Toddlers are curious tiny people who learn by doing. Playing allows your child to grow and practice new abilities at her own speed while following her individual interests. The toys and playthings that your child has access to can have a significant impact on her development.
While it may appear that selecting toys for toddlers should be simple, the only thing that is simple today is feeling overwhelmed. Toy HQ for toddlers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. How can you know which ones are appropriate for your child? How can you know which ones are of good quality and will last? Which of the following will hold your child’s attention for more than a few days or weeks? Here are some suggestions for toys that will grow with your child, challenge her, and help her develop in all areas (her thinking, physical, language and social-emotional skills).
Toy Selection Guidelines for Toddlers
Select toys that can be utilized in multiple ways.
Toddlers enjoy taking things apart, putting them back together, pulling things out, putting things back in, adding on, and building things up. Choose toys that are “open-ended,” meaning that your child can use them to play a variety of games. A road, a zoo, a bridge, or a spaceship, for example, can be constructed using wooden or bulky plastic interlocking pieces. Toys like this assist your youngster develop problem-solving and logical thinking abilities by igniting his creativity.
Blocks, interlocking blocks, nesting blocks or cups, and sand and water toys are other examples.
Toys that will grow with your youngster are ideal.
We’ve all had the experience of purchasing a toy that our child plays with for two days and then abandons. You may avoid this by choosing for toys that are enjoyable at various stages of development. Small plastic animals, for example, can be used to build a shoebox house for a young toddler, while an older toddler can use them to act out a narrative she makes up.
Toy animals and action figures made of plastic, toddler-friendly dollhouses, railroads and dump trucks (and other vehicles), and stuffed animals and dolls are just a few examples.
Choose toys that inspire problem-solving and discovery.
Children can practice new abilities over and over again while playing. Toys that allow kids to figure something out on their own—or with some guidance—help children develop logical thinking abilities and become persistent problem solvers. They also aid in the development of spatial relations abilities (the ability to understand how things fit together), hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills in children (using the small muscles in the hands and fingers).
Puzzles, shape sorters, blocks, nested blocks, or cups, art supplies like as clay, paint, crayons, or play-dough are just a few examples.
Your child’s inventiveness blossoms throughout his third year, as he learns to play the part of someone else (such as a king) and believe that something (such as a block) is actually something else (like a piece of cake). Look for toys that your youngster can use to act out stories as he grows up. Pretend play improves language and literacy skills, as well as problem-solving and sequencing abilities (put events in a logical order).
Dress-up clothes, blocks, toy food and plastic plates, action figures, plush animals and dolls, trains and trucks, toddler-friendly dollhouses, toy equipment, and “real-life” accessories like a wrapping paper tube “fire hose” for your child firefighter are just a few examples. Toddlers love the all-purpose giant cardboard box, which is also free. (Contact an appliance store to arrange for one of their refrigerator cartons to be picked up.) Boxes may be transformed into houses, pirate ships, barns, tunnels, and whatever else your child’s imagination can dream up!
Allow your youngster to play with “actual” objects—or toys that resemble real objects.
Your child is getting better at figuring out how things in her environment, such as television remotes and light switches, operate. She also wants to play with your “real” goods, such as your phone, because she wants to be as big and capable as you. Problem-solving toys like this help children understand spatial relations (how things fit together) and build fine motor abilities (use of the small muscles in the hands and fingers).
Toy keys, toy phone, dress-up clothes, musical instruments, child-size brooms, mops, brushes, and dustpans are just a few examples.
Add some “getting ready to read” toys to the mix.
Early writing and reading abilities are developed through the use of books, magnetic alphabet letters, and art tools such as markers, crayons, and fingerpaints. Take-out menus, catalogs, and magazines are “real-life” items that your youngster may look at and play with while also building familiarity with letters, text, and print.
Toys that inspire your youngster to be active should be sought out.
Toddlers do a variety of physical stunts as their bodies become stronger and more confident. It’s your job to be a cheering section for your child’s latest playground triumph! Look for toys that allow your youngster to practice and develop new physical skills.
Balls of various sizes and shapes, tricycles or three-wheeled scooters (with appropriate protective gear), plastic bowling sets, child-size basketball hoop, pull-toys (e.g., toys that your child can pull on a string), wagon to fill and pull, gardening tools to dig and rake with, moving boxes (open on both ends) to create tunnels to crawl through
Look for toys that encourage intergenerational interaction.
While adults and children can play practically anything together, certain toys are specifically made for adults. Early board games that entail using one’s memory or basic board games that do not require reading are fun for all ages to play when your child approaches age 3 and beyond.
Start a “family game night” where you may all play together. Counting, matching, and memory skills, as well as listening and self-control, are all encouraged through board games (as children learn to follow the rules). They also help students improve their language and relationship-building abilities. Another significant advantage is that it teaches youngsters how to be gracious winners and how to deal with defeat.
What are the advantages of music, lighting, and sounds?
Many toddler toys are ablaze with buttons, levers, lights, music, and so on. Because the toy has so many diverse roles, it is frequently advertised as “developmental.” Unfortunately, for the youngster, this typically has the opposite impact. The more functions a toy has, the less work your youngster will have to do. If your youngster can sit and watch the toy “perform,” it’s more likely to be entertaining rather than instructional. Furthermore, these toys can be perplexing to a toddler learning cause-and-effect relationships. If a toy begins to play music at random or it is unclear which button caused the lights to flash, your child is not learning which of his actions (the cause) resulted in the lights and music (the effect). To put it another way, the most useful toys are those that require the most interaction from a young child. The more youngsters are required to engage both their thoughts and body to complete a task, the more they will learn.
Can toys really “make my kid smarter,” as they say on the packaging and in advertisements?
Proceed cautiously. The majority of these goods haven’t been proven to improve children’s IQ. Safe home materials (plastic bowls for filling and dumping, cushions for climbing and piling up to build a cave, old clothing for dress-up) are frequently the most effective learning tools. Remember that the more opportunities your child gets to utilize her mind and body to solve problems and develop her own ideas, the more she will learn.