Developmental benefits are always a priority when purchasing toys for toddlers, and stacking toys offer opportunities for small and gross motor development, focus improvement, color identification, and sorting skills. There are plenty of picks available in all shapes and sizes, which can leave parents wondering how sets actually stack up and which ones are best. We’ve put together a guide to the most important features in stacking toys for your tot, as well as a list of nine of the best stacking toys for your toddler’s needs — check it out!

Our Top Picks

Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo

Best Overall

Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo

Grimm's 6-Piece Rainbow Stacker

Upgrade Choice

Grimm's 6-Piece Rainbow Stacker

Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys

Best Budget Buy

Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys

How to Pick the Best Stacking Toys

1. Recommended Age

When purchasing toys, games, and gear for your kiddo, it’s essential to be aware of age recommendations. It’s a good way to be sure that the item you’ve chosen will be one they can use safely and effectively. It’s also often a metric of how enjoyable a pick will be to a child, as items that are too juvenile may seem boring while those that are too advanced may seem complex and frustrating. When it comes to stacking toys, following age recommendations helps to make sure that toys are geared toward the developmental needs of toddlers and that no choking hazards are present.

2. Color

A variety of bright colors are important for toddlers, who are learning to identify and distinguish between colors. Stacking toys are often quite colorful, creating a contrast between pieces that makes it easier for toddlers to establish patterns and allowing the toy to pull double duty as a color-teaching tool. While it’s not essential that a stacking toy have every color of the rainbow, multi-colored picks can help teach color and pattern identification and improve focus.

3. Theme

For kids who have a favorite thing, whether it’s unicorns, dinosaurs, or something in between, finding toys that give representation to their favorite stuff can make those picks fast favorites. Encouraging that love is also an early way to validate their self-expression of identity. Themes can inspire creativity and story-telling, and may mean that the stacking toy also sees use in creative pretend play. The stacking boats and colorful rainbow on our list are both examples of themed stacking toys that could easily be used by toddlers while pretending.

4. Material

Like many toys for toddlers, stacking toys can be made from several materials. Some of the most popular, durable, and safe stacking toys available for purchase are made from finished wood or non-toxic plastic, with a smaller number of equally safe toys made from stuffed cloth. It’s important to only buy toys that are made for kids — decorative stacking toys made for adults may be too small, posing choking hazards — and use kid-safe materials, avoiding paints and finishes that shouldn’t be near their skin, eyes, or mouths.

5. Size

Stacking toys can come in large and small sizes, and we don’t have to remind you of the impact that extra large toys can have on the toy box and play room. While some picks are worth the space they take up because they double as decor, very small stacking toys intended to be entertaining to older children and adults aren’t appropriate for children under three because of the potential choking hazard they pose. Being aware of a toy’s size can help you decide if it’s appropriate for your child and their play space.

6. Good For Bath Time

Many of the most popular stacking toys for toddlers are made out of plastic, which means they’re perfectly suitable for play during bath time. Playing in the bath is a creative sensory experience that’s beneficial for toddlers, and toys that can be brought into the tub without taking damage pull double duty when it comes to providing entertainment and developmentally beneficial stimulation. Not all plastic stacking toys are automatically ideal for the bathtub, as some have the ability to take on water or develop mold or mildew, so make sure to read the instructions rather than assume.

The Winners

#1

Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo

Editor's Choice

At first glance, it’s easy to wonder just how the ridged half-orbs that comprise this towering toy stay so securely balanced despite their precarious appearance. Physics plays a role in the functionality of this toy’s unique design, and the colorful, easy-to-grip pieces in their Tobbles Neo from Fat Brain Toys can be spun and wobbled to their heart’s content. It’s a toy that inspires creativity and can encourage the development of small motor skills like grasping, placing, spinning, and balancing. It also features multiple colors and textures, offering a sensory engagement experience for toddlers and creating a teaching opportunity for parents.

