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Monday, October 19, 2009

Top Five Toy Ideas for Toddlers


The holidays are right around the corner, and you are probably already thinking about what to get your little ones. If you have older children, they will more than likely have no problem letting you know exactly what they want this Christmas (including size, color, and precisely what aisle of the store it can be found on…). Toddlers, on the other hand, can be a bit more difficult to shop for.


Because children between the ages of two and five grow and change so quickly, it can be hard to choose items that will not only be fun for them now, but in the year ahead. As small children learn new things and master new skills, the same ole toys he's playing with now probably won't cut it in a few short months.


Luckily, there a few toddler toy options that kids can enjoy now, and in the years to come.


Blocks and other stacking toys: Younger toddlers learn fine motor skills and hand eye coordination by stacking a few blocks on top of each other. They also learn the concept of cause and effect as they knock the blocks over again and again. Older toddlers and preschoolers continue to enjoy these toys by building actual structures and playing pretend. They can build houses, bridges, people, castles almost anything they want. The usefulness and play value of most blocks is limited only by your child's imagination.


Drawing materials: This can include easels, markers, crayons, paper, finger paints, and anything else kids can use to make their mark. Not only will kids be able to create and use their budding imaginations, but drawing with your child is a great way to introduce color recognition, shape recognition, and early reading and writing skills. By watching you make different shapes and letters, they can more easily learn and follow suit.


Climbing toys and indoor playgrounds: These are always a hit with kids from crawling age all the way to upper elementary school (if the unit can accommodate older kids). By climbing and jumping around kids not only master the use of virtually every major muscle group, they also have a lot of fun.


Play kitchens and play food toys: There is nothing a child likes more than being just like mom and dad. These toys allow them to prepare meals and care for their "children" just like you do, without all the dangers and mess of your real kitchen. Not only that, but these toys grow with children. Young toddlers find it amusing just to pretend to cook and clean, while older children use these items as props in more sophisticated imaginative play.


Sand and water tables: You would be hard pressed to find a child of almost any age who didn’t love to build with sand and splash around in the water. Sand and water tables are great for families with kids of various ages because more than one child can play at once. Smaller kids will love feeling the texture of sand and exploring the water with their hands, while older toddlers and preschoolers love to use play tables in conjunction with other toys in imaginative games. (action figures trekking across the dessert, or submarines diving beneath the ocean).

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