As a parent, having a stash of toys is a must, especially if you have a toddler. These items will keep your little one entertained for long periods of time. They will also allow your child to interact with you and other people.
But aside from being sources of entertainment and tools for interaction and socialization, toys also have the important role of helping toddlers learn. Through toys, your little one will discover key concepts such as big and small things, cause and effect, and object permanence. The right playthings will also help young kids develop essential skills such as grasping, reaching and hand-eye coordination.
For toddlers to learn and develop crucial skills, they must have the right toys. If you are looking for the ideal playthings that will facilitate learning and skills development in your little one, make sure you choose these toys:
#1. Toys that encourage problem solving and manipulation
Playthings that can give young kids opportunities to figure something out on their own or with a bit of help will build their logical thinking skills. These items will also enable them to become persistent problem-solvers now and in the future.
Toys that encourage problem-solving and manipulation will also enable toddlers to develop these important skills:
- Spatial relations or understanding how things fit together
- Fine motor skills or learning to use small muscles in the hands and fingers
- Hand and eye coordination
Some of the best toys that can facilitate problem-solving and exploration in toddlers include:
- Wooden puzzles
- Wooden building blocks that can be sorted by numbers, colours or alphabetically
- Shape sorters
- Nesting blocks or cups
#2. Construction or building toys
Toddlers can spend hours playing with toys they can build, take apart and put back together. Playthings that can be used in different ways and games will stimulate your little one’s imagination. They also teach children to consider and solve problems and to apply logic when faced with various situations.
The best types of construction toys you can give your tot include:
- Wooden blocks
- Interlocking blocks
- Nesting blocks or cups
- Items they can use for playing with sand and water
#3. Toys that encourage creativity and spark your child’s imagination
During toddlerhood, the creativity and imagination of kids will start taking off. They will engage in role-playing and find other uses for their toys and other items aside from their usual ones. For instance, they will pretend that a tennis racket is a guitar, or that a hairbrush is a microphone, and use them for their own living room or bedroom concert.
At this stage, it is essential that toddlers have toys they can use to develop and act out stories. Pretend play is crucial for kids since they build:
- Language, verbal and literacy skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Sequencing skills or the ability to put events in a logical order
Examples of toys that can spark a toddler’s imagination and creativity include:
- Stuffed toys
- Toddler-safe dollhouses
- Train and truck sets
- Arts and crafts sets
- Large cardboard boxes
#4. Noise or sound makers
Babies love things that make noise. This is a behaviour that they will carry into toddlerhood. Toys that make a sound when shaken or touched can help develop a toddler’s sense of hearing. They also teach the concept of cause and effect.
Examples of these toys include:
- Egg shakers
#5. “Getting ready to read” toys
It is never too early to start teaching kids to read and you can do this by giving them the right toys. Books that have pages that pop up or flaps that kids can pull and push are great for helping kids develop the interest to read.
Magnetic alphabet letters and colourful, interactive children’s magazines are also fun for your child to look at and play with. They also enable toddlers to build familiarity with letters, text and print.
#6. Toys that facilitate physical activity
Lastly, kids need to know the value of the physical activity or exercise even at a young age. They have to be aware that being on the go will help them stay healthy, strong and fit. As such, it’s important to give them toys that will enable them to practice and strengthen current physical skills and develop new ones.
Toys that can help toddlers move more include:
- Ride-on toys (make sure your child wears protective gear)
- Push and pull toys such as toy lawn mowers, grocery carts, wagons and doll carriages
- Different sizes and types of balls
High-quality traditional and modern toys last for years and as your toddler grows, can supplement your child’s education at home. If you want to get your full money’s worth whenever you shop for your child’s new playthings, it helps to be mindful of your choices. Make sure you choose toys that will help your kids learn and develop new skills which they can use and rely on as they grow older.