totally portable for on-the-go fun! – and it’ll give her the encouragement and assistance she needs when she’s ready to start cruising around the house!
4. Tiny Love Take-Along Arch: We didn’t have this exact version of the Take-Along Arch when my daughter was a baby, but the concept is 100% the same and I highly recommend it. A friend had one in her diaper bag when my daughter was howling in her stroller one afternoon. She was only about 3 months old at the time and I didn’t think it would do much, but it calmed her down so quickly I stopped at Toys R Us on the way home to buy one, and I never left home without it for the next 6 months!
5. Boynton’s Greatest Hits: Volume II: You can’t go wrong with ANY of Sandra Boynton’s books, but I particularly like this set because 2 of the books hold special meaning to me. We read The Going to Bed Book every single night until my daughter was about 2 (at which time she decided she was past it), and But Not the Hippopotamus is the last book my dad ever read to her. These are great selections!
6. Sassy Wonder Wheel Activity Center: High chair toys were a huge deal in our household when we started introducing solid foods. My daughter didn’t always have the patience to sit still long enough for me to grab more food or clean puree splatters off the walls, and this toy in particular kept her happy and entertained.
7. Baby Einstein Rhythm of The Reef Activity Saucer: I promised myself I would not allow our home to become overrun by plastic monstrosities when we became parents, but I’m not sure how I would’ve survived without this plastic piece of fabulousness! I’m a huge fan of Baby Einstein toys, but any activity saucer will do!
8. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks: Every child needs a shape sorter, and while you can spend pots of money on really fancy ones, experience has taught me that cheaper is always better when it comes to toys for kids 12-months-and-under as they put EVERYTHING in their mouths. This set is basic and plastic and can be cleaned very easily!
9. VTech Rhyme and Discover Book: My daughter loved this toy because it was interactive – the movable pieces, nursery rhymes, and phrases kept her engaged – and I liked how durable it was as it made a great grab-and-go toy when we were on the run!
TOYS FOR ONE-YEAR-OLDS:
1. VTech Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train: I bought this train for my daughter for her first birthday and it was, hands down, the best toy I’ve ever bought her. She played with it for HOURS and HOURS on her own, and the 2 of us worked on a lot of word and letter recognition with the double-sided blocks. She eventually started using the train as a walker, and even though she’s 5 going on 15 (!!!), I cannot bring myself to donate it as it holds too many fond memories for me!
2. Hape – Alphabet Wooden Stand Up Puzzle: My daughter and I started working with this puzzle when she was about 16 months old, and within 2 days (I’m not kidding) she was able to recognize every single letter. This toy is also a fabulous tool for developing fine motor skills – I highly recommend it!
3. Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton: Again, all of Sandra Boynton’s books are a good purchase in my opinion, but this one stands out the most for the 12-24 month range. I sang it rather than reading it, and my daughter LOVED it!
4. LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table: My daughter was about 18 months when I broke down and bought this. I didn’t think she’d get a lot out of it, but I needed something I could put in the kitchen to keep her occupied when I was cooking dinner, and this table did the trick!
5. Mega Bloks Big Building Bag: This set provided my daughter and me HOURS of fun as I built tall towers and she knocked them down, and they grew with us throughout different ages and stages until we graduated to ‘big girl’ LEGO.
6. Vtech Alphabet Activity Cube Toy: While the Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train was my daughter’s favorite, this toy was a close second. I would recommend the train over the cube, but both provided HOURS of fun for my little one. I really don’t think you can go wrong with either of them.
7. VTech Pour and Float Froggy Electronic Bath Toy: My daughter loves nothing more than to sit in the tub and play for hours, and this toy has gotten a lot of love over the years. She still plays with it sometimes! I love love love the way it sprouts water when it’s turned on. It still makes the 2 of us laugh!
8. My First Crayola No Mess Marker and Paper Set: This set is a great way to get kids excited about coloring and drawing. It’s mess-free and perfect for little hands!
9. VTech Crazy Legs Learning Bugs: This toy is loud, but fun, and it helped my daughter learn her shapes and develop her fine motor skills. We got at least 2 years of play out of it, so it was a worthwhile investment!
TOYS FOR TWO-YEAR-OLDS:
1. Dora the Explorer Storybook Collection: The original version of this storybook collection was passed down to my daughter from her cousin, and there were days we would sit in bed and read it from cover to cover 5 times in a row. It’s a great compilation of stories, and if your little one is a Dora fan, it’s a must-have!
2. Little Tikes Cook ‘n Store Kitchen Playset: Okay, full disclosure on this one. We never owned this toy, but many of my friends did and it was always a real hit with the kids. We simply didn’t have room for a play kitchen in our condo, but if I know my daughter would’ve loved it had we had the space!
3. Farmyard Friends Board Game: We have a few games by Orchard Toys, and they’ve all been a huge hit!
4. Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike: We bought this for our daughter’s 2nd birthday, and she loved it. It was a great way to introduce her to the concept of riding a tricycle, and I loved that it doubled as a ‘stroller’ before she learned the concept of pedalling and made me take the parent handles off.
5. LEGO DUPLO Cafe: The LEGO DUPLO sets have been a big hit in our house, and the cafe provided us endless hours of fun when my daughter was in the 2- to 3-year range. We played restaurant, had tea parties, pretended to own a grocery store…the possibilities are endless!
