The best toddler toys are appealing because they satisfy the whole spectrum of toddler needs and, as any parent knows, that is one big changeable pot of fun! I love the ‘toddler rules of possession’ but there are some other toddler rules which we should also remember: laugh at anything, play with everything, splash in any liquid, touch whatever is within reach, dance with or without music, shout with joy/anger/surprise/for no reason at all, climb on anything nearby.
Toddler toys allow the various toddler stages to develop and will do so at which ever rate is best for your child. The toddler age range (1 – 3 years) sees a huge difference in skills and abilities. A great toddler toy will journey with your child and will be played with in different ways as they grow. What they really need are things with which they can create, build, pretend, problem solve and move – not necessarily all at the same time!
Create: I have yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t want to make their mark. Everywhere and anywhere! Best thing I ever bought for mine was a big roll of lining paper on which they could scrawl, practise letters, do hand/feet/potato prints, stick things and so on. Anything that was worth keeping (you know the sort of thing) was cut out and stuck on a surface somewhere. We had a great winter of drawing long roads for my daughter’s many tractors which kept her busy for hours! Djeco have created this box of colours with toddlers in mind – gorgeous!
Build: From about 18 months old, toddlers begin to stack blocks, managing two or three on top of each other. As they get older their structures get taller (mainly due to better coordination but also better control of the urge to knock everything and anything over!). Older toddlers can sort their block by colour or starts to pretend that it is something else – car, boat, dinosaur etc. These Bristle Blocks allow for some extra stability in building as they connect quite securely and don’t scatter as easily. Your 3 year olds will start to create structures that resemble real things – bridges, towers, dinosaurs!
Pretend: Toddlers love to emulate what they see around them and, for many, a trip to the supermarket is part of their routine. I adore a tiny shopping trolley as not only does it encourage them to move about independently (with ‘stabilisers’ if they need them) but can also be many things – a pram, a refuse truck, a means of taking their teddies on a ‘nice day out’. If you have the time, take the trolley to the actual shops and let your little one decide what they want for tea – such fun to see what they think is nutritious!
Problem Solve: Your older toddler will enjoy a puzzle, progressing from the sort where you put shaped pieces into appropriate holes or simple two or three piece jigsaws to those requiring more problem solving skills. This geometric stacker from Melissa & Doug allows for this progression of skills with some simpler circular stacking pieces graduating to a more complex puzzle stacker which involves working out not only in which order the pieces should go but also in which position they should be. Young children do love to have a gnaw at their toys and these wooden pieces are beautifully made – they’ll stand up to a bit of chewing!
Move: Motor skills really come into play in the toddler years. Puzzles and building toys such as those above will encourage the fine motor skills however those gross motor skills, which your toddlers really want to show off, need some more thought. Sometimes jumping on the sofa, kicking a ball or dancing around the kitchen isn’t enough (although should be encouraged in all ages, in my opinion). This lovely bright bowling set (also from Melissa & Doug) allows some larger movements whilst encouraging social interaction and game play skills.
Once they have been knocked over a few times, those adorable monsters would no doubt love a quick ride in a wooden chariot to their brick castle which sits at the end of a beautifully decorated road. Once there, they will have to work out how to defend themselves from the mischievous bowling ball who wants to knock them down…
by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds
As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.
Our mission at BrightMinds is to foster “a brighter way to play” to inspire your child to be curious about the world around them & encourage creativity in a fun & relaxed way.
We curate a world-class range of educational toys, games, gifts & books which are good quality, safe and backed by our extraordinary customer service. Toddler Toys are our speciality and toddler toy from BrightMinds is a wonderful gift for your special girl or boy.
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