It seems like forever ago I wrote out my list of baby registry must haves (because it was!). Now that I’ve been raising a toddler, it seems only only right that I follow up with my list of Toddler must haves.
These are some items that have either worked for us or that I can’t live without. However, when it comes to toddlers there are a million items in any one category. I’m usually a less-is-more person so I’m sure there are plenty of items and options out there I haven’t included or explored. Use this list as a starting point to manage the overwhelm.
We’re still using the stroller we bought for Valentina before she was born and it has held up wonderfully on the city streets. I would 1000% recommend it to anyone. I’ve gotten many compliments on it over the years and I’m a huge fan of the rose gold. This is the exact stroller we bought.
Valentina graduated from her infant car seat at around 18 months (we worked with a car seat consultant to not only determine the right car seats for us but also to know when to switch out to a toddler car seat. Based on her recommendation, we ended up with the Clek Foonf. It’s heavy and stays in the car but it’s the safest option on the market and will last her until she’s about 7 years old. I’m not kidding.
With a toddler I found I had different needs for a diaper bag than I did for an infant. After an extensive search I settled on this one by 7 AM Enfant and I love it. Keep in mind, I only have one child. This probably wouldn’t work for a toddler and an infant or more than one child due to the size.
For easy travel, we’re still using and love a lightweight our compact stroller because it easily folds with one hand and can easily be stored in the overhead of an airplane. We also use it for trips back and forth to daycare and it has held up well.
I truly feel like I tried ALL the cups and these are the ones that have worked well for us:
As she’s gotten older, Valentina has liked experimenting with different cups but I typically use one cup for one purpose (i.e. smoothie, water, milk. Also, none of these cups leak!
For tableware, I bought this cute Munchkin set which included everything – two plates, a bowl, a cup, fork, knife and spoon. A couple of these and you’re good to go!
Booster Seat/ High Chair
We started with a Lalo High Chair because we loved the look of it, however, as soon as Valentina started resisting the chair we got rid of it because it took up a lot of space. If I had to do it again, I would have bought this high chair which lasts through toddlerhood. I may still get it because it’s certainly not too late.
I also think it’s good idea to have a booster seat. We like this booster seat which we used in lieu of a high chair many times since she was an infant. It firmly straps to any dining or kitchen chair and is easy to clean.
On the Go
If you travel to the beach or the pool frequently, this pop and sit chair was a lifesaver for us last Summer and we plan to use it as long as she fits.
I’m also a big fan of this Bento Box for snacks and meals. We send it to daycare and also take it on flights. Whenever we won’t have access to a refrigerator, I use this freezable lunch box to keep everything cold. It fits the Bento Box linked above perfectly. I still use this Thermos container for hot food.
I’m partial to a thick, good-quality hooded towel like the ones from Pottery Barn.
After meeting with our pediatric allergist, we switched up our bath products. We use baby Dove Sensitive skin body wash and this after-bath moisturizer for sensitive skin.
Bedtime for Toddlers
We lived in these bamboo sleep sacks for as long as we could. They’re soft, roomy and kept Valentina warm but not too hot. Sadly, Valentina gave them up right around 2 years old so we moved on to the toddler blanket by the same brand.
We’ve been using this sound machine since Valentina was a baby. It plays lullabies, white noise and has a built-in ok to wake clock that we started using when Valentina was 16 months. You can program it to turn on and off at designated times. It packs easily so we take it with us when we travel.
We kept Valentina in her mini crib as long as possible and then transitioned to Bloom Alma Papa crib which eventually converts to a toddler bed.
Not necessarily a toddler must have but at some point your toddler will show interest in a pillow. You’ll know when it’s the right time to introduce one. Usually when they ask, transition to a bed or if they start making a pillow out of stuffies or comfort items in the crib. We got the Avocado non-toxic toddler pillow and pillowcase for Valentina’s first pillow and she loves it and having her own pillow.
This is so individual and inevitably kids require a lot of clothes so here are some staples I recommend:
For the snow: A snow suit or snow bibs for a ski trip or just playing in the snow. Valentina wore these snow boots all winter – snow or no snow. They’re comfortable and easy to walk in and they kept her feet toasty warm.
If you live in a cold climate, buy the warmest coat you can. I loved this winter coat from Patagonia. It runs big and lasted us two seasons which is a win in my book!
This winter hat was on repeat all Winter. It’s too cute and so on trend.
Gloves: I have tried every glove on the market and can’t find a single pair that stay on her hands. If you have recommendations, please share!
For the sun: What we used for Valentina as an infant worked so well for us, I ended up re-buying it all in toddler sizes. The cutest rash guard swimwear, UPF 50+ adjustable sun hat and 100% UV protection sunglasses. Sunscreen.
Shoes: There are a million shoes for toddlers out there. So far, I’ve liked Ugg, Ten Little and Native for everyday shoes.
For ballet class: Also, not a toddler must have but you may find this helpful or a toddler girl in ballet class. I scoured the Internet to find a leotard with snaps on the bottom (this is key if you have a child who is potty trained) so she doesn’t have to pull the whole thing off to use the bathroom.
These ballet tights are soft and durable and this little dance skirt is not only precious, it should fit for a couple of years.
I added this twist-front ballerina sweater but Valentina refuses to wear it.
Our large and very chic play mat similar to this one is still in use. It makes it easy to clean up spills and keeps toys contained in one area.
Toys for Toddlers
There’s no end to the amount of toddler toys one can own and a list of toddler must haves wouldn’t be complete without a few ideas.
Some winners in our house:
- Play kitchen (we have this play kitchen which is perfect for a young toddler, but we’ll be ready to upgrade soon)
- Stuffies especially beanie babies
- Anything by Melissa & Doug
- Lovevery block set
- Her first doll
- Duplo legos
- Paint/ crayons/ stickers (we like these paint sticks)
- Books (just about anything but the Lovevery books and Llama Llama series are long-time favorites)
- Toddler Table
- Toddler-friendly bookshelves
- Scooter and helmet
Here’s a short list of toddler must haves potty training when you’re ready:
- Travel potty and trainer seat (this is 2-in-1) + disposable liners
- 3-in-1 toddler potty
- Stand alone toddler potty (we had two toddler potties because we needed one in a separate space where there was no bathroom near
- Squatty potty
- Toddler underwear (these are cute, 100% cotton and also modest – I’ve seen some skimpy toddler underwear out there! ) Size up in these.
- Waterproof crib mattress protector for night/nap training
If you love bows (Valentina is obsessed), these toddler bows are the best quality, come in lots of colors and they stay put.
What did I miss? Tell me what are the toddler must haves or can’t-live-without items on your list.