Educational Toys for Toddlers

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Toddlers are active and enjoy climbing, running, and jumping. They need toys to meet these needs. They also are interested in doing things with their hands as the small muscles in their fingers become more developed. However, toys for this age group should be simple and require little coordination. During this period, toddlers become interested in playing with others and in imitating grown-up activities. Toys like dress-up clothes are great for this!

As a caregiver, be careful about imposing sex stereotypes on toddlers' toy choices. Boys will sometimes show interest in dolls or want to be "the mommy." Girls may want trucks or to be "Superman." That is okay. This exploration is normal and necessary for them to learn about the world.

Toddlers also are interested in sensory materials such as paint, play dough, crayons, and chalk. They usually are not interested in drawing or painting a specific object. They like to scribble and mix colors. When talking to young children about their creations, it is better to say "Tell me about your picture," rather than "What is it?"

toddler toys
Toddler's still put toys in their mouths, so you will need to watch for objects with small parts. Also, watch out for items, such as paint and chalk, as toddlers think it is great fun to eat these! Toys should be sturdy and should not have sharp edges or points. Toddlers enjoy balloons, but caregivers should be careful to keep uninflated or broken balloons out of reach. A child could suffocate if these are swallowed.

Appropriate Toddler Toys
- push-pull toys
- pedal toys
- truck/cars big enough to ride
- wagons
- balls and bean bags
- balloons (with close supervision)
- swings
- climbing structures
- books with simple stories
- blocks
- peg boards
- puzzles creative materials (crayons, playdough, paint)
- water play toys
- simple dress-up clothes
- dolls and stuffed animals
- boxes

How you can help
1. Play pretend games with children. For example, create a traffic jam with the toy cars they use. Make believe you are animals like kittens, dogs, or horses.
2. Play tag, bounce, or catch with balls or bean bags.
3. Play follow-the-leader or design a toddler-size obstacle course.
4. Let children imitate your activities such as sweeping the floor.

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