25 Best Learning Toys Under 20 Dollars for Toddlers in 2020

Toys can become a heavy burden on your wallet. While you are spending hundreds of dollars on toys, kids may get bored with them within a couple of hours. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to deprive your little pumpkin of the joy of new trucks, trains, dolls, Lego, or other toys. You can merely cut the expenses. Our list of 25 cool toys under 20 dollars will help you with this.

How to Choose The Best Toy For Toddler?

If you don’t know what you should consider when choosing an appropriate toy for 3-4-year old (or younger) children, start with age compliance. This is a guarantee that the toddler won’t hurt themselves. Moreover, you don’t need to scrutinize the toy to check for small pieces that can be easily swollen. Other crucial factors that must be considered are:

  • Quality
    The whole-piece must be well made, while those that require assembling (like a train set for kids or Lego) must exclude rough edges and connect with other elements well.
  • Materials
    It’s always better to choose natural materials like wood rather than plastic. In any case, look for high-quality material, without sharp corners or chemical smell.
  • The complexity
    There is no point in buying sophisticated educational toys for 2-year-olds. They won’t be able to use them to their full potential.

Editor’s Choice

Here is a list of the 7 top-rated cheap toys for kids that won’t hurt your budget, but will still entertain your children:


ProductEditors’s pickRating*
1LeapFrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic BasketBest picnic toy4,9
2LEGO DUPLO My First Number TrainBest Lego set under 20 dollars4,8
3Orbrium Toys Wooden Train Cars for KidsBest train set for kids4,8
4Jurassic World Primal Pal Blue with Spring-Moving ActionBest dinosaur toy for toddlers4,8
5VTech Drop and Go Dump TruckBest dump truck for kids4,8
6LeapFrog 2-in-1 LeapTop TouchBest electronic toy for kids4,7
7AMOSTING Color Matching Mosaic PegboardBest Educational Toy4,6

* grading scale out of 5 from Amazon at the time of publication

1. LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train

Why we choose it

My First Number Train from Lego is a great educational toy. The kit can help start teaching children how to count. It contains rather large pieces; therefore, it isn’t dangerous, even for 3-year-olds. Except for the buildable locomotive, there are two child figures. It allows roleplaying, which is far more entertaining.

Key Features:

  • An extensive kit, including numbered bricks (from 0 to 9), two figures (a child and a cat), and a buildable locomotive with three wagons.
  • Large parts.
  • Small overall size – 3-inch height, 14-inch length, 2-inch width.
  • Bright colors.

What parents say?

Big hit!

My daughter absolutely loves this toy! I saw a lot of people complaining about the zero, but my daughter just put it at the beginning where there was room. This is a great toy and will provide hours of fun!

Sarah Miller

Verdict

It is one of the best Lego sets under 20 dollars that can be found online for toddlers. A child can play with it in several ways: using the education aspect, or simply roleplaying. Apart from that, it is good for both boys and girls. The kit is a good present for small toddlers, as well as preschool kids. The latter can practice their counting skills with the toy.

Pros
  • Features both learning and entertaining aspects.
  • Suitable for 2-5-year-olds.
  • Bright colors.
Cons
  • Provides only basic counting practice.

2. LeapFrog 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch

Why we choose it

The LeapFrog 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch comes in the form of a laptop, which is particularly entertaining for modern, tech-savvy kids. It can also flip to convert into a tablet. Such versatility is likely to entertain a child for a longer time. It helps them learn the alphabet and numbers from 1 to 10 in a funny way, and has a music feature, which helps grab the toddler’s attention.

Key Features:

  • Two modes: tablet and laptop.
  • Five learning modes – Numbers, ABCs, Music, Messages, and Games.
  • Available in two color schemes.
  • Large screen for more convenience.
  • Customization available.

What parents say?

Excellent value--full keyboard and educational!

Got this for my 3 year old for Christmas. She specifically wanted a "laptop like mommy's," and this fit the bill perfectly. I wanted the full keyboard (many similar products have fewer keys), and I don't mind that it is in alphabetical order, rather than the usual QWERTY keyboard setup. She loooooves pretending to type like she has observed me doing, and it doesn't hurt that there are little educational games and songs as well. She also likes that it flips over into tablet mode.

LanneyG

Verdict

If you are looking for electronic toys for kids, this is definitely the best one. It’s entertaining for children that are between 3 and 4 years old. However, it can also intrigue smaller toddlers. The latter is guaranteed to be fascinated by the music feature. The toy allows a child to prepare for school by teaching numbers and the alphabet in a funny way. You can even practice writing in the laptop mode.

