As your baby starts getting bigger, it may be time to switch some of those baby toys for some toddler-friendly fun instead. You don’t need to go overboard, in fact it’s proven that just a few toys can be better for your child. Playtime can not only provide a great bonding opportunity for you and your child but bring confidence, improved social skills and a variety of educational benefits too.
Here are some of the best fun and educational toys you can buy your toddler today:
Toddlers love completing puzzles. Durable jigsaws made from wood or thick high-quality cardboard are not only brightly coloured and fun but they’re also great for teaching problem-solving, developing hand-to-eye coordination and encouraging perseverance, showing your toddler not to give up when things get tricky. Practised regularly, toddlers will develop spacial awareness and start to recognise different sizes and shapes, turning the pieces around until they find the one that fits.
Start off with chunky two-piece puzzles before increasing the number of pieces as they grow in confidence.
Great for developing your child’s imaginations, toddlers love fun character playsets, which can be generic (such as dolls houses and pirate ships) or based around their favorite nursery rhyme or tv show. The small chunky characters are easy for your toddler to hold, encouraging them to act out little scenes, find their voice and perfect their fine motor skills as they pick up and move around individual pieces. Playing with another child or parent can also help enhance their social skills and communication, listening to others and responding accordingly.
Train sets are a childhood rite of passage and are often be passed down from one generation to the next. Most train tracks can also be assembled in lots of different ways, helping build creativity and problem-solving as they learn to slot the track together. When playing with friends or family, your toddler will also learn some crucial social skills including sharing, taking in turns and following instructions. If parents use a running commentary to describe what’s happening as their child plays, it can also help enhance their vocabulary, exposing them to new words that they will begin to recognise and repeat.
Role play toys
Children love replicating adult behaviour, so role-play toys such as post offices, shops and play kitchens are incredibly popular with toddlers, as well as ‘playing mom’ using dolls and teddies. They can grow with your child too. Whilst as a toddler your child may simply enjoy ‘chopping’ food or pretending to cook in the oven, this can easily adapt to taking orders and making recipes, or even calculating the correct change for purchases as they grow up. A long-lasting toy that proves to be excellent value for money.
Children love making music, so bringing in some basic toy musical instruments can be a great addition to their toy box – if you can stand the noise! These creative and stimulating toys encourage an understanding of rhythm, movement and sounds, as well as teach cause and effect e.g when they bang the drum it makes a sound.
They also allow your toddler to express themselves, and can encourage movement such as rocking and swaying even before your child can walk.
Toddlers love bath time, so investing in some high-quality bath toys can make bath time not only a part of your child’s bedtime routine but incorporate some educational fun too. From creative bath crayons to foam alphabet letters they can stick on the side of the tub, just make sure you keep them clean and hygienic. If you’re on a more limited budget, do not estimate the power of simple cups and bottles that you can fill and pour from or a simple toy watering can.
Spending time in the great outdoors is hugely beneficial for toddlers, providing some much-needed fresh air and vitamin D, as well as being a source of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone which helps them drift off to sleep faster too. Outdoor toys such as a water tray, mud kitchen or garden slide have a number of physical benefits such as improved muscle strength, increased confidence and gross motor skills, such as balance and coordination. Playing in the yard also offers toddlers a safe way to explore their surroundings, learn more about the world around them and gain an appreciation for nature.