Whether your kid is just learning to walk (and trip and climb and fall), or you’re in the midst of the threenager phase, parenting a toddler is no easy feat. While we can’t promise that the items below will keep your kiddo from scaling the cabinets or throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, we do think that they make parenting just a little bit easier (and more fun). Here, 22 random-but-useful products for anyone with a toddler at home.
24 Random-but-Useful Finds That Make Caring for a Toddler (Much) Less Chaotic
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How We Chose Our Favorite Toddler Products
We chatted with PureWow editors and parents across the country to get their tried-and-tested recommendations for products that really made a difference in their (and their kids’ lives). We cross-checked them against reviews online before sharing them with you here.
Best for Beach Days
It won a 2022 Happy Kid Award for a reason: This little gadget makes putting sunscreen on a squirmy kid so much easier. You simply fill it with your preferred SPF and roll it on their body, rubbing as you go. Plus, it’s just the right size—100 ml—that you can fill it and stuff it in your carry-on without getting the shakedown from TSA.
Best Bath Time Distraction
The kid who never wants to take a bath will have a change of heart after seeing this wall-mounted bubble “ice cream” maker. Add water and a squirt of bubble bath to the top, then let your toddler pull the handle and fill cones with swirls of a bubbly foam. It’s the ideal distraction to keep ‘em entertained as you shampoo their hair.
Best for Transitioning from Bottles to Cups
After months of bottles, kids are conditioned to knock back a drink to sip it…and either spill everywhere or hurl their sippy cups in frustration. These cups feature a weighted straw to help them get every last drop as they master their angles. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe and comes with a straw brush for easy (and thorough) cleaning.
Best Fix for Keeping Suds Out of Eyes
You’re downstairs making dinner when you hear a piercing scream from upstairs. Did your kid fall down? Accidentally flush their precious lovey down the toilet? Nope, that was just the sound of a little bit of shampoo getting in their eye. Minimize the bath time drama with this shampoo hat. Yes, it looks ridiculous, but it will keep those soap suds away from your child’s eyes long enough for you to actually scrub their scalp clean.
Easiest Way to Sooth Rashes
Parents raved to us about how easy it is to apply this sprayable diaper rash reliever, which spares you from rubbing in creams or dealing with that white residue that gets on, well, everything. It’s sting-free, so toddlers won’t mind it, and it removes diaper rash-causing bacteria from inflamed areas, according to the brand.
Best Household Helper
Speaking of washing hands, if you want to avoid having to carry your toddler up to the sink altogether then you’re going to need a stepping stool. Not only will this help your kid wash hands, brush teeth and even climb up to the potty, but it can also be used as a toy (it’s a tunnel! A house! A table for Teddy!).
Most Innovative Kids’ Toothpaste
This toothpaste changes color (from blue to pink) after two minutes of brushing, letting kids know when they’re just about done scrubbing. And in testing the paste, Crest found it inspired little ones to brush twice as long as before. Can we get a hallelujah?
Best Transitional Chair
OK, so you really needed this when your kid was born, but if you’re thinking of having another, this high chair is a worthwhile investment. It seamlessly adjusts from a newborn rocker to a high chair to a kid's chair, growing with your child (and able to hold up to 220 pounds, should you need a spot to rest too).
Best Snack Container
“I’m never going to be one of those parents that just hands their kids snacks all day,” you said when your babe was just a newborn. Fast forward to the toddler years and whenever you need to find your kid, all you have to do is follow the trail of Goldfish. Look, it’s fine—snacks keep your toddler busy and calm. Especially when they’re served in this handy spill-proof container with soft flaps for easy access. More reasons to love this snack catcher: It fits into the car or stroller and is also dish-washer safe.
Best for Sick Days
11. Boogie Wipes
We could write a love letter to these saline-soaked wipes (we did, in fact). Enriched with vitamin E, chamomile and aloe, they’re soothing and repairing while being sturdy enough for your kid to wipe their own nose (toddlers want to do everything themselves, haven’t you heard?). Stock up before cold season starts.
Best-Kept Secret to Sleeping Through the Night
What the heck’s a Slumberpod, you ask? It’s basically a blackout privacy pod that fits atop a crib, toddler mattress or pack ‘n play—removing 90 percent of light, per the manufacturers—and it’s a godsend for parents of kids who wake up throughout the night. The darkness creates a cocooning environment that helps babies and toddlers stay asleep, so you can catch some zzz’s too.
Most Crowd-Pleasing Toy
Yes, they’re pricey. But a 32-piece Magna-Tile set is well worth the investment. Although the box says ages three and up, we’ve seen kids as young as nine months explore and build with these magical magnetic blocks. Watch in awe as your toddler creates boxes, houses, castles, cars and more. The best part is that these tiles will stay in the toy rotation for years, and help develop math, tactile and spatial skills to boot.
