3 Tips for Choosing Quality Toddler Toys

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Between the ages of two and four, a toddler is learning how to interact with other peers.  They are also developing more advanced play skills called symbolic or pretend play.   Symbolic play includes make believe games and fantasy roles.  At this age, favorite activities include dressing up as super heros, pretending to boss around siblings as the “mommy” or “daddy”, and cooking up their favorite meals with pretend food.  Children will also start to use various objects for a variety of functions. As an example, every long stick like object becomes my son’s light saber or sword, even my knitting needles.  Cognitively, at this age memory skills are improving and there is a high interest in learning colors and numbers.   Physically, a toddler is learning how to put on their clothes and brush their teeth independently.  

 A child’s job is to learn through play. They develop many physical, emotional, social and language skills in the process of play.

As your child reaches his second birthday, you may find yourself asking “What are the best toys for my child at this age?”

You may walk through a toy store overwhelmed with the aisles upon aisles of toddler toys baffled with all the options, including those the toys that light up, make music, and are in constant motion.  While I am not opposed battery operated toys, there are a lot of great toys that do not require batteries and promote learning.  

When shopping for toddler toys here are some questions to ask to help you with choosing those that will grow your child's play, language, gross motor and thinking skills.

1.  Can this toy be used in a turn taking manner?

Image via Flickr/
Image via Flickr

Communication is all about taking turns. Children need to learn turn taking skills in order to be conversationalists. Many toys lead to more taking opportunities than others, such as balls, blocks, bubbles, and Mr. Potato Head.  Age-appropriate board games such and Candy Land, help teach children about turn taking through a simple game that requires basic color identification skills. It's a great way to get your child started with preschool skills as well as cultivating turn taking and peer interactions.  

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2.  Does this toy spark imagination and dramatic play?

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

Toddlers can learn so much from toys that encourage dramatic or pretend play skills. Favorite dramatic play toys include farm sets, baby dolls, tool kits, musical instruments and doctor sets.  Also kid-size brooms, vacuum cleaners and mops are great for this age.  Who doesn't want a child excited about helping mom with chores?   

3. Does this toy challenge their developmental skills in several different ways?

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr/erin.kkr

A toy should not only entertain your child, but also help them develop speech, cognitive, and motor skills. Constructive toys such as LEGO duplo blocks are wonderful option that help a child develop in a variety of developmental areas.  Art supplies such as crayons and finger paints help your child develop their fine motor and cognitive skills while also promoting creativity. It's important to allow your child's individual imagination and ability to problem solve blossom through basic toys that cultivate those skills.  

What are some of your child's favorite toys?  How do they encourage their growth and development?   

 

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3 Tips for Choosing Quality Toddler Toys

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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3 comments

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    So far she has no particular favorite but she loves banging blocks together. I keep on watching everyday and my 10month old baby keeps learning each day 🙂

  2. DH says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Phammom says:

    Great tips. These are what I look for when buying toys.

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