Recommended age: 6 months +
Color: Rainbow
Theme: None
Material: Plastic
Size: 5.9″ x 5.1″ x 11″
Good for bath time: Yes

#2

Grimm's 6-Piece Rainbow Stacker

Upgrade Choice

Toddler minds run wild with creative possibilities when presented with stacking toys like this Montessori-friendly rainbow, which has pieces that can be repurposed many ways during play. The six piece Grimm’s 6-Piece Rainbow Stacker features arced wooden pieces that form a colorful rainbow in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. When they’re not being stacked, they can also double as arches and bridges in pretend towns, rocking doll cradles for smaller toys, houses, caves, or whatever is inspired by your toddler’s creative play. When it’s not in use, this sweet rainbow looks great on display on a shelf or dresser top, especially in a rainbow-themed bedroom, nursery, or playroom.

Recommended age: 1 year
Color: Rainbow
Theme: Rainbow
Material: Wood
Size: 6.75″ x 3.6″ x 2.5″
Good for bath time: No

#3

Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys

Best Budget Buy / Best for Bath

Bathtime play is full of sensory engagement opportunities for toddlers, and many plastic stacking toys make a great addition — they transition in and out of water easily. These colorful stacking boats are specifically designed for use during water play, so they’re lots of fun in the tub, sink, or kiddie pool. They feature drain holes that create a mesmerizing rainfall effect when your toddler scoops water and allows it to pour out of the cup. The Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys is a budget-friendly set of five boats fun for kids to use during creative play, as well, inspiring storytelling opportunities in and out of the water.

Recommended age: 9 months +
Color: Green, Blue, Purple, Orange
Theme: Boats
Material: Plastic
Size: 3.9″ x 3.9″ x 3.9″
Good for bath time: Yes

#4

Green Toys Stacking Cups

Best for Eco Friendly

When toys are made out of eco-friendly 100% recycled plastic and use minimal recyclable packaging, you can feel good about making a choice that minimizes environmental impact. That’s the case with these green, blue, and yellow wide-lipped Stacking Cups from Green Toys, which are also dishwasher safe and safe for contact with food and drink. The graduated stackers are just the right size for toddler hands, and are great for building your tot’s small motor skills. They’re a perfect bath toy for practicing pouring and filling, and they also make a fun accompaniment to sandbox play, letting kids pour and sculpt sand into mounds.

Recommended age: 6 months – 5 years
Color: Purple, blue, green
Theme: Cups
Material: Recycled plastic
Size: 5.8″ x 5″ x 8.2″
Good for bath time: Yes

#5

PlanToys Stacking Rocket

Your toddler will be blasting off on a developmental journey when they play with the colorful PlanToys Stacking Rocket, which is made out of natural wood and soft rubberwood that’s safe and comfortable for little hands. Kids will learn to identify colors and shapes as they stack the rounded and shaped pieces, which neatly nest inside one another to form the rocket’s shape. The set even features an astronaut figure, which fits into the purple section of the rocket, inspiring additional creative play. The bright hues of the stacking pieces are created with non-toxic, water-based dyes that are safe for kids and won’t rub off on hands,

Recommended age: 18+ months
Color: Orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, natural wood
Theme: Rocket
Material: Wood, rubberwood
Size: 4.6″ x 4.6″ x 7″
Good for bath time: No

#6

Manhattan Toy Boom Shock-A-Locka

Best for unique design

There’s a lot of variety available when it comes to choosing stacking toys for your toddler, and providing diverse styles can offer unique developmental boosts. The Manhattan Toy Boom Shock-A-Locka wooden stacker from goes a step beyond typical graduated stacking toys, instead creating a puzzle for kids to master. The 5 piece puzzle is pretty forgiving, with the upper arches and circular pieces able to be used interchangeably, but it encourages the use of spatial reasoning, critical thinking, and hand-eye coordination. It’s a great addition to their collection around one year, when they’ll be able to safely handle the dowel base and master the arrangement of the pieces.

