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Choosing The Right Toy For Young Toddler

The toddler age is a great time to stimulate creativity thinking in children. Picking up the appropriate educational toddler toys will encourage your child to discover and develop new skills through fun and play.

Published on: February 11 2010 | Views:321
Choosing The Right Toy For Young Toddler

Toddler Physical Development

* endless exercise of physical skills.

* likes to lug, dump, push, pull, pile, knock down, empty and till.

* likes to climb-can manage small indoor steps.

* manipulation is more exploratory than skillful.

* active interest in multiple small objects.

* by 2 years, can kick, catch a large ball.

* by 2 years, can string large heads, turn knob, use screw motion. (All beads given to this age group should be at least 1-3/4 niches (44 mm) in diameter, however, if any object appears to hi easily in the child's mouth, keep it away from the child.)

Toddler Mental Development

* interest in causing effects.

* interest in mechanisms and objects that move or can he moved-prefers action toys.

* combines objects with other objects-makes simple block structures, uses simple stacking toys, does simple puzzles.

* very curious-constant experimentation with objects.

* interest in hidden-object toys.

* at 1 1/2 to 2 years, groups/matches similar objects-enjoys simple sorting toys.

* identifies objects by pointing-can identify pictures in hook.

* enjoys water, sand play.

* makes marks on paper, scribbles spontaneously.

* first imitative play-imitation of adult tasks, especially caretaking and housekeeping tasks.

Toddler Social Development

* most solitary play--relates to adults better than to children.

* tries to do adult tasks.

* expresses affection for others-shows preference for certain soft toys, dolls.

* likes being read to, looking at picture books, likes nursery rhymes.

* by 1 1/2, enjoys interactive games such as tag.


ALL TOYS for Young Toddlers

Children prefer action toys that produce movement or sounds by the child's own efforts

* toys need not he highly detailed but should be realistic looking.
* toys should be lightweight for easy lifting and carrying
* bright colors preferred.

In play, child always on the move - large muscle activities such as running, climbing dominate over small muscle activities such as exploring objects constructing.

Child beginning to combine and put together objects.

Beginning of imitative play.

Toys should meet safety regulations for age

* sturdy, unbreakable, not likely to break into small pieces and strong enough for child to stand on or in.
* nontoxic materials.
* no sharp points or edges.
* too large to be lodged in windpipe, ears, nostrils.
* no detachable small pans.
* no parts that could pinch or entrap fingers, toes, hair.
* not put together with easily exposed straight pins, sham wires, nails.
* no electrical parts, unless supervised by adult.

Active Play

Push and Pull Toys

* push toys with rods (rods with large handles on ends).
* toys to push on floor-simple, sturdy with large wheels.
* special noise and action effects.
* for steady walkers, pull toys on strings (broad-based to tip less easily).

from about 1 1/2

* simple doll carriages.
* wagons - low, open, big enough for child to get in.
* small rocking horses - confined rocking arc, stout handles rather than reins knee height on child,.push/pull toys filled with multiple objects.

Ride-On Toys

* ride-ons propelled by pushing with feet-no pedals
* stable ride-ons---4 or more wheels, wheels spaced wide apart, child's feet flat on floor when seated.
* ride-ons with storage bins.
* ride-ons that make noise, look like animals

Outdoor and Gym Equipment

* all gym equipment needs adult supervision.
* low, soft climbing platforms.
* tunnels for crawling.
* swings (pushed by adult) seals curved or body-shaped of energy-absorbing material with restraining strap.

from about 1 1/2

* simple low climbing structures.
* low slides with handrails.
* outdoor play equipment with stationary rather than moving parts.

Sports Equipment

* soft light weight halls, especially with interesting visual effects, noises, unpredictable movement.
* chime ball, flutter ball.
* large balls (easier for child to maneuver)

(All balls given to this age group should be at least 1-3/4 inches (44 mm) in diameter, however if any object appears to fit easily in the child's mouth, keep it away from the child.)

Manipulative Play

Construction Toys

* small lightweight stacking blocks (15-25 pieces).

before 1 1/2 most interlocking mechanisms are too difficult

from around 1 1/2

* solid wooden unit blocks (20-40).
* large hollow building blocks.
* large plastic bricks (2-4 inches or 50- 100 mm) to press together


* simple pre-puzzles or form boards - 2-3 pieces each piece a familiar shape.

from around 1 1/2

* 3-5 piece puzzles with knobs easier to use (knobs firmly attached).

