Tips For Choosing Toys For Toddlers


Toddlers learn through play. Play allows children to learn and practice new skills according to their interests at their own pace. Toys and playthings that children use can have a significant impact on their development.

As you enter a toy shop today, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. The market for toddler toys is huge. How can you tell which toys are suitable for toddlers? How do you know which ones are of high quality? Which toys will keep your child’s attention for longer than a couple of days or weeks. Here are some suggestions for toys that will grow and develop with your child. They should also challenge and enhance their development in terms of thinking, language, physical skills, and social-emotional skills.

Guide to Choosing Toddler Toys

Select toys that are versatile.

Children love to pull apart, put together, add, and build. Toys that can be used in a variety of ways are the best. Wooden blocks or chunky interlocking plastic blocks can be used as a road, bridge, zoo or spaceship. Toys such as these help children develop their problem-solving skills and imagination.

  • Examples include: blocks, interlocking or nesting blocks, cups and toys for water and sand play.

Toys that grow with your child are the best.

You’ve probably all had the experience where you buy a toy and your child only plays with it for two days before never touching it again. To avoid this, look for toys that are fun at various developmental stages. Small plastic animals, for example, are great for young children who can make shoebox houses for them. Older toddlers may use them as props in a story that they create.

  • Examples include: Toys for toddlers such as dollhouses and trains, action figures and plastic toys, stuffed animals, and dolls.

Choose toys that promote exploration and encourage problem solving.

Playing allows children to learn new skills repeatedly. Toys which allow children to solve problems on their own or with some coaching help develop their problem-solving skills. These toys also help develop spatial relation skills (understanding the way things fit together), as well as hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

  • Examples include: Puzzles and shape-sorters; nesting blocks, cups or blocks; art materials such as clay, paint or crayons.

Find toys that will spark your child’s creativity.

In the third year of a child’s life, creativity really takes off. They can now imagine themselves in other roles (like that of a king/queen) or pretending to be something else. Find toys they can use to act out and create stories. Pretend-play builds literacy and language skills, problem solving skills, and the capability to sequence events (put them in a logical, logical order).

  • Examples include: Dress up clothing, blocks and toy plates and food, action figures and dolls. Trains and trucks are also great for toddlers. Toy tools and toys, such as wrapping paper tubes, can be used to make a “fire hose”. This large cardboard box can be used for many purposes and is completely free. Call an appliance store to ask for a refrigerator box. Boxes can be transformed into houses, pirate ship, barns, or tunnels. Your child’s imagination is the limit!

Children love to play with toys that look real or “real” things.

Toddlers have a knack for figuring out the functions of objects around them, such as light switches or television remotes. Your “real” things, such as your phone, are appealing to them because they want to be like you. Toys such as these help children learn how to solve problems, understand spatial relations (how objects fit together), and improve their fine motor skills.

  • Examples include: Plastic plates and dishes, toy food, toy phones, dress-up clothing, musical instruments and child-sized brooms and mops.

Include some toys that help you get ready to learn how to read.

Children can develop their early reading and writing skills with books, magnet alphabet letters, and art materials like markers, crayons and finger paints. Take-out menus or magazines can be fun to play with, but also help your child become familiar with text and letters.

Find toys that encourage your child to be active.

As they become stronger and more confident, toddlers will do all sorts of physical tricks. It’s your job to show appreciation for their latest playground accomplishment! Find toys that will help your child develop and improve their physical skills.

  • Examples include: Different shaped balls, tricycles, three-wheeled bikes (with protective gear), child-sized basketball hoops, pull-toys, wagons that can be filled and pulled, gardening tools for digging and raking, and moving boxes with both ends open to create tunnels.

Toys that encourage intergenerational play are the best.

Adults and children can enjoy playing almost any game together. However, some toys are specifically designed for adults. Early board games, which require the child to use their memory and simple games that don’t require reading are fun for children of all ages. You can play games together as a family. Board games can help children develop their listening and self-control skills as they learn how to follow rules. They also encourage them to practice counting, matching and memory. They also nurture language and relationship-building skills. Among the many benefits of playing sports is that it teaches children how to win graciously and to deal with losing.

Common Questions about Toys for Toddlers

What are the advantages of sound, light, and music for you?

There are many toys that toddlers love. They have lights, buttons, levers and music. These toys are often marketed as being “developmental”, because they have so many functions. This can have the opposite effect on the child. Your child will have to do less work if a toy is more interactive. If your child is able to sit down and watch the “perform” of a toy, it’s likely more educational than entertaining. These toys can also be confusing for a child learning about cause and effect. If your child cannot tell which action (the cause) caused the toy’s lights to flash or if the music starts randomly, they will not learn which actions (the effects) produced them. The most useful toys will be those that demand the most effort from a child. The more children are required to use both their brains and bodies in order to make something function, the more learning they will gain.

Do toys really “make my child smarter” as they claim on the packaging?

Proceed with caution. These products have not been shown to improve children’s intelligence. Safe household items, such as plastic bowls to fill and dump, pillows to climb and pile up into a cave or old clothes for dressing-up, are often the most effective learning tools. Remember that the more your child uses their brain and body to solve problems and come up with their own ideas, they will learn.

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