Small Toys for Small Spaces – Tot Gift Guide
For minimalists, neat freaks, or families living in small spaces, we’ve compiled a list of our most popular space saving toys. From a double sided play rug to a balance board that can also be a slide, bridge, step stool, ramp and lounger; gift-giving just got a whole lot easier.
Play-based learning is one of the best ways for your child to work on their cognitive and physical development.
While this type of play can take place pretty much anytime and anywhere, children do need a bit of space to help them move, groove, try, fail, build, knock, and more!
If you’re a parent in a small space or don’t cope well with clutter, this can be a bit of a problem. Don’t fret though, there are plenty of brands out there who have mastered the art of compact, multi-functional and easy-to-pack-away products.
In this guide, we’ll go over:
- What to look for in a toy
- Chemicals to avoid in kids toys
- The best toys for small spaces
Scroll down to learn more!
What to look for in a toy
Since we’re the type of parents who like to buy once, buy right, we like to seek out toys that are first for foremost non-toxic (more on this soon!), durable, educational and if possible multi-functional.
If you’re shopping for a small space, you’re also going to want something that comes with a sturdy storage container, can be packed away or easily passed on to family and friends.
Chemicals to avoid in kids toys
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Test. This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals we avoid.
When it comes to toys, we’re extra mindful to avoid the below chemicals because so many pieces tend to end up in little mouths!
PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl, is an incredibly toxic chemical that is harmful to our bodies and to the environment right from the production phase through to disposal. It contains additives like phthalates, lead, cadmium, organotin that are quite toxic and have been linked to asthma, allergies, reproductive problems and cancer.
Many phthalates are known endocrine disruptors associated with asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
BPA + BPS (bisphenols)
Bisphenols mimic the hormone estrogen and have been linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, female infertility, and obesity. BPA is an especially dangerous endocrine disruptor since even small amounts of this chemical have been shown to cause serious reproductive damage, especially when the exposure occurs in utero.
Lead and other heavy metals
Exposure to heavy metals can cause nerve damage, learning and behavioral problems, reproductive damage and irreversible brain damage.
Best Toys For Small Spaces
Whether you’re looking for a Christmas present or birthday gift, the best toys for small spaces are things like:
- Double sided play rug
- Indoor mini balance beam & stepping game
- Play table & chairs set
- Balance board
- Magnetic building set
- Magnetic board game tins
- Compact train set
- Interactive learn a language book
- Dustless chalk activity sets
- Silicone rainbow stacker
- Felt indoor camping play set
- Compact pinball machine
- Lacing toy set
- Wooden tool set & case
- Little explorer’s case
- Wooden dentist set
- Small dolls
- Non-toxic play dough
- Baking set
- Craft box sets
- Yoga Memory Card Game
Scroll down to see the toys we’ve pulled for each of these!
The Ruggish Double Sided Play Rug offers a fun and engaging map on one side as well as a stylish print on the other. Easy to flip over, it’s JUST the thing you need if you’re sharing your living room with your tot!
Available in more prints and colors
When it comes to indoor active play, Lily & River have mastered the art with their fun and challenging balance beam and little steps! Wonderful for helping kids learn how to balance while thinking critically, they can even be brought outside on dry days.
Looking for a compact dollhouse? We’ve got you! While the Babai Dollhouse has enough space for your child to engage in some serious imaginative play (while honing their hand-eye coordination), it comes in three sizes that can actually be packed flat when not in use.
Ranging from $41.99 to $44.99
Available in more colors and sizes
Another great way to designate a play space is by providing a play table and chair set like this modern and minimalist one from Babai.
Ranging from $36.99 to $39.99
Available in more colors
Available with felt backing for use on hard floors or raw for use on carpet, the Wobbel is a toy that is the definiton of multi-functional. Kids love using it: to balance, to rock, as a lounger, as a bridge, as a slide, as a step stool, as a tunnel, as a ramp, and even for stretching/yoga!
