A growing toddler is a proverbial ball of energy. If you doubt this, just ask anyone who’s tried to keep up with one. Kids this age are eager to try all sorts of physical feats and are curious to investigate everything that catches their eyes. It is important that the toys you select for your toddler should captivate them at one or both of these levels. For example: push toys give toddlers an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of physical exercise and improve the large motor skills important to development. Play sets capitalize on a toddler’s budding interest in role-play, while shape sorters can help him learn about cause-and-effect relationships.
It is important to remember that children are sponges at this age. They absorb numerous concepts at a staggering rate and they often do so through play. When you choose toys for your toddler, it is important to keep in mind not only how much enjoyment it will offer him, but what kind of educational benefits it will deliver. Even toys as basic as blocks are considered learning toys and when kids engage in the great fun of building up and tearing down they are developing skills they will eventually need to grasp basic principles of math!
Toddlers are highly active and enjoy climbing, running, and jumping. They will need toys to meet these needs. They also are interested in doing more things with their hands as the small muscles in their fingers become more developed. However you should keep in mind that toys for this age group should be simple and require little coordination. During this period, toddlers also become interested in playing with others and in imitating grown-up activities. Dress-up clothes are great for exercising creativity!
As a caregiver, it is important to be careful about imposing sex stereotypes on toddlers’ toy choices. Boys may sometimes show interest in dolls or want to be “the mommy.” Girls may want trucks or to be “Superman.” Child Development experts across the board agree that this is all right. This type of exploration is normal and necessary for them to learn about the world.
Toddlers are very interested in sensory materials such as paint, play dough, crayons, and chalk. They will probably not be interested in drawing or painting a specific object. They like to scribble and mix colors to see what the reaction will be. Keep in mind that when talking to young children about their creations, it is better to say “Tell me about your picture,” rather than “What is it?”
All adults should realize that toddler’s still put toys in their mouths, so you will need to watch for objects with small parts. In addition be careful about such as paint and chalk, as toddlers think it is great fun to eat these! Toys should be sturdy and should not have any sharp edges or points. Toddlers also enjoy balloons, but caregivers should be careful to keep un-inflated or broken balloons out of reach. A toddler could suffocate if these are swallowed.
While it is important to choose toys that your toddler is interested in there are certain types of toys that tend to appeal to all toddlers. Here is just a few of them-
- push-pull toys
- pedal toys
- truck/cars big enough to ride
- balls and bean bags
- balloons (only with close supervision)
- climbing structures
- books with simple stories
- peg boards
- puzzles creative materials (crayons, play dough, paint)
- water play toys
- simple dress-up clothes
- dolls and stuffed animals