Best Travel Toy
Waiting with a hangry toddler at a restaurant? Taxiing at the airport? Need 5 minutes to yourself? Hand your child one of these reusable doodle boards. The attached stylus creates colorful lines on the 10-inch screen, and whenever your child is ready to make something new, they can simply press the erase button and the board will be wiped clean in a flash. (We’ll admit that our toddler preferred erasing to drawing, but the board kept him entertained either way.) And if your budding Picasso wants to save her scribbles, there’s also a lock button to keep her fire truck (or is it a dog? An ice cream cone?) drawing in place. A lightweight and imaginative toy that’s infinitely easier than keeping crayons and paper in your bag, not to mention ideal for the preschooler years when your kid starts practicing her letters and numbers.
Most Practical for On-the-Go Kids
15. Non-Slip Socks
Why do they make baby socks with grips when, well, babies can’t walk? Toddlers are the ones who really need the extra hold on their feet (because, um, they fall a lot) but finding socks for them with grips can be tricky. That’s why we love these non-slip socks—they come in adorable designs and feature that all-important grip on the bottom.
Chicest Way to Toddler-Proof Cabinets
You thought baby-proofing was a big deal? Well, now your toddler knows exactly where to find the good stuff (you know, like the laundry detergent and the cookies). Up your child-proofing game with a set of magnetic child locks. Cleverly placed inside the cabinet door keeps locks out of sight (and immune to child tampering) and the use of adhesive tape means no damage done to your kitchen. Easy peasy.
Most Satisfying Way to Clean Up
The thing nobody ever tells you about parenting: Your car will never be the same. Ditto for your couch, and well, any surface that can be covered in crumbs. Make cleanup easy on yourself with this powerful car vac, which our editors love for its suction power, compact size (so it can squeeze in anywhere) and affordability.
Best Mess-Free Coloring Toy
Melissa & Doug
And you thought watching 40 minutes of CoComelon was bad…try sitting in a car with a toddler for that amount of time. When you need a screen-free way to keep your kid entertained, moms swear by these water reveal pads. Here’s how they work: Each book comes with four reusable white pages that include simple line drawings when dry, then are filled with color when wet. They’re portable, mess-free and fun.
Road Trip Must-Have
OK but let’s say you need something to keep your kid occupied for longer than a drive to the beach. When one PureWow mom recently embarked on a Florida to NYC road trip with her toddler, she relied on this set of dry erase markers and lap desk to keep our daughter entertained. “The surface is a wipeable dry erase board and it can hold all of her toys within easy reach—tablet included, because let’s be real, it’s crucial on long hauls.”
For our inaugural Happy Kid Awards, our editor-in-chief tested nearly a dozen detanglers to tame her kids’ knots and one far outshone the rest. It helped brushes glide through hair without tearing (or igniting protests from kids) and had a transporting, light coconut scent. To this day, it’s the brand we swear by.
Most Transformative Hair Tool
At first glance, Scrunchmiez seems like just a scrunchie, but it’s so much more than that. Pull a cord, and the scrunchie scrunches up to turn into a small stuffy, complete with a loop for hanging on your backpack. Which also comes in handy if your kid struggles with separation anxiety—having a little buddy with them at school can make the dropoff goodbyes just a little bit smoother.
Best Pack ‘N’ Play Accessory
You take the pack ‘n’ play with you everywhere, but come naptime (or bedtime), your kid just doesn’t sleep as well in it. Or at all. We hear you, and that’s why when our VP of branded content tipped us off to this foldable mattress topper designed specifically for pack ‘n’ plays, we took note. It’s made of breathable bamboo, and it’s just cushy enough to feel like their mattress at home.
Fastest Relief for Bug Bites
Bug bites are frustrating at any age, so consider this a gift for your whole family: These clear stickers are applied right to the bite, providing instant relief from that itchy, stingy feeling. Aloe and witch hazel are the secret behind the soothing sensation, and they work so well they've become a summertime staple for some of our editors.
Slim as a portable changing pad—and every bit as useful, especially as your kid becomes more independent. This clutch houses three eco-friendly stick-on placemats, two sets of plant-based, toddler-sized utensils, and four compostable splat mats for capturing any messes under your child's chair. Armed with this pack, you don't have to worry whether the restaurant—or grandma—has kid-friendly gear on hand...or what messes you'll leave in your wake, post-meal.
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Why You Should Trust Us
Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, family, culture and identity. In her writing, she seeks to inspire, illuminate and inform.
Candace Davison is PureWow’s vice president of editorial, overseeing food, home and major franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. Davison has published multiple cookbooks, and her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Cosmo, Esquire and Delish, among other publications.
PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.