It’s that wonderful time of the year, the holiday season. Children are excited with visions of Santa, and presents under the tree. You have made your list, and are ready to explore the stores. But what exactly do you get a toddler for Christmas? “This shouldn’t be that hard,” you think to yourself. You have no trouble picking out their new clothes and shoes, because these should be made to help, not hinder, the child’s active little body. The same should be said for the toys that you buy. You have the chance to purchase just the right toys to help them on their way to learning and having fun.
One of the most important things that a child does is play. Play is the essential joy of childhood, and is also the way children learn about themselves, their environment and the people around them. As they play, children learn to solve problems, get along with other people and control their bodies as they enrich their creativity. When children play with a wide variety of toys, the experiences help them develop their fullest potential.
One to Three Years
A busy toddler needs toys for active physical play — especially things to ride and climb on, such as a low tricycle or a wagon to ride in and pull. Outdoor toys, such as large balls, inflatable toys, a wading pool and a sandbox with digging tools are all good choices.
Toddlers begin to enjoy make-believe play just before their second birthdays. To imitate the adult world around them, they use play food, appliances and utensils, child size play furniture, simple dress-up clothes, and dolls. Children in this age group are particularly interested in sorting and fitting toys, all kinds of blocks and simple puzzles. Toddlers also enjoy musical instruments such as tambourines, toy pianos, horns and drums, as well as listening to tapes. I know you say, “Drums and toy pianos? What is she asking of me?” But, they really do help the toddler to develop their hand-to-eye coordination. Who knows? You might have another Beethoven in the making.
Remember a toddler moves busily within his or her environment, walking, climbing, pushing, and riding, a list of the toys below will be a great start to a wonderful future.
Push and Pull Toys
Small tricycle (ones without the pedals)
Balls over 1.75 inches in diameter
Crayons or Washable Markers