Most toddlers have lots of room for imagination during playtime! A toy could be as simple as a wooden spoon transforming into a microphone, a sword or whichever creative idea comes to their mind. While you can both have a lot of fun for free, it can still be worth investing in toys designed to support their healthy development throughout these early years.
Also called activity gyms or discovery centres, activity centres can come in all shapes. Your little one’s activity centre should stimulate their senses, which can help with sensory and cognitive development. Sensory stimulation can be achieved through things such as:
- Textured surfaces and tactile toys
- Parts that make sounds like rattling, crinkling, or pre-loaded melodies
- Bright or high contrasting colours to support visual development
- Baby-safe mirrors are a nice touch for some self-discovery
Activity centres often come with a theme, such as an artist’s station with a whiteboard and paints, or an under the sea theme with friendly fish toys and a fun ocean setting. Look for an activity centre that will keep your toddler engaged in different ways by appealing to all of the senses.
Puzzles can help teach problem-solving and are good practice for fine motor skills. Try to find one with high contrasting, bright colours that make a fun picture.
A puzzle of the letters of the alphabet or numbers up to ten are a great way to start teaching your little one the order of letters and counting.
Books are an excellent educational tool and a way to bond with your little one. Reading stories to your little one so that they can follow along with their eyes can help support their understanding of language and introduce them to reading and stories. Baby books with tactile elements like puffy or interactive pages are a great toy and the first step toward a love of storybooks and reading.
Toddler musical instruments
Toy musical instruments are good fun and could even start a love of music that grows into a genuine passion! Look for “magic touch” instruments or toy instruments that don’t require batteries but still make sounds. These are a good introduction to cause and effect and also help build motor skills.
The greatest toy of all! Try to make time to play with your little one as they use their educational toys. Playing together is a great way to bond and spend some time in your little one’s world, enjoying the creativity and freedom of their wonderful minds.