Pattern-Making Toys

* peg board with a few large pegs.

Manipulative Toys

* activity boxes attached to crib or playpen or freestanding-simple action mechanisms (doors, lids, switches).
* hidden object toys.
* simple pop-up toys operated by pushing a button or knob.
* nesting cups-round shape few pieces.
* simple stacking toys-few pieces no order necessary.
* shape sorters-a few common shapes.

from around 1 1/2

* fit-together toys of about 5 pieces
* activity boxes with more complex action mechanisms-turning knob or dial, turning simple key.
* pounding/hammering toys.
* nesting toys -square or other shapes.
* stacking toys of 4-5 pieces.
* simple matching toys.
* simple number/counting boards (1-5) with large pegs.
* simple lock boxes & lock/key toys.
* jack-in-the-box toys (adult supervision if toys spring back quickly).
* toys with screwing action (child can usually manage only 1 turn).

Dressing, Lacing, Stringing Toys

* large colored beads (fewer than 10) (All balls given to this age group should be at least 1-3/4 inches (44 mm) in diameter, however, any object appears to fit easily in the child's mouth, keep it away from the child.)

from around 1 1/2

* lacing cubes or board with thick blunt spindle.

Sand and Water Play Toys

* simple floating toys-1 or 2 pieces, easy to grasp in one hand
* sponges small shovel and pail.

from around 1 1/2

* nesting tub toys
* bathtub activity centers
* funnels, colanders
* small sandbox tools (rake should have blunt teeth)

Make-Believe Play


* soft-bodied or all-rubber baby dolls.
* simple dolls with no hair moving eyes, or movable limbs.
* dolls to fit easily in child's arms, or small dolls (5-6 inches).
* simple accessories for caretaking - bottle, blanket.
* simple doll clothes, need not be detachable.

from around 1 1/2

* large peg people.

Stuffed Toys

* very soft lightweight easy to hold.
* slender limbs on toys for easy grasp.
* for safety reasons no whiskers, buttons, bow belts.


* puppets operated by adult.

from around 1 1/2

* small hand puppets sized to fit child's hand.
* soft, plush puppets that double as stuffed toys.

Role-Play Materials

* toy telephone, full-length mirror.
* simple housekeeping equipment.
* simple doll equipment-carriage bud.

from around 1 1/2

* simple dress-ups, hats scarves, ties, shoes, jewelry.
* role-play toys that can be pushed & make noise - mower, vacuum.
* child-sized equipment, oven, fridge, sink, table, and chairs.

Play Scenes

(All figures should be at least 1 1/4 inches (44 mm) in diameter, however if any object appears to fit easily in the child's mouth, keep it away from the child)

before 1 1/2

* child may enjoy handling, carrying around figures.

from around 1 1/2

* familiar, realistic scenes - farm, airport, garage - not overly detailed pieces (4-6 pieces).
* prefer scenes with moving parts or that make noise.

Transportation Toys

* lightweight vehicles of a size for easy handling (not too small) and with secure wheels.
* push or pull cars and trains.
* vehicles that make noise.
* first train- 1-2 cars, no tracks ,simple or no coupling system.

from around 1 1/2

* more detailed vehicles -- doors, hoods that open.
* trains with simple coupling system - large hooks, magnets.

Projectile Toys

* not suited to age group


(arts, crafts, music)

Musical Instruments

* rhythm instruments operated by shaking enclosed bells and rattles.

from around 1 1/2

* rhythm instruments, operated by banging - cymbals, drums, xylophones.

Art and Craft Materials

* large crayons.
* sturdy, large-size paper.

Audio-Visual Equipment

operated by adult

* tapes, records or CDs of nursery rhymes and rhythms.
* hand-cranked music box, worked by child if crank is large and easy to turn.



* not suited to age group

Specific Skill Development Toys

* not suited to age group

Books and 'Peek-a-Boo' Books

* sturdy cloth plastic, cardboard books with few pages.
* picture books, nursery rhymes stories with repetition.
* books to be held and read by adult can be more fragile with paper pages.

from around 1 1/2

* touch-me or tactile books.

Author Info:

Adapted from the CPSC Which Toy for Which Child booklet

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