Dr. Toy: What's Right for Toddlers?
Toddlers actively explore their world and want to touch, smell, and taste everything. Watch carefully and child-proof the play space. This is a great time for lots of good, safe toys, and varied play experiences.
The right toys help your toddler learn about color, shape, size, and weight. As they check things out, play will help them develop strong muscles and minds. With blocks they gain small muscle strength and counting skills. It’s fun to build up blocks, knock them down, and then rebuild. Your toddler will laugh at his accomplishments.
The toddler enjoys a soft doll or plush animal, a pail, a shovel, push-pull toys, a jack-in-the-box, a bubble pipe, pounding sets, ring stacks, puzzles, books, and tapes. Toddlers love to play with household objects such as plastic dishes, pots, pans, and cups. A small broom will give him a chance to sweep. When selecting toys, consider their durability. How long will the toy last under “toddler testing”? Is it child-proof? A product should be long-lasting, substantial, and made of good, strong materials.
Stuffed toys must be hygienic and washable, with no fluff the child could pull off and put into her mouth. Protect your child from small parts or anything tiny that could cause choking. All products must be nontoxic. Look at toys by Brio, Fisher-Price, MEGA BLOKS, Playskool, Discovery Toys, and Little Tikes,
The toddler plays with or near other children, at his or her own pace. Contact with other children is important, so play groups are excellent for socializing. Observe how the child interacts with people and objects. This is the time to build confidence and self-esteem. The way the child feels about himself affects his physical, emotional, and mental growth.