6. Fisher-Price Little People Animal Friends Farm: This play set is just as fun now as when I was a kid – it’s one of those timeless toys every kid needs to own!
7. LeapFrog LeapReader Junior Book Pal: We have been huge fans of all of the LeapReaders, starting with this one. I liked that we could play with this together, but that it also gave my daughter the opportunity to learn at her own pace independently from me.
8. Melissa & Doug Shapes – Chunky Puzzle: Admittedly, we bought this puzzle when my daughter was about 18 months, but she played with it for well over a year. Shape recognition and fine motor skill development aside, the pieces can also be used to build towers!
9. Learning Resources Smart Snacks Shape Sorting Cupcakes: I discovered the Learning Resources brand when my daughter had just turned 2, and I absolutely love their toys. They make learning fun, and these cupcakes kept my daughter occupied for hours. Your little one will learn about color and shapes while building his or her fine motor skills, and you can have cupcake tea parties to boot!
TOYS FOR THREE- TO FOUR-YEAR-OLDS:
1. Telly The Teaching Time Clock: What an AWESOME way to teach kids how to tell time! Once you get the basics down, the quiz modes are a great way to let your kids test their knowledge, and my daughter loves that Telly doubles as an actual clock with a nightlight.
2. Dora the Explorer Rainbow Surprise: Felt Fun Storybook: I first bought this for my daughter as an airplane toy, and it kept her occupied for almost 2 hours. Can you believe that? I used to save it for long flights and sick days, and while she’s mostly outgrown Dora, she still plays with it occasionally.
3. Melissa & Doug Self-Correcting Letter Puzzles: This is a great puzzle to teach your kids about letters and matching, while also introducing the concept of puzzles, which makes it a fabulous toy for fine motor skill development.
4. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register: My in-laws bought this for my daughter for her 3rd birthday, and we’ve had tons of fun playing grocery store with it. I used some of the fake currency to make a busy wallet for when we’re traveling, which was also a real hit!
6. Imaginarium Letters & Numbers: We inherited a HUGE container of magnetic letters when my daughter was born, and we have had so much fun building words on the fridge over the years. Every family should have a set of these!
7. Peppa Pig’s Deluxe House: Regardless of whether your little one has discovered Peppa Pig yet, I cannot say enough good things about this play set. Santa delivered it to her on Christmas when she was 4, and she still plays with it. I am a huge Peppa fan – her voice doesn’t annoy me nearly as much as Dora’s does – and love that the pieces come apart and that my daughter practices her fine motor skills each time she puts them together.
8. LEGO Duplo My First Truck: I honestly thought my daughter was too old for this when she asked me to buy it for her last year, but it has more than paid for itself with the amount she’s played with it. Whether she’s building with it, or using the food-stamped legos to play restaurant, she always has a great time and it’s hard to pry her away once she gets started!
9. LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set: There are a bunch of different fridge sets from LeapFrog, all of which have been a great distraction for my daughter while I’m cooking dinner, but this one is my favorite since it’s centered around letter recognition.
TOYS FOR FIVE- TO SEVEN-YEAR-OLDS:
1. Play-Doh Crazy Cuts: OMG I could play with this play-doh hairdresser set for HOURS, and so could my daughter. You will have so much fun with this one. Trust me!
2. Melissa & Doug Fashion Design Activity Kit: Did you have one of these when you were a kid? I did and it’s just as much fun now as it was back then! My 5-year-old is a bit too young to really appreciate it, but that doesn’t stop me from creating!
3. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Magnetic Responsibility Chart: My mum bought this for my daughter shortly before she turned 5, and while it’s not a toy per se, she thought it was absolutely fabulous to have her own responsibility chart. It has made such a difference in making her excited to help out around the house – I highly recommend it!
4. LeapFrog Epic 7" Android-based Kids Tablet: We’ve had pretty much every version of the LeapPad, and while they have all been fabulous, I suggest saving your pennies and investing in the Epic when your kids are old enough. My daughter got hers when she was 4, and it will continue to grow with her for a few years. The are so many great apps and games that can be played together or independently, and I have always felt this toy is a great investment.
5. Elefun and Friends Hungry Hippos Grab and Go Game: My daughter received this game as a gift from her cousin last Christmas and it’s just as much fun now as it was when I was a kid!
6. Melissa & Doug World Map Floor Puzzle: Admittedly, we bought this for my daughter when she was only 3, and while she enjoyed playing with the pieces (and we enjoyed putting the puzzle together whenever she took it apart), she’s only just started to understand and enjoy it in recent months. It’s a great way to teach kids about geography, and I thoroughly enjoying pointing out where Singapore is whenever I tell my sweet bear where I grew up!
7. Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven: Despite asking for this toy multiple times when I was a kid, I never got one, so you better believe it’s on my list for my daughter’s 6th birthday in March!
8. Snoopy Snow Cone Machine: Another gift I always wanted but never got to add to my daughter’s birthday list!
9. Magformers Standard Set: My daughter received a set of Magformers for her 5th birthday and we love it. It offers endless entertainment, and will continue to grow with her over the next couple of years. My only regret is that there weren’t more pieces in our set, so if you can afford it, buy two!
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