Pros
  • Allows roleplaying.
  • Five educational modes.
  • Two-color schemes.
Cons
  • The screen may not remain in the place when changing from laptop to tablet.

3. VTech Drop & Go Dump Truck

Why we choose it

The Drop And Go Dump Truck is both entertaining and educational. It has a lot to offer: a child can drop colorful rocks in the dump truck, tumble them into a bucket, rumple the rocks inside, and unload them. All this is spiced up with music. In addition to this, the truck counts the number of rocks dropped in it. This colorful truck comes with batteries, so you can try it as soon as you’ve bought it.

Key Features:

  • Plenty of activities.
  • Bright colors.
  • Voiced counting.
  • The kit includes batteries.
  • Relatively small overall size – 7.6 x 9.9 x 5.4 inches.

What parents say?

Fun colorful dumptruck, pull or roll, music and teaching tools

I ordered this Vtech Drop and Go dump truck for my 7 month old Grandson. I will tell you my 3 year old Grandson loves to play with it as well. I have loved Vtech quality toys since my children were youngsters. This dump truck can be pulled along, and when you pull it, it's buttons flash and the truck interacts with the child. 
There are colored rocks that can be pushed through the top hole in the cab and they go into the bed of the dumptruck. Each time you insert a rock the toys talks and responds with different phrases, plays melodies, and teaches tools and colors . The lever on the side of the truck does dump the bed of the dumptruck. The buttons can be pushed and light up. Good quality product.

J. Graham

Verdict

Dump trucks for kids are a popular choice of toy. The VTech Drop And Go Dump Truck is on the list as it is both educational and entertaining. Although it doesn’t provide extensive practice for the child’s numerical skills, it helps develop their motor skills. Moreover, there are three additional buttons that say phrases, allowing children to learn about tools and colors.

Pros
  • Features music and voice over.
  • Plenty of activities that develop motor skills.
  • Suitable for toddlers from 6 months.
Cons
  • Only good for kids up to 3 years old.

4. LeapFrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket

Why we choose it

Food play is a great way to keep children busy. Combine this with the toy’s educational features, and you will find it perfect. The picnic basket includes 15 colored parts in different shapes and colors. The toy can say the names of the shapes or colors, or it can just play music.

Key Features:

  • Three play modes: music picnic time, and shapes and colors.
  • Colorful pieces.
  • Features a voice over.
  • Helps with learning shapes and colors by adopting the reward program.
  • Includes batteries.

What parents say?

Babies and Toddlers Loved It!

Got this for my daughter's 1st birthday. Her, another baby her age, a 2 year old, and 3 year old all loved it. It helped them practice sharing and pretend play. The shape sorter was great. Would definitely recommend this.

Julie T

Verdict

This is the best picnic toy for children who are between 6 months and 4 years old. All ages will find something to do: the younger kids will enjoy the bright colors and music, while the older ones can learn about colors and shapes. The basket gives rewards for the right answers, which is a great motivation. Picnic toys allow role-playing, as the kids can enjoy their favorite activity – imitating their parents.

Pros
  • Suitable for small and big toddlers.
  • Several learning modes.
  • Extremely musical.
Cons
  • Doesn’t provide advanced education.

5. Orbrium Toys Wooden Train Cars for Kids/Tunnel Wooden Train Set

Why we choose it

Orbitum toys offer a whole wooden train set made of 12 pieces. They include all the possible types of engines and cars, from tenders and coaches to a tanker and coal hopper car. Such a wide variety means that this toy fits all the possible train play systems. The wooden box cover can also serve as a tunnel.

Key Features:

  • 12 parts for extensive replay ability.
  • A compact wooden box that can transform into a tunnel.
  • Well-designed elements that resemble real train systems.
  • Safe materials.

What parents say?

Tons of unique trains for such a low price!

These trains are great! Build quality is decent enough but the value is what I love about these the most. You get a lot of train cars for a fraction of the price of the competitors (Thomas brand trains come to mind; At my local store they are >$15 per train.) Additionally, each train car is unique. Some have removable tops, some swivel, some have wooden inserts. It's a nice touch that makes each train car unique. My child loves them! 

John Smith

Verdict

This wooden train cars kit is the best train set for kids. First of all, each component can be used separately or together. The toy is great entertainment for a group of children as they can build several trains. Secondly, the 2-in-1 box is great: what can be more entertaining than passing through the tunnel? Thirdly, it’s entertaining for a variety of ages. All children like moving objects. 

Pros
  • Several play systems.
  • Plenty of elements.
  • Follow safety requirements.
Cons
  • Lacks an educational aspect.

