Toddlers are experts at making a mess and making noise, but if you don’t want them to make either, here are a few toys that my daughter keeps going back to time and time again. I have chosen these because they capture her attention for longer periods and keep her entertained in solo play and with us. 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Wooden blocks: Large wooden blocks can be lined up, stacked together or made into something specific like a house or a tower. These humble blocks are ideal for getting your toddler to identify colours, numbers and to build something from scratch. This toy gets bonus points for appealing to parents as well as little ones so it’s a great toy to play with together and create something as a team. Plus you can throw it all in a box at the end of playtime and it’s easy to clean if they are handled with sticker fingers! 

Figurines: Obviously, you must be careful to get age appropriate figurines, but these are perfect for helping your toddler to use their imagination. They have to identify the figurine whether this is a character from one of their favourite TV shows or a barnyard animal for instance. Once they have named it or identified what it is- they can give it an activity. So they may want to put it to bed or get them to chase one another if you give them more than one. Your toddler can essentially recreate things that they see and do every day with the figurines and you can ask questions about the toy's appearance and what they are doing to engage your little one in conversation. 

A ball: Sometimes the simple toys are the best. Nothing beats throwing a ball back and forth with your toddler and seeing the joy in their face when they catch it for the first time. It helps them with coordination skills as they learn to catch, kick and run after the ball. Plus it gives them some well needed activity to get them moving and some fresh air in their lungs. 

A fluffy animal or doll: Whatever your toddler’s preference might be, it’s important that they have one toy that they are attached to above all the others in their toybox. To have a favourite stuffed toy or doll teaches them loyalty and the importance of looking after something. If they drop their toy, pick it up and give it a cuddle, you know they understand pain, even if it is at a very basic level- they have a grasp of what it means to be empathetic towards another. 

Play food: An effective way to introduce children to new foods is by having them in toy form first. This will cover a range of fruits and vegetables which you might not ordinarily buy, meaning they wouldn’t see them otherwise. Great for playing shop or kitchen, as well as identifying colours and unusual shapes. You can take this a step further with tea sets, pots and pans and utensils to help them understand more about food preparation too. 

Puzzles: These come in many shapes and sizes, but alphabet, number and shape puzzles are a means of encouraging your toddler to count, to do their ABCs and to identify new shapes they may never have come across before. Anything that is educational and cleverly disguised as a toy will teach your child the things they need to know for nursery in a fun way- so well worth the money you spend on them. 

A wooden train set: These help your toddler to build something that has a specific sequence and the reward at the end of being able to send the train around a fully assembled track is great motivation to get it done. If you choose wisely, you can get cars that are also compatible with the wooden pieces to turn it into a race track too. 

I don’t believe in having lots of toys for your toddler, but a few meaningful toys that have a specific purpose in your child’s development are well worth having around. 

MORE: Seven baby toys that are worth spending your money on 

There are a huge number of toys on the market for babies- some of which are a waste of money and some are well worth the investment- here are my top 7 so you don’t end up with a house full of useless plastic junk and an empty bank account... to read more click HERE

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