There are many types of toys available to keep a busy toddler out of trouble. In this piece we will cover some of the different types of toys that are available, so the next time you are in the toy store or trying to find something for your child to do at home you will have some ideas of what to look for.
Toys can be a useful tool to help your child develop a range of skills, from emotions to muscle coordination and there are toys that fit every aspect and a list of things in-between. So let’s take a look at some of the different types of toys and what they are suitable for.
First, there are probably a few questions you should consider when you look for toys for your children. The first concern of any parent is usually safety, so when you look at a toy ask yourself if you think the toy will be suitable and safe and appropriate for your child at his or her age. Some toys may be perfectly safe for a 4 year old, but dangerous to a 2 year old toddler.
Toys can be broadly divided into different types of groups linked to the type of skills they help develop in your child. The first one of these is toys that encourage activity. The second is toys that are linked to creativity and the third is toys that help with learning (or educational toys).
Educational toys can actually be any type of toy, so there is a lot of overlap between these different types. Some toys that encourage movement will also help with cognitive functions for example.
The best types of toys will stimulate and engage your toddler. They are naturally inquisitive at this age and want to understand and explore the world around them. When you can give your child the toys to do so, they will develop crucial skills while having a great time.
What to look for
Some things to consider when you look for toys are some of the features toys offer.
Toys that have or encourage movement can be a very good idea. These types of toys can be something where a child can ride on top of it, like a plastic kick scooter, or something that they can push and pull and interact with physically like a ball.
This can also be something like a wagon or a stroller for their dolls. This encourages the development of motor skills and basic muscle groups, along with hand eye coordination.
Toys that help toddlers to create something are also a very good choice. Usually art supplies are a good start, crayons, basic non-toxic paints, play dough and so on are all things that will stimulate a child’s creativity and senses. The colors and textures of all these art supplies will also engage your toddler’s senses while they imagine and create.
Music or sound toys may create a lot of noise around the house, but are very important to how your child learns about cause and effect, sound, rhythm and melody. Inexpensive things can become basic rhythmic instruments like drums. These types of toys help your child to develop their auditory senses, physical skill and makes them aware of cause and effect.
Toys that encourage sorting is also a good choice. This can be containers with thing that need to be filled in different slots, or the classic game where pegs need to fit in certain holes. These types of toys develop reasoning skills and combined with other toys that focus on cognitive skills can be very effective in stimulating critical thinking skills early on.
Toys that have switches and buttons or strings encourage a toddler to use fine motor skills and manipulate the toy using their fingers and hands. These skills can be developed through various kinds of toys, some toys are designed to encourage this type of interaction. A teddy bear might have zippers, buttons and Velcro as part of an outfit that can be changed and manipulated by your toddler.
Some toys can encourage your toddler to use his or her imagination very actively, but often you may not even need specific toys to achieve this. A blanket fort can easily become a castle, a few kitchen pots a drum kit, or a broom can easily be saddled as a horse.
But there are also toys that encourage pretending in specific settings, such as toys that mimic going shopping, baking gardening and so on. It is important that your child has the opportunity to develop their imagination and creativity and this type of play does just that.
Last but not least on our list are good old picture books. In this era of digital platforms books may seem old fashioned, but some stories never grow old and the physical qualities of books are still relevant.
Books and stories help build language skills, paging through the book practices fine motor skills and the illustrations can inspire creativity and their imaginations. Some books have textures included which also engages your toddler’s senses as they listen to the story.
There are a huge number of toys available to parents of toddlers and design on what type of toys are appropriate can seem a little daunting at times (or even all the time). But if you consider that your child will learn different skills through different ways of playing and often explore their world in unexpected ways, the type of toys you choose will only add to their experience.
The only thing you really need to be concerned about is their safety and that the toys are suitable and age appropriate. If you go through the various types of toys we covered in this piece, you should be able to make your choices more easily when you look at what toys to buy. All these different types of toys can benefit your child and any one of these types will be a suitable choice.