6. Jurassic World Primal Pal Blue with Spring-Moving Action

Why we choose it

This dinosaur, from Jurassic World, can become a great toy for your child. It can move from side to side, open and close its jaws, and move its neck and torso. All these come with sound effects inspired by the movie. The toy is well-made. It boasts realistic shapes, colors, and sounds.

Key Features:

  • Plenty of movements.
  • Features realistic sound.
  • Well-made copy of Velociraptor Blue from Jurassic World.

What parents say?

Adorable

Omg this baby Blue is absolutely adorable! Perfect size for my 4 year old to play with and carry around. Makes lots of different noises when you push her down or move side to side. Seems to be durable. Very cute! Would recommend for any boy or girl who love Jurassic world or just dinosaurs in general.

Ksenia Green

Verdict

If your kid is fond of animals, and especially dinosaurs, this is a great pick. It’s among the best dinosaur toys for toddlers that are available at a low price. Although it doesn’t suit children younger than four, the older ones will find it fascinating. The high movability and plenty of realistic sounds allow the creation of dozens of games. Moreover, if you like Jurassic World and the main character – Velociraptor Blue – nothing better can be found.

Pros
  • Realistic look.
  • Features musical effects.
  • Many movements.
Cons
  • Isn’t suitable for toddlers less than four years old.

7. AMOSTING Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard Early Learning Educational Toys

Why we choose it

The Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard from Amosting fosters early intellectual development. A child has to match the colorful buttons according to the assigned colors on the pictures. On the other side, they can create a unique pattern, which develops creativity. The mosaic nature of the toy allows development of fine motor skills, which is especially useful for early development.

Key Features:

  • 46 colorful buttons and ten pictures.
  • Bright colors.
  • Suitable for boys and girls.
  • Compact storage tray.
  • Facilitates overall development, including fine motor skills and creativity.

What parents say?

Great toy! Well made!

 What an awesome Montessori learning toy! My boys really loved it and played well for 45 minutes. It stores all parts inside of itself, is well constructed with high end durable materials, and ther pieces are a good size as to not be too much of a choking hazard. Happy customer!

Juliann

Verdict

The kit is one of the best learning toys under $20 for several reasons. Apart from its compact size and storage set, it offers ten different mosaic patterns. Even if the child has got enough out of the premade mosaic patterns, they can create a brand-new pattern. It helps develop out-of-the-box thinking. 

Pros
  • Suitable for both boys and girls.
  • Plenty of designs.
  • High-quality.
  • Extremely educational.
  • Easy-to-store.
Cons
  • Small kids may hurt themselves with rough shapes of the nails.

8. Melissa & Doug Wooden School Bus

Why we choose it

The school bus kit is a great toy which prepares children for going to school. Apart from being school themed, it allows you to explain the simple road safety rules. It also may be entertaining for those preschool kids who enjoy imagining themselves being pupils. The set of 8 pieces is made from a natural material - wood. It has smooth edges; therefore, the risk of injury is reduced.

Key Features:

  • 8 pieces.
  • Natural material.
  • Well-shaped elements with smooth edges.
  • Stimulates the imagination.

What parents say?

This bus is great

I had bought this bus for a grand child and when I started to babysit two other grandchildren they loved it so I had to order two more for them to be able to take home with them and they love it. They play like the bus is picking up the kids and going to school. Would recommend buying this for children to play with

DonnaFaye

Verdict

This toy is most suitable for kids between the age of 3 and 6, as the school theme is relevant for this age category. The toy can be played with by a group of kids numbering up to 7. This way, each will have his own character. It’s a good option to develop creative thinking, as the child will have to create their own role play.

Pros
  • No sharp edges.
  • Safe material.
  • Suitable for explaining the basic road safety rules through roleplaying.
Cons
  • No educational aspect.
  • Requires plenty of imagination to play for a long time. 

9. Melissa & Doug Wooden Advent Calendar

Why we choose it

This wooden advent calendar is ideal for two reasons: firstly, it helps explain what advent is to children and engage them in holiday preparation; secondly, it’s a great way to spice up the atmosphere with some Christmas spirit. The magnetic wooden tree has 24 balls and corresponding ornaments to mark each day of Advent. A child can express themselves by decorating the tree.

Key Features:

  • Wooden magnetic board in the form of a Christmas tree.
  • A poem on the back side that features family communication.
  • Creates a unique festive atmosphere.
  • Develops creativity.
  • Can be used multiple times.

What parents say?

