As requested by a handful of readers, I put together this post sharing some of the "toddler toys" that help Carter and I get through our day. These toys are broken down into categories that focus on a specific area of learning and fun! Girl moms, I apologize in advance that this post will be particularly train and truck-heavy. I'm sure you could substitute with doll strollers and princess little people!
This is just a smattering of toys that we use on an almost daily basis to incorporate a little bit of learning into our fun.
1. Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads Under careful and close observation, Carter loves these beads. After demonstrating to him the lacing technique, he picked it up in a matter of minutes and now he loves to sit and string beads. This is a great activity as it encourages fine motor skills and as he grows, will help him learn more about colors and patterns.
2. Melissa and Doug Puzzles Currently, Carter's favorite puzzles are the Melissa and Doug Sound Puzzles. Although they aren't incredibly difficult puzzles to master, I would be lying if I said he didn't learn at least 8 different animal sounds and vehicle sounds by playing with them. We have the Zoo Animals, Farm Animals and Vehicle Sounds puzzles. Word to the wise: Place all puzzle pieces in a zip lock bag and tape it to the back of the puzzle for easy storage when not in play.
3. Mega Blocks Building towers and knocking them down provides a great activity that can be done anywhere. The perfect size blocks for tiny hands, Carter loves to build and tear down. This is one of my go-to activities for him when I'm sitting down to nurse the baby.
With easy to manipulate controls (no more than two buttons) Carter loves zooming around the house with these toys. The perfect size for little hands, these toys are great on-the-go! He was given all three of these as birthday presents and they each have their own great qualities. For instance, Steam n' Speed Thomas toots kid-safe steam and Jumbo the Jet is not only a remote control plane, but he is bilingual and a shape sorter!
1. Melissa and Doug Multi-Activity Wooden Table Hands down this is Carter's favorite "toy" of the moment. We currently have this table set up as a train table with this set of trains and he will spend hours playing with it each day. It encourages great imaginative interaction as well as fine tuning motor skills as he helps build and deconstruct the tracks and pushes his trains around. I love that this table in particular comes with a drawer for extra storage of all those pieces of track and train.
2. Green Toys This is one of my favorite brands of "truck" toys out on the market today. I stumbled across them in a local "learning" store and have been hooked ever since. These toys are often made from recycled milk jugs and are all around environmentally friendly. They also have a myriad of working parts, doors that open and close and they don't make noise which encourages imaginative play in toddlers. Again, here are Carter's favorites!
Many of these toys we keep out in the backyard or on the back deck but in a pinch, we drag them into the playroom (or the kitchen, who am I kidding) for some extra "new" fun in the house. When in doubt, give your toddler a ball (or three) and it will encourage them to work on gross motor skills like running, kicking and balance.
Although the following toys may drive you to the brink of your sanity, toddlers love to bang things and make noise. What better way to encourage that than with musical instruments? I'm a big fan of B Toys and this drum (and accompanying instruments) has provided endless hours of fun for Carter. He is especially fond of the maracas.
We recently discovered Play-Doh (once again, under careful parent supervision) and Carter is obsessed. We purchased an activity kit that came with scissors, a rolling pin, cookie cutter shapes and a doh press and it's a great activity for little hands. With different textures and the ability to roll, press, cut, shape and mold, it provides an out of the ordinary sensory activity. Pipe cleaners by the handful are also a great sensory activity and with endless options to bend and create!
Not only are these great toys for this age grouping but they are also excellent gift ideas for little toddler birthday parties!
What is your little one's favorite toy or activity?