by Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. – “Dr. Toy”
Toddlers actively explore their world and want to touch, smell and taste everything. Watch carefully and “child proof” your home and the child’s playspace.
This is a great time for lots of good, safe toys that offer varied play experiences. The right toys help your toddler learn about color, shape, size and weight.
Constantly check things out so they match your child’s growing interests and responses. Play will help develop better coordination, strong muscles and inquisitive minds.
With blocks the child gains small muscle strength and counting skills. It’s fun to build up, take down and rebuild. Plus, children learn a lot as they create.
Toddlers enjoy a range of toys that include a soft doll, pail, shovel, push-pull toy, jack-in-the-box, bubble pipe, pounding set, ring stack, puzzle, pounding set, books and tapes.
Toddlers love to play with household objects such as plastic dishes, pots, pans and cups. A small broom will give the child a chance to sweep.
When selecting toddler toys consider:
• Is it durable?
• How long will the toy last under “toddler testing”?
• Is it childproof?
A product should be long-lasting, substantial and made of good, strong materials.
Stuffed toys must be hygienic, washable and not have any fluff that could be pulled off and put in the mouth.
Protect the child from small parts or anything tiny that could cause choking. All products must be non-toxic.
Toddlers play with or near other children, at their own pace. Contact with other children is important, so playgroups are a great way for them to socialize, learn to take turns and engage with others.
Observe how the children interact with people and objects. This is the time to build self-esteem.
Notice the way children feel about themselves and how it affects physical, emotional, and mental growth.