Designed to encourage open-ended play and spark creativity, Clixo’s magnetic sets combine the magic of origami with the fun of classic building blocks. Available in a range of different size sets, when unassembled, they pack away nice and small!
Available in more colors and sizes
When it comes to toys for small spaces, magnets are going to be a common theme!
Next on our list of epic toys are the Magnetic Fun & Games tins from Floss & Rock! Featuring four games in one box, they are fun at home and on-the-go.
For lovers of things that go, the Tender Leaf Toys compact Treetops Train Set is a great way to learn the concept of building tracks, setting a scene, speeding up, slowing down, taking turns and more.
While it would be totally epic to have the space for a regular size pinball machine, the PlanToys Pinball set takes the game further by allowing kids to design and create their own board making it ideal for fine motor skill and cognitive development.
If you’ve been thinking of ways to teach your child either Spanish or Chinese, the interactive Habbi Habbi books are for you!
Designed for kids age 3 to 10, the included reading wand offers interactive learning without a screen. The best part: yes, there’s a headphone jack.
Consisting of five reusable boards, a pack of dustless chalk and storage bag, the Jaq jaq Bird Selfie Boards are a fun way for your tot to get creative while developing a sense of self!
Available in more themes
The Dena Rainbow is a toy babies, toddlers, big kids, teens and even adults will want to play with! Fun to stack, nest or arrange in a variety of shapes, it stores as a neat (and pretty) rainbow when not in use.
Available in more colors and sizes
The Domestic Objects felt Indoor Camping Set is fun for playing make believe, but also great for hand-eye coordination. Designed with a magnetic rod and fish, kids can even practice catching dinner!
The development of fine motor skills is important because it’s going to aid in your child being able to adopt the correct pencil grip, button their jacket, tie their shoe laces and more.
Toys like the Babai Lacing Set is a great way to strengthen the muscles and ligaments needed to perform tiny tasks. The best part: the tray allows your tot to create a spectacular scene that can then be a backdrop for imaginative play!
The adorable Wooden Tool Set from Moulin Roty is a wonderful set for imaginary role play. The rounded tools are easy for little hands to grasp and are carefully held in place with Velcro and latches in a beautifully illustrated case featuring Jeanne Goose and Sylvain Rabbit, so it’s ready to carry anywhere!
Includes 9 pieces
Living room and backyard adventures just got even better thanks to the Moulin Roty Explorer’s Case! Designed with everything your tot needs to spot birds, track their directions and even collect treasures, the handy storage box makes it a small-space favorite.
The PlanToys Dentist Set encourages children to learn and practice good oral care while honing their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Made from renewable rubber wood, the set includes 4 basic dental tools, 1 toothbrush, 1 set of teeth with 3 spare teeth and 1 doctor case.
Imaginative play just got even cuter thanks to Maileg. This brand makes the CUTEST tiny worlds for mice and bunnies to live in!
Available in more colors
As lovers of being able to add a personal touch to a gift, we could not be more excited about the personalized name mats from Dough Parlour!
These sets include three tubs of non-toxic scented play dough, a rolling pin and double sided mat!
Housed in a sturdy, vintage-look cardboard carrying case, the Moulin Roty L’atelier de Patisserie Baking Set comes with everything a child needs to get baking. The set includes a French-style apron, an oven mitt, rolling pin, cookie cutters, stainless steel cake tins and much more.
This cute little upright piano will fit into the smallest of spaces and kids will delight in in making music. Featuring 18 keys, the playful piano is a great way to introduce music to mini maestros.
Keep little hands busy, while letting their creativity run wild wherever you go with Kid Made Activity & Craft Kits. The handy all-in-one kit lets your little one create countless handmade crafts to use as gifts or home decor. And the best thing about these kits is that they can be packed neatly away at the end!
Great for helping kids practice mindfulness, the Yoga Memory card Game from Mindful & Co Kids features beautiful illustrations of different yoga poses as well as a sturdy storage box.
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