Ready or not, Christmas is just around the corner! That means following Santa’s example and making your own lists, that you may want to check twice to make sure you’re getting the right items for your little ones. With so many different kinds of toys to choose from, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. To help make your holidays easier, the team of Pediatric Therapists at Woman’s Center for Wellness is here to help you find toys for the toddler on your list that are fun and serve a purpose.
It may be tempting to purchase high-tech toys with lots of bells and whistles; however, often times those types of toys do not encourage imaginative, open-ended play. When it comes to selecting toys for toddlers, a “back to basics” approach works best. Here are some suggestions for toys that encourage imagination, interaction, and fine motor skills:
- Mr. Potato Head – This familiar toy fosters vocabulary development (basic body parts), imagination (pretend play and role-play), emotions and fine motor skills.
- Building Blocks – Blocks can provide many hours of fun. Toddlers can increase their fine motor skills, predictive skills, turn taking and vocabulary (shapes, sizes, up, down, fall down) by playing interactively with this simple toy set.
- Farm Sets – Farm sets can increase vocabulary, imaginative play and role-play. Children can learn vocabulary concepts, such as open/close, animal names and animal sounds. This toy has evolved to some having high-tech designs, so we often encourage not using the battery component to encourage children to make the animal and farm sounds themselves.
- Play Houses – These toy sets can be used in much the same way as the farm sets. Vocabulary and role-play of everyday routines are developed with these play sets.
- Dress-Up Sets – Hours of imaginative play and social interactions can be fostered in toddlers and preschoolers using dress-up sets.
- Stacking Cups – Playing with stacking cups helps children with problem solving, preposition concepts and interactive play.
- Kitchen Sets/Household Items – Children learn best by imitating everyday routines that they see at home. Pretend cooking and cleaning activities are a perfect way to encourage language development through role-play and vocabulary.