As a kid, a ball can be one of the first toys you're ever introduced to. These classic playtime favourites can be used outside and in, whether you're playing sports, in a ball pit or using balls for a game.
When your child moves into their toddler age, they can start playing with more interesting toys that will test their development throughout playtime. Using balls as a part of this learning is a great, flexible way to teach them about spatial and physical awareness.
We've gone through and found the best toys with balls for toddlers on the market right now. From basketballs and footballs to ball pits and layered ball toys, these are all great options with young children in mind.
What toys should I be getting my toddler?
It can be overwhelming to know which toys are the best for your child. With such a range to choose from - you've got playhouses, dolls, sports activities, building blocks, themed toys, audio and visual learning toys - as a parent it's hard to know where to begin.
The beautiful thing about keeping it simple with classic and traditional toys is that these can actually be some of the most efficient, cost-effective and helpful in early learning.
As a guide, toddler toys are those which are aimed at children from 1-3 years of age. You can get toys for boys and girls but these aren't necessary for early learning. They're slightly more developed and complex than baby toys, but they're not as complicated as toys for older children. In this toddler age, your child is curious about bright colours and understanding more effect-and-response toys, meaning they're looking more into the reaction of the toys. Pop-up toys, musical toys and visual effects are all great for learning at this point.
Are balls a good choice for toddlers?
Balls are a great choice for children of any age but can also depend on size, weight and features. The perfect thing about working with balls as toys are that they're so simple and yet so effective. Whether you're teaching physically through throwing and catching or have a ball toy with lots of different options, there is actually a lot more to a ball than you first think.
We've hunted down the best balls for toddlers that you can get to support your child's learning, development and playtime.
The best balls for toddlers UK 2021
Best balls for toddlers and babies
The good thing about these multi-textured sensory soft balls is that you can start using them when your children are newborn and they will last well into their toddler years. With six different soft shapes, each ball has a unique feel and colour to them, making playtime exciting and raising your child's curiosity. They are a great set of balls to start with, before you move onto wooden toys or more complicated structures.
Ages: 0+ months
Review: "Nice little set of balls. All different size and shape/texture. Ours look a little differently than on the pictures in terms of colours and shape but it shouldn't matter really, they do the job just as well. Our nearly 6 month old really likes them, especially the one with the spikes that's actually really good for teething. No strong smell out from the box, but washing them first is recommended. They look pretty indestructible too, all of them being soft rubbery material."
Best toddler ball game that will make you laugh
Say hello to an exciting and motorised ball game. This Chuckle Ball toddler game is perfect for building up motor skills and has lots of features to play with as well as having silly audio sounds to accompany the toy and entertain your toddler. The way it works is by vibrating to make the ball go in all directions, making it an exciting and hilarious game to play with.
Age: 18+ months
Review: "My own daughters had this chuckle ball and yes it’s ultra annoying after half an hour but the fun and laughter the girls had was priceless. I got one for my grandson when he was a few months old and for a couple of weeks he just held it which made the whole of his body shake which he thought hilarious - as we all did. Two years down the line he smiles and starts to laugh before he even switches it on. A cheap and cheerful way to keep little ones amused for life!"
Best basketball game for toddlers
Looking to get your toddler involved in basketball? This kidoola Basketball set is perfect for bath time and works really well to teach your child physical games like throwing and catching. It has grips on the back of the hoop that you can attach easily to walls and surfaces as well as having three balls.
Age: 2+ years
Review: "Bought this for a gift for my son and he loves it, as do I. He plays this in the bath, practising his hand eye coordination and having fun. I will be buying one for my nephew’s forthcoming birthday. Additional info, the balls are made of plastic so a little hard at present for my son but think it won’t be an issue as he gets older."
Best sports ball set for toddlers
Staying on the sports activities, this set of four sports balls are great for toddlers, especially in the summer for outside play. If you're a family who loves their exercise and sports then this is a great option. The balls are smaller and lighter than average sized sports balls so will be easy for your toddler to hold, coming in with all the classics: a playground ball, basketball, rugby ball, and football.
Also comes in a rainbow set if you want something more bright and colourful.
Ages: 6 months - 5 years
Review: "These balls are not too small and not too big. They are the perfect size for a toddler's hands. They are lightweight and durable. They come with a pump to inflate them which takes about a minute to do so. That is really helpful because if you want to deflate them for some reason you can just pop the pump in the ball and it will deflate easily. A happy toddler! Totally recommended it."
Best multi-layered ball game for toddlers
There's lot to focus on with this Ucradle ball drop. With five layers to play with and spaces for the balls to drop down this ball game. Even better, each ball rattles with smaller balls inside and bright colours to keep your child focused. This is really easy to handle and will slot into place for assembly.
Age: 1+ years
Review: "Absolutely fabulous! I spent quite a while trying to choose which one to get, I chose this one because of the rattly balls, and I am glad I did! My little boy loves it! So happy! It is good quality and he is loving the balls with the rattles in! Can't recommend enough!"
Best bendy ball for toddlers
If you're looking for a ball that's flexible, colourful and helps with holding and playing then this Baby Einstein ball is a great option. Your child can bend, squeeze, grasp and play with this ball and there's a rolling ball in the centre of it that makes sounds too.
Ages: 6+ months
Review: "My baby loves this ball, he's 7 months and 2 weeks old and it's been very easy for him to hold and play with sitting up or laying down he has great control the space between make it super easy for small hands to use effectively! It's very colourful and he loves the sound of the small ball inside. I haven't yet tried to clean it thoroughly, but I use Milton wipes which is easy enough. I assume it would be easy to clean if you put in a small bowl with a Milton tablet for few minutes I assume would be totally fine. Nice ball."
Best ball pit for toddlers
Comes in two heights and loads more colours if you're not a fan of the pastel balls. This is perfect for babies and young children to work on their sensory skills and visual coordination. It also comes with a cover for super storing when you're not using it.