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Active Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Find toys that encourage fitness and physical activity in young children.

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Updated December 04, 2013

For little kids, toys are essential to growth, learning, and development. When you choose toys for children this age, make sure you select some active toys along with ABC books and cuddly buddies for pretend play. Active toys help build motor skills and encourage kids to get their daily dose of physical activity. Many of these top toy picks can be used indoors or out and are appealing to both boys and girls.

1. Learning Resources Crocodile Hop

Learning Resources Crocodile Hop Floor Game
Learning Resources
With this floor game, kids hop across the river and learn colors, shapes, and numbers while they play. Better yet, they can play alone or with friends. The game comes with large, inflatable dice which are easier for kids to manipulate—and harder for them to lose.
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2. Diggin Active Big Boom Bat & Tee

Diggin Jr Big Boom Bat and Tee
Diggin Active
This set, which comes with an oversize bat, ball, and tee, is perfect for little ones just learning how to swing. Also check out Diggin Active's Bucket 'o Baseballs and Bucket o' Golf Balls (compare prices). Each includes 30 balls and a collapsible bat or club that you can tote around in the bucket.
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3. Step 2 Big Folding Slide

Step2 Natural Play Big Folding Slide
Step2

Because this slide folds up for storage or transport, you can move it easily around your yard, garage, or home depending on where you need it most. Or if your child outgrows it (there is a 50-lb. weight limit), you can stash it out of the way until a younger sibling is ready for some climbing and sliding fun.

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4. Rody Horse

Rody Horse active preschool inflatable bouncy toy
Pricegrabber

Young children can rock, bounce, and move on this clever, inflatable horse--and as they grow, you can add more air to make the horse bigger. Rody comes in many bright colors and is made of a soft, sturdy, latex-free vinyl. Supply your own hand or foot pump. You can also buy a base to turn Rody into a traditional rocking horse.

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5. Little Tikes Clearly Sports Kick Ball

Little Tikes Clearly Sports Kick Ball
Little Tikes
Get little kids ready for family kickball fun with this starter set. It comes with three bases, home plate, and a clear ball with sound effects (more balls inside). Play indoors or out, since you can set the bases anywhere you like. You can also use them to reinforce color and number learning. The Clearly Sports line (compare prices) also includes bowling, baseball, and golf sets.
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6. Manhattan Toy Company Boysterous Boys

Manhattan Toy Company Boysterous Action Figure Goalie Gavin
Manhattan Toy Company
From Goalie Gavin, shown here, to Slope Shreddin Sean, these active action figures each have a sport they adore and the gear to go with it. Choose from soccer, skateboarding, hockey, snowboarding, or football. Each figure has bendable arms and legs and an accessory that he can hang onto (thanks to magnetic magic). Also available is a Zip-bin, a playing field floor mat that doubles as a storage bin. Suitable for kids ages 3 to 8.
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7. Sesame Street Wii Games

Ready Set Grover Sesame Street game for Nintendo Wii and DS
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Young children get their chance to play Wii games with several Sesame Street titles: Ready Set Grover (compare prices), Elmo's A to Zoo Adventure (compare prices) and Cookie's Counting Carnival (compare prices; these games are sold separately). These games teach preschool basics like letters and numbers, and the Grover game emphasizes healthy habits—including being active and eating well. For Wii, the games come with a special fuzzy cover for the Wiimote. This makes them easier (and more fun) for little kids to use, and covers buttons they don't need. The games are also available for PC and for the Nintendo DS platform, but Wii versions require more physical activity of players. If your child prefers Nickelodeon characters, check out Nickelodeon Fit for Wii (compare prices), starring Dora, Kai-Lan, and pals.

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8. Curious George Hide and Seek at the Zoo

Curious George Hide and Seek Zoo board game by I Can Do That! Games
I Can Do That! Games

This cute game, featuring everyone's favorite curious monkey, encourages players to play a quick round of hide-and-seek during the course of play. It's an unexpectedly active twist to a normally sedentary activity. Plus, kids can use the included walkie-talkie and animal masks for active pretend play even without the board game.

9. ALEX Beanbag Toss-n-Tote

ALEX Beanbag Toss N Tote
ALEX Toys

Spread out the colorful, 3' by 3' mat indoors or out for a simple game of beanbag toss. Four beanbags are included in the attached, zippered bag. Flip the mat over for a second game called "Feed the Fish."

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10. Giraffalaff Limbo

Hasbro Giraffalaff Limbo
Hasbro

Here's a fun take on the classic how-low-can-you-go? party game. This battery-operated game requires only two players (but more can join in!). Spin the dial to try one of the six limbo styles: classic, crabwalk, crawl, giraffe walk, forward, or backward. Sneak under without knocking down the giraffe—but if you can't, no worries. He'll just laugh, and your child will too.

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