Once your baby graduates to toddler, they will be into everything. You may be tempted to buy them endless toys in an attempt to keep them away from things they aren’t allowed (your phone, the oven, the cat etc). A better approach is buy the toys that will hold their attention. My children had hundreds of toys when they were toddlers but only played with a small percentage for more than 5 minutes. Here are the six essential toys for toddlers
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If you’re keen not to have too many toys around, another option is rotation, check out this post on How to Do Toy Rotation
The Classic Essential Toy For Toddlers: Building Blocks
These are the thing my children have played with the most, not just as toddlers but right up to starting school, and beyond if you count Lego. There are a lot of options to choose from, all of which are great so it’s really down to personal preference. Simple wooden building blocks* are great. They are easy for a toddler to get hold of and they can stack them without any fiddling attaching together. The only risk is if your toddler likes to throw things they can do quite a bit of damage. They may not last as long as some of the other options but can be a great starting point.
If you want to go down the route of plain blocks you have two main options, Lego Duplo and Megabloks. Megabloks* are often cheaper but are usually easier to put together. Duplo* can be slightly fiddler for little hands but always feels better quality and you can get some really lovely sets.
Another option to consider is stickle bricks*. These spiky bricks stick together really easily in any position so are easier than duplo and Megabloks but give more building options than plain blocks.
Ride On Toy
A good ride on toy will give a toddler many hours of pleasure. In fact they quite often end up as an alternative chair for them. The kind that have a little storage space under the seat* are always popular as toddlers love to hide things in their. Ones with an extra section that pulls along behind* are great too.
A ride on toy also doesn’t have to have wheels. If you’re short of space, an animal bouncer* can be a great ride option. If you want a ride on toy that you’ll get use out of for a long time then a swivel and ride could be a good option, your toddler will probably just use their feet to start with but as they get older will be able to move it using the swivel movement. You can also check out my guide to choosing ride on toys.
Not so much essential toys for toddlers as essential household items. I would suggest a jug, an old hand wash pump bottle, a Calpol syringe, an empty shampoo bottle, a dropper and a funnel will make bath time great fun for toddlers and are generally much easier to keep clean than proper bath toys. Having said that, I do love the Foam Cone Factory*.
I know a lot of parents hate it, but play doh is one of the great toys for toddlers. Weather it’s shop bought* or homemade, it supports fine motor skill development, creativity, colour awareness and understanding materials. If you really can’t stand the mess, make it an outdoor activity for the summer.
There are some amazing play doh sets* these days but I’ve found they are better suited to older children (mine still get it out occasionally at 7 and 9) as it can be hard for toddlers to squeeze it hard enough to get the desired effect. For toddlers, all that’s required is a rolling pin, cookie cutters or maybe a simple play dough tool kit*.
I have without doubt had my money’s worth out of our play kitchen. We started off with a cheaper plastic one* but it soon became clear it was going to be used a lot and as it’s quite a large toy we decided to invest in a wooden one* that wouldn’t be an eyesore for years to come.
You’ll also need some play food to go along with it as well as some pots and pans*. Toddlers love making pretend meals and delivering them to people so it’s nice to have a good selection, this set* even comes with a draining rack which they’ll love. As they get older you can start to create menus and set up mini restaurants.
Vehicles: An Essential Toy for Toddlers of any Gender
Boy or girl, every toddler loves to spot buses, trucks and fire engines when they’re out and about so vehicles are a great introduction to the “small world” play they’ll do more of when they’re preschoolers.
You’ll want to stick to fairly big and chunky ones at this age (rather than the match box style). The Vtech Toot Toot range* is good. Ones that make sounds and have flashing lights are particularly popular if you can live with It!
So those are the 6 Essential toys for toddlers to keep them entertained and out of trouble. You might also enjoy this post about Outside Toys for Toddlers and this post about play kitchens. If you’re trying to entertain a baby rather than a toddler, check out the 6 essential toys for babies.
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