Can See This Used For Years To Come

This is a beautiful advent calendar that has a classic and timeless look. It is not too childish so I think even older children (and adults?!) would enjoy having it on display. I know my daughter told me my granddaughter loved it! I warned my daughter that some said the magnets may not remain strong, but she had no trouble with it at all (even with a boisterous toddler 😉)

CKA

Verdict

Decorating a magnetic Christmas tree can become a family tradition for years. You can use it over and over. Moreover, a kid can rearrange the ornament as much as he/she wants. The toy is suitable for older toddlers. The best age is when the child is between 3 and 6 years old. Children will like the themed poem, written on the back side.

Pros
  • Features family reunion.
  • Ideal for creating a festive mood in Christmas time.
Cons
  • Few playing options.

10. Learning Resources Mental Blox Critical Thinking Game

Why we choose it

The Mental Blox set allows developing skills vital for real-life without leaving your house. The product has 40 colorful pieces of various shapes that must be assembled in a particular way. It’s not possible to learn all the combinations quickly, as there are 20 of them.

Key Features:

  • 40 pieces set of different shapes and colors.
  • Features STEM skills.
  • A wide variety of combination to create.
  • Bright colors to grab attention.
  • Stimulates brain activity.

What parents say?

Perfect Game for Younger Kids Too

I purchased this for my 3 year old and he loves it! I know it says for 5 yr old+ but he loves shapes and building blocks and he is able to grow with this because it starts with very basic shape building to more complex project cards. For a boy who is obsessed with cars and trucks, this was a perfect game that holds his interest.

Kindle Customer

Verdict

One child or a group of kids will find it entertaining, while parents will be able to rest, knowing that the child is self-improving. Mental Blox helps to improve brain activity, as well as decision making, and analytical and critical thinking skills. At the same time, it trains hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Though it’s designed for 5-year-old kids, customers claim that it’s suitable for 3-year-olds as well.

Pros
  • Ideal for in-home learning.
  • Suitable for boys and girls.
  • Helps your child develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
Cons
  • The prescribed age is 5+.

11. Melissa & Doug Wooden Chunky Puzzles Set

Why we choose it

Wooden Chunky Puzzles Set from Melissa & Doug is ideal for imaginative children. The colorful set offers two boards: one features tools, the other – dinosaurs. It’s designed especially for younger toddlers from 24 months: there are hints under each piece to help.

Key Features:

  • Wooden elements.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Offers hints to solve the puzzles easily.
  • Two sets with different themes.
  • Compact size – 12 x 11 x 2 inches.

What parents say?

Well made, bright colors, definitely a favorite

My son was 2 when I gave this to him. The pieces are well made, without being so hefty as to cause minor injuries after being launched by aforementioned 2 year old. Lol the dino pieces are painted in bold vibrant and fun colors. Its been 2 years since i first bought them and they have withstood the test of time. They are still in great condition after being a favorite activity for so long.

CeeRex30

Verdict

Although the toy is recommended for children up to 4 years, they are likely to get bored quickly. There are only two sets with seven pieces to match in each. However, toddlers who are around two years old will find this puzzle challenging and entertaining. They will love the bright colors, and the set isn’t dangerous for them as there are no small pieces. They can also improve their hand-eye coordination. Moreover, the set provides imaginative gameplay.

Pros
  • Bright colors.
  • Hints for the youngest generation.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Natural materials.
Cons
  • A child is likely to get bored after they use it several times.

12. LEGO DUPLO My First Fun Puzzle

Why we choose it

Lego Duplo My First Fun Puzzle is among the best Lego sets under 20 dollars for toddlers. There are a number of bright blocks, with five different animals, which are big enough to reduce the risk of health damage. All the pieces are easy to assemble, and they connect easily. The compact size makes it a good choice to keep a toddler occupied while on vacation.

Key Features:

  • 15 pieces that make up five animal puzzles.
  • 3D graphics.
  • Compact size of each animal – 4 x 2 x 1 inches.
  • Suitable for kids from 18 months and up.
  • Encourages learning by playing; improving creativity, and fine motor skills.

What parents say?

Great purchase!

My 12 month old and four year old love playing with these blocks! They are great for building hand and eye coordination and the four year old loves making mixed up animals.

ShoppinMama

Verdict

My First Fun Puzzle from Lego Duplo is ideal for small kids (18 months or older). Toddlers can learn the names of a number of colors and animals by playing. Apart from that, this game helps the child develop fine motor skills, which is essential. The kit is perfect for traveling due to its compact size.

Pros
  • The toy is compact.
  • Good for the child’s imagination.
  • Learning through playing for 18-month-old toddlers and older.
Cons
  • May be boring for kids over the age of 4.
  • Only five blocks to assemble.

13. Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog, Easter Basket Toy

Why we choose it

This compact hedgehog offers plenty of features. The set, consisting of a hedgehog base and 12 colorful quills, is a good way to learn colors. Toddlers can also start to develop sorting and counting skills. There is an activity guide that will help you direct the toddlers to play in the right way.

Key Features:

  • Educational for toddlers.
  • Colorful quills.
  • Included activity guide.
  • Compact storage.
  • Small size – 6” in diameter.

What parents say?

Great fine motor toy

Love this product. It says 18+ months but it was fun for both of my kids (11 months and 3). It’s meant to help with fine motor skills. The spikes are rubber with different colors and you can put them in and take them out of the holes in the hedgehog. The best part is that when they’re done playing the hedgehog opens and you can store all the spikes in there so they don’t get lost. Definitely recommend this product.

Tony Wexler

Verdict

The Easter Basket Toy is great for kids over 18 months. They will enjoy the bright colors and slightly sophisticated playing patterns. You can teach your kid sorting, numbering, or use it to memorize colors. However, keep in mind that this can be done only with your help. The set is compact; therefore, it’s suitable for traveling.

Pros
  • Bright, eye-catching colors.
  • Compact and easy to store.
  • Develops color recognition, counting, sorting, and fine motor skills.
Cons
  • Kids aren’t likely to play alone with it.

14. Playskool Mr. Potato Head Silly Suitcase Parts and Pieces Toddler Toy

Why we choose it

Mr. Potato has been popular with kids of all generations. The toy, which stimulates creativity and imagination, hasn’t grown old. Playskool offers 36 pieces that include several pairs of eyes, noses, arms, ears, mustaches, hats, tongues, and glasses, as well as a microphone, a pair of pants and shoes. In short, the opportunities for your child’s imagination to run wild are limitless.

Key Features:

  • 36 pieces for extensive customization.
  • Storage case.
  • Suitable for all generations, including adults.
  • Total dimensions: 4.5 x 8.5.x 10.9 inches.
  • For 2-year-olds and older.

What parents say?

My son loves his Mr. Potato Head!

I got this for my son by recommendation by his speech therapist. She suggested using Mr. Potato Head as a way to help him learn how to socialize and carry conversations. It has many different parts and its fun to put together and make different types of personalities for Mr. Potato Head. Its a great price and has more to offer than the basic one most stores carry. Its easy to clean and Mr. Potato head can store most of the items inside of him, but the carrying case is a big bonus for keeping everything together.

Ashley Ortiz

Verdict

The Mr. Potato head silly suitcase is suitable for children, over the age of 2. The ultimate advantage is that it’s entertaining for all generations, including adults. Compact storage makes it easy to keep and transport. This is a cheap toy that will become a frequent companion while traveling.

Pros
  • Variety of combinations.
  • Compact.
  • Lightweight.
  • Entertaining for kids of all ages starting from 2 years old.
Cons
  • Pieces are easy to lose.

15. Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit & Veggie Tote

Why we choose it

Fresh Picked Fruit & Veggie Tot features kids toy food. It offers 16 pieces in the form of various fruits and vegetables. This kit will fit perfectly in a toy kitchen. However, it can be entertaining separately as well. The bright colors are likely to catch the attention of the youngest players. The set encourages acting. Apart from that, it can be used to learn colors or basic counting.

Key Features:

  • 16 colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Durable materials.
  • For 24+ months.
  • Bright colors.
  • Smooth edges.

What parents say?

A must have for little ones!

Bought for my 15 month old daughter for Christmas and it was perfect! The quality is great and the tote bag was a perfect size. Learning Resources have been one of our favorites and this product did not disappoint!! A must have for all kid kitchens!

MarilynRoe86

Verdict

The Fruit & Vegetable Tot can be bought for 24-months kids and older. The materials are very strong and flexible. So, the children can even use them for teething. While the smallest will like bright colors, older ones can learn counting or sorting. On the whole, they can use it to develop critical thinking skills. The main drawback is that you must make up a game on your own.

Pros
  • Variety of combinations.
  • Compact.
  • Lightweight.
  • Entertaining for kids of all ages starting from 2 years old.
Cons
  • Educational aspect can only be fulfilled with the help of adults.

16. Melissa & Doug Take-Along Show-Horse Stable

Why we choose it

The Show-Horse Stable is a toy that emphasizes pretend play significantly. The entire set is made from wood; therefore, it guarantees durability. This applies to horses, as well as stables. The case, which is in the form of stables, provides an opportunity for many different ways of playing with the toy. In addition to the high quality and wide range of ways to play, the manufacturers added write-on name tags. This means that a child can give names to each horse.

