15 August 2003

Choosing the right toys for your toddler

Most parents have had the frustrating experience of spending a fortune on a toy, only to have their toddler losing interest in it after two days, or even worse, finding the box it came in much more interesting than the toy itself.

Toys can be very expensive and parents who want the best for their toddlers often end up spending a lot on items that end up gathering dust in a forgotten corner.

It is important to remember that toddlers are at a stage in their development where they are exploring and discovering the world. This is an extremely exciting process and toys often lose the battle for the toddler’s attention.

Parents often also buy toys that they find interesting and attractive and then feel taken aback when their toddlers do not share their enthusiasm.

What are the right toys to choose then for your toddler?

  • Buy things that are solid and simple. Toys that break easily frustrate children. Make sure there are no sharp edges or things that can splinter.
  • Balls are always good toys to choose. Not only do they improve toddler’s hand-eye co-ordination, they also give rise to varied activities and often initiate social interaction between youngsters.
  • Toy telephones are always a hit. You can have pretend conversations with your toddler and as in the case of dolls and stuffed toys, they encourage role play and fantasy activities.
  • Books with stiff pages always go down well. The pictures can be stimulating and help toddlers to recognise and identify things, thereby also increasing their vocabulary. Generally, story books, except the simplest ones, are best kept until they are older.
  • Form boards and stacking rings, although found all over, are a bit limiting and dull and toddlers tend to lose interest in them quite quickly. The skills they learn by playing with these items can easily be learnt playing with normal household items.
  • Toddlers tend to prefer plain paper and crayons to colouring-in books. Few of them are able to colour in accurately, and young as they are, they realise that something they are doing is not right. Praise their efforts – especially if these are not on the walls.
  • Simple mechanical toys are always a hit. Anything with levers, push buttons, dials and hinges tend to hold their attention for a long time.
    They tend to have far greater value than complicated battery-operated toys, which often require very little interaction or involvement from the toddler.
  • When buying building blocks, it is always a good idea to buy blocks that are lightweight as wood is heavy and can sometimes be a bit too heavy to play with.
  • All children play differently. Let them explore and do not be concerned if they do not play with something in the expected manner.
  • Put a few favourite toys in a bag and take them wherever you take your toddler. Toddlers become restless when they are bored and this is a good way of keeping them entertained wherever they are.
  • And above all, remember that toys are there to help your toddler to enjoy discovering the world.
    Let them do it in a way they enjoy!




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