Choosing Developmentally Appropriate Toys

December 18, 2019
Choosing Developmentally Appropriate Toys

Toddlers learn best through play, and the holidays can be a great time to give gifts that will nurture your child’s cognitive, physical, language, and social/emotional development. There are already lots of opportunities for play and discovery all around us! Keep reading for tips on how you can find safe, fun, and developmentally appropriate toys:

1. Choose toys that can be used in a variety of ways – Toddlers love to take apart, put back together, pull out, put in, add on, and build up. Toys should be “open-ended” in the sense that your child can play many different games with them, like blocks. Open-ended toys benefit your child’s imagination and help them develop problem-solving and logical thinking skills.

2. Find toys that will grow with your child – Look for toys that will have different uses and be fun in different ways at various developmental stages, like trains, plastic animals, or action figures.

3. Select toys that encourage exploration and problem-solving – Toys that give your child a chance to figure something out on his or her own – or with a little scaffolding from you – build logical thinking skills and will help your child become a better problem-solver. Toys like puzzles, shape sorters, and nesting blocks are great options.

4. Look for toys that spark your child’s imagination – Your child’s creativity is blooming, and toys like dress-up clothes, toy food, and toy tools will nurture their imagination. Pretend play builds language and literacy skills, problem-solving skills and the ability to sequence (put events in a logical order).

5. Provide toys for nurturing literacy – Look for things to help your child develop early writing and reading skills, like books, sand paper letters, and art supplies.

6. Select toys that encourage your child to be active – Look for toys that help your child practice gross motor development, like silk scarves, balls of different shapes and sizes, wagons, and gardening tools.

7. Remember the more a toy does, the less your child has to do – The more children have to use their minds and bodies to make something work, the more they learn.

For more tips on how you can choose developmentally appropriate toys for your child, click here.

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