Key Features:

  • 8 colorful horses.
  • A storage case in the form of stables.
  • Durable construction.
  • Personalization.
  • 13 x 5 x 5 inches.

What parents say?

Very pleased with high quality product

My almost four year old daughter had been begging for horses, but all the ones in nearby stores seemed cheap and flimsy or weird looking. I know that Melissa and Doug products tend to be quality, so I gave them a try for this item. Not disappointed! The horses look great and are perfect for her to play with. She loves putting them in and out of the barn (great way to store them too). Very pleased with the product.

AET

Verdict

Though the kit is approved for children older than 36 months, it brings far more joy for those who are a bit older. Nonetheless, even young horse lovers will enjoy the colorful, realistic elements. The personalization feature stimulates the imagination and creativity and guarantees more joy. The set is ideal for group play.

Pros
  • Variety of combinations.
  • Compact.
  • Lightweight.
  • Entertaining for kids of all ages starting from 2 years old.
Cons
  • Educational aspect can be fulfilled with the help of adults.

17. The Learning Journey: My First Match It - Things That Go

Why we choose it

‘My First Match It’ set of puzzles from the learning journey features an vehicle theme, which is good for children big and small. It contains 15 self-correcting puzzle sets, where each is divided into two parts. This makes it easy, even for two-year-old toddlers. However, to make it more challenging, just add more puzzles to choose from.

Key Features:

  • 15 self-correcting puzzles.
  • Different vehicle.
  • Easy-to-assemble.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Trains problem-solving skills.

What parents say?

Great little puzzle for 2 year olds! Helps build self-confidence!

We bought this for our 22 month old son because he would watch his older siblings solve more complicated puzzles but when he would try to 'help' he would obviously not be able to put them together without any help and that would make him feel very frustrated & upset. These simple & easy 2-piece puzzles have really helped boost his self-esteem - they are just the right size for his little hands to hold and when he presses down on them they easily snap in place unlike other ones he had to struggle with all the time!

Merissa

Verdict

Although the instructions say that the kit is suitable for kids from 2 to 15 years old, older children are likely to find too easy. However, the younger generation may struggle a bit if you give them all of the puzzles at the same time. The set will definitely catch their attention, as all the cards are very bright. You can easily take it on a trip: the box is lightweight and won’t take much space.

Pros
  • Big pieces.
  • Bright colors.
  • Can come in different levels of complexity.
  • Plenty of combinations.
Cons
  • Too easy for older kids.

18. VTech Roll & Surprise Animal Train

Why we choose it

The Roll & Surprise Animal train from VTech will catch the attention of any toddler. The toy can play 55 different songs while promoting visual awareness with flashes. Apart from songs, it can also make sounds and say phrases. There are three mechanical knobs – push, slide, and turn – which pop up animal characters. Apart from all these, children can play with it like an ordinary train. The toy includes two AAA batteries.

Key Features:

  • Features sounds and music.
  • Flashing chimney for increased attention.
  • Pop-up animals.
  • Bright colors.
  • Movable train.
  • 10.6 x 7.9 x 4.8 inches.

What parents say?

Fun train

We love this little pop up train. We gifted this to my daughter when she was 7 months - 2 months later and it's still fun. She loves closing the lids on the animals when we pop them open for her like a little whack-a-mole game. My son is 2.5 yr old and he enjoys it too, more in the capacity that it's a train and has a pull string then popups but I'll take it!

HokieHi

Verdict

The Roll & Surprise Train is a good pick for toddlers from 6 months and older. It has many musical features; therefore, it is a highly entertaining toy for small kids. A child can play alone or with someone else. It’s also a great tool for role play, which will improve imagination. In general, the train helps your toddler with developing fine motor skills. 

Pros
  • Bright colors.
  • Easily catches the toddler’s attention.
  • Improves fine motor skills.
Cons
  • Not lightweight.
  • Requires two batteries to operate.

19. LEGO DUPLO Minnie’s Birthday Party

Why we choose it

Minnie’s birthday party from Lego is an excellent pick for a birthday present. It contains 21 pieces that are assembled into several objects. A kid can build a birthday cake, house, and spice the atmosphere up with a car, cat, presents, and Minnie herself. The set doesn’t take much space and can be easily transported. In general, it’s a nice toy for a role play.

Key Features:

  • Compact and lightweight: 10.3 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches, only 11,7 ounces.
  • 21 pieces.
  • Versatile due to a variety of objects.
  • Features birthday party theme.
  • For kids from 2 to 5 years old.

What parents say?