Recommended age: 1 year +
Color: Blue, orange, green, natural wood
Theme: Abstract shapes
Material: Wood
Size: 6.3″ x 10.3″ x 8″
Good for bath time: No

#7

Melissa & Doug Match & Build Soft Blocks

Building blocks, especially those with features like numbers and colors, are one of the most well-rounded toys a child can have. Picks like these soft Match & Build Soft Blocks from the experts at Melissa & Doug can be used as stacking toys, in creative play, while building structures, and as teaching tools. These machine-washable blocks feature bright jewel tones that engage toddler senses as well as images of numbers from 1 – 10, animals, plants, vehicles, and houses to identify and learn about. Because this block set is soft, there’s no flat edges or pointed corners, and tossing them around as toddlers are wont to do causes little impact.

Recommended age: 9 months +
Color: Rainbow
Theme: Nature, vehicles, counting, colors
Material: Washable fabric
Size: 14″ x 11″ x 4″
Good for bath time: No

#8

Infantino Funny Faces Ring Stacker

Most Colorful Stacking Rings Toy

Stacking rings or “donuts” are a classic toy for toddlers, as their large, curved design makes them easy for small hands to grasp and place. The Infantino Funny Faces Ring Stacker is safe at six months, and the brightly-colored plastic rings feature cheerful faces to greet your child during play. The faces aren’t just cute, though, they help toddlers to organize, arrange, and place the rings so that they sit correctly on their stacking peg. When all the rings have been placed on the peg, toddlers can top the tower with a high-contrast black and white polka-dotted ball, and wobble the rocking base to experiment with balance.

Recommended age: 6 months +
Color: Rainbow
Theme: Rings
Material: Plastic
Size: 10.1″ x 5.5″ x 8.2″
Good for bath time: Yes

#9

PlanToys Stacking Tree

Best wooden stacking toy

We love how seriously PlanToys takes their responsibility to mother Earth — their Stacking Tree are manufactured with wood from rubber trees which are no longer functional providers of latex, and they reduce waste and minimize energy use wherever possible when producing products. It’s fitting, then, that they’ve created this verdant tree stacker, which doubles as a puzzle that’s great for older toddlers. The pieces are a bit smaller, and the fit a little more detailed, but the graduation in color from dark to light green helps kids to understand the piece placement required in order to complete the tree design. It also makes an effective addition to their imaginative play when they’re not stacking, fitting right into their pretend landscapes.

Recommended age: 2 – 4 years
Color: Green, natural wood
Theme: Tree
Material: Wood
Size: 4.5″ x 9.1″ x 4.9″
Good for bath time: No

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for Stacking Toys

DIY Stacking Toys

Remember all those little round plastic to-go containers you’ve been saving to reuse? Christine at Normal Life Mom has an awesome idea — let your little turn them into DIY stacking toys. Extra bonus, they’re out of your cupboard!

DIY Donut Stacker

We really love this DIY donut stacker design featured by Jen at Tatertots & Jello. It would make a great addition to a toddler birthday party with a toy theme, especially if colorful frosted donuts were used.

DIY Fabric Stackable rings

For parents who know their way around a needle and thread, this fabric stacking ring sewing project from Agnes at SheKnows is an extra sweet gift for your little one that you can customize to match their nursery bedding or favorite colors.

Quick Decision

Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo – Best Overall
Combines physics concepts and bright colors to create a toy that boosts hand-eye coordination and encourages the development of multiple fine motor skills like grasping, placing, spinning, and balancing

Grimm’s 6-Piece Rainbow Stacker – Upgrade Choice
A classic Montessori-style toy with a cute aesthetic and multiple uses and motor skill benefits for toddlers.

Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys – Best Budget Buy
Perfect for water play and have a rainfall feature that engages kids; they’re also excellent for inspiring imaginative playtime.

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Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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