What Toys to Choose for Your Young Toddler
Toys For Young Toddlers
When considering what toys to choose for your young toddler, (one year olds), it's important to look at the child's abilities and interests in terms of physical, mental and social areas of development.
On a physical developmental level young toddlers exercise and increase their physical skills such as pulling, pushing, dumping, knocking down, and climbing. By two years of age they can usually catch a large ball, string large beads, (beads should be 1 ¾ inches diameter). Toddlers are exploring all these movements and activities but as yet have rarely mastered them.
Mental abilities and interests center on cause and effect and objects that move or can be moved. Children likes to combine objects and make simple block structures, simple stacking toy structures and put simple puzzles together. Curiosity applies to everything around them as young toddlers experiment with objects, group, match, and sort and identify objects. Water play is a favorite and pre-writing skills emerge with the first scribbles and marks on paper. Imitative play begins to emerge in a simple fashion, especially caretaking and housekeeping.
Social ability and interests are focused very much on adults as children attempts adult tasks. Much play is solitary and children tend to play in parallel near each other rather than together. Children express affection for others and show preference for certain dolls, stuffed animals and toys. Being read to is a huge favorite (especially nursery rhymes) as is looking at picture books and picture reading. Interactive games such as tag and peek-a-boo become interesting around 1½ years.
Consider the following toys that match the above abilities and interests of your young toddler:
Push and pull toys
Push and pull toys with large handles and large wheels. Toys that have special noise and action effects. Doll carriages, wagons, rocking horses, riding toys, small lightweight stacking blocks, solid wooden blocks and large hollow building blocks. Simple pre-puzzles with knobs which are easier to use. Peg boards, hidden object toys and simple pop-up toys, nesting cups, shape sorters, fit together toys, pounding and hammering toys, simple matching toys, number/counting boards, toys with screw on action, dressing, lacing and stringing toys, sand and water play toys that are easy to grasp in one hand, sponges, small shovels and pails, bathtub activity centers, tunnels and colanders, small sandbox tools.
Sports equipment would include soft, low climbing platforms, tunnels, swings, simple low climbing structures, low slides with handrails, soft light weight balls, chime balls, flutter balls, large balls. All outdoor equipment must be supervised by an adult.
Make believe play
Make believe play requires its own set of toys such as soft bodied or all rubber baby dolls with no hair or moving eyes or movable limbs. The dolls should fit easily into the child's arms (5-6 inches). Simple accessories for caretaking, bottles, blankets, doll clothes, etc. Stuffed toys that are very soft lightweight and easy to handle. Puppets are a favorite, large as well as hand sized puppets to fit the child's hand. Role play materials such as toy telephones, full length mirrors, housekeeping equipment such as pots and pans and utensils, dress up clothes. Also included should be transportation toys such as cars, trucks.
Musical Instruments such as drums, cymbals, rhythm sticks are also appropriate. Arts and Crafts materials such as large crayons and sturdy large sized paper should be included.
Including cardboard books, soft books, tactile books and books read by an adult.
By choosing toys that are directly related to children's developing abilities and interests, all the while keeping an eye on safety, we support their learning process to the maximum of their abilities.
About the Author
Ursula Ansbach is the owner of the online furniture store MyBabyFurniturePlus. She is also a parent, teacher and educator who lives on the shores of Lake Erie with her family. http://www.mybabyfurnitureplus.com