Cute set for Minnie lovers

My one and a half year old loves this set - particularly Minnie, the cat and the umbrella. The pieces are large enough for her to handle and she loves to put pieces together and break them apart. This is the best price I could find for the set (compared to what I found in stores). Good purchase for us!

Amazon Customer

Verdict

The Minnie’s Birthday Party is probable the best gift for a 3-4 years old girl who loves Mickey Mouse. The set includes several objects and will keep the child occupied for a long time. First of all, they will spend time assembling it. Later on, they can play with it, which helps with their imagination. 

Pros
  • Excellent birthday present for a toddler from 2 to 5 years old.
  • Compact.
  • Versatile.
  • Lightweight.
Cons
  • More suitable for girls.

20. Play Circle by Battat – Sweet Treats Ice Cream Parlour Playset

Why we choose it

A 21-piece set, which has everything you need to create a delicious ice-cream dessert. It includes four ice-cream scoops, two cream toppings, bottles of sprinkles, syrup bottles, ice cream swirls, sugar cones, cups, and spoons. Also, you will find bananas, banana splits, and an ice cream scooper, which pushes the aforementioned scoops. Every component is very realistic and meets the CAN and US safety standards.

Key Features:

  • Durable materials.
  • Follows set safety standards.
  • 21-piece set.
  • Ice-cream scoop with push function.
  • Suitable for hand wash.
  • Good for pretend play.

What parents say?

My sons favorite play food!

Really good quality with a really good price with very cute and creative accessories. The scoop works well with a release button for the ice cream. Easy for my 2 year old son to piece together and pull apart and he has been playing with it for hours now! Would absolutely recommend.

Camille Yeates

Verdict

The kit is a good food play under 20 dollars for 3-year-olds and older. Children will like the wide range of pieces, which perfectly imitate real objects. It’s a decent toy for a game of pretend, and kids can interconnect in groups while playing.

Pros
  • Meets US and Can safety standards.
  • Can be washed.
  • Plenty of parts, which create a more realistic effect.
  • Great usability with extensive push functions.
Cons
  • The box is spacious; therefore, you may need to find a more compact storage case.

21. Melissa & Doug Felt Food Sandwich Set

Why we choose it

The kids toy food set from Melissa & Doug includes 33 pieces: sliced vegetables, meat, felt bread, and rolls. In short, it has everything needed to make a sandwich. The set is produced from highly durable materials that are almost invulnerable. Apart from that, the manufacturers thought about ways to play with it in advance and included pretend play ideas.

Key Features:

  • 33 pieces.
  • Guide included.
  • For children between the ages of 3 and 7.
  • 13.3 x 9.9 x 2.4 inches.

What parents say?

Incredible, great quality and TONS of fun!

My daughter loves to "cook" and play with foods. This set was an absolute knockout on Christmas morning! I should have bought two sets for both kids. Oops! My 5 yr old absolutely would not out this down, literally all day! The quality of the buns and breads are SO nice, fluffy and soft felt...the items to go on the sandwiches was just genius! So many options to choose from, even bacon for a BLT. I will probably buy another I love this one so much.

misha

Verdict

The felt food sandwich set is a good toy for kids who like to play pretend. A child can play alone, with friends, or with family members. However, there is a possibility that a child will want additional toys. You can use it for educational purposes by practicing numbering, sorting, or merely studying the food. Though it does not have a very pleasant smell, the material is very durable.

Pros
  • High durability.
  • Plenty of elements.
  • Includes ideas.
Cons
  • The case box may get destroyed fast.

22. LEGO DUPLO Town Truck & Tracked Excavator

Why we choose it

This set from Lego Duplo features toy dump trucks for toddlers, together with an excavator, construction workers, a road work sign, bricks for scooping, and a shovel. The excavator has a rotating cabin with a posable arm. The dump truck comes with a tipping function. Both vehicles are rather big, so they aren’t dangerous for smaller toddlers.

Key Features:

  • Two vehicles.
  • 26 pieces.
  • Encourages pretend-play.
  • For 2-5 years old kids.
  • Develops early building skills.

What parents say?

Exactly as described. Love Duplo.

Exactly as pictured. Can’t go wrong with Duplo Blocks. My 4 year old grandson has played with it every day since Christmas.

Patrick G.

Verdict

Although many may think that construction is best for boys, girls may also enjoy it. The toy is suitable for children between 2 and 5. There are no small pieces that can pose a threat to toddlers. The set encourages imaginative play, as well as developing early building skills. Many kids are going to enjoy it as it is rather simple to play with.

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills.
  • Pretend play.
  • Two vehicles with moving parts.
Cons
  • Mostly features boys’ interests.
  • Not suitable for groups.

23. Discovery Kids 50-Piece Magnetic Building Tiles

Why we choose it

These magnetic building tiles from Discovery Kids include 50 pieces that serve as tools to develop imagination and creativity. Apart from that, it also brings additional educational value in the form of learning shapes, colors or practicing counting. All the pieces are of medium size; therefore, they are convenient to store or transport, while remaining big enough to play with.

Key Features:

  • Magnetic building tiles.
  • 6 different bright colors.
  • Storage bag.
  • 50 pieces.
  • Basic learning through play.
  • Compact – 8 x 1 x 8 inches.

What parents say?

Kids' current favorite toy

After a year my kids still take these with us on vacations. They take them with them to grandma's. They play with them almost daily, and still love them. Instead of just building with them, they incorporate other cars/blocks and make parking garages and ramps. Great toys!

Burley

Verdict

50-Piece Magnetic Building Tiles is an amazing toy that stimulates imagination and develops skills such as fine motor skills and creativity. It can be bought for kids who are as young as three years old. However, those who are 1-2 years older are likely to enjoy it more. You can even use it to learn colors or practice counting.

Pros
  • Compact size.
  • Includes plenty of pieces.
  • Early learning development.
Cons
  • Requires adult help to fulfill an educational purpose.
  • Small kids may find it too hard to understand.

24. Green Toys Airplane

Why we choose it

The airplane from Green toys features an airplane theme. It’s suitable both for inside and outside play. Even if it gets dirty, the toy is easy to clean: use some mild soap or shampoo for that. The toy is produced from durable yet environmentally-friendly materials. The same applies to the packaging. Though it’s rather primitive, the airplane is rather realistic. It even has a spinning propeller.

Key Features:

  • Produced from recycled plastic.
  • No BPA.
  • Spinning propeller.
  • Lightweight.
  • Eye-catching red color.
  • Easy-to-clean.

What parents say?

Five Stars

Super cute and very lightweight, perfect size! I appreciate that Green Toys offers their toys in more colors... my daughter loves planes, trains, cars, tools, etc. but she’s also as girly as can be and loves her pinks and purples. The fact that she got a purple plane for her (2nd) birthday was so much fun for her! She loves it. I can’t wait to get her more of these awesome toys. Thank you for not holding kids back by separating toys from boys and girls, but still letting them feel like it was meant for them!

Ericka

Verdict

The toy will become good entertainment for small boys and girls. On the whole, it’s recommended for kids from 1 to 10 years old. Due to its high durability and whole-piece nature, there is no risk for tiny toddlers.

Pros
  • Easy to clean.
  • Bright colors.
  • Environmentally friendly toy and package.
Cons
  • May seem too simple.
  • No educational purpose.

25. Melissa & Doug Pizza Party Wooden Play Food

Why we choose it

In a world where pizza is one of the most popular meals, children will definitely enjoy playing with a wooden pizza set. The wooden pizza base and 54 toppings allow creating the most delicious slice for anyone. The compact and durable storage box is convenient, even for transportation. The set also includes a colored tray, pizza cutter, and spatula.

Key Features:

  • Full kit for preparing and serving pizza.
  • 54 toppings.
  • Wooden, durable materials.
  • For kids between 3 and 5.
  • Convenient storage box.

What parents say?

Awesome product, just be careful opening the packaging

This is such a great toy! I got this for my almost 3 year old, immediately my kid liked it and it has encouraged a lot of imaginary play and creativity. Just be careful when opening the packaging, the plastic was so tight that I had to cut it with scissors with a lot of pressure and I accidentally scratched the pizza with the scissors. Still the pizza was sturdy enough that it only left a small scratch. The velcro is sturdy and the 3 pizza toppings (ours has mushrooms, assorted veggies, and pepperoni) look great and stick easily to the pizza. Great purchase for wooden play food.

Noble

Verdict

The Pizza Party Wooden Play Food set from Melissa & Doug opens new horizons for kids’ imagination. Apart from featuring probably the most delicious food for kids, it comes with all the necessary tools for realistic games of pretend. The set is suitable for both boys and girls, as well as mixed groups of children. However, kids can’t learn anything new.

Pros
  • Convenient storage box.
  • Natural materials.
  • Highly durable.
  • Full kit for extensive games of pretend.
Cons
  • No educational purpose.
  • Average quality.
  • Heavy.

Summing Up

There are plenty of cheap toys under 20 dollars that can be both educational and entertaining. Though some may consider them of low quality, in reality, they are durable. It’s a great opportunity to save some money while cheering your toddler up. Apart from that, a child can develop basic skills like counting, sorting, numbering, and many others.

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