Make play time for your child as stimulating as possible with a variety of toys. Choosing an assortment that stimulates different senses and skills not only keeps boredom at bay, it also boosts all-rounded physical and mental development. And there’s no need to buy up the whole store. Hand-me-downs are just as great, as are trading toys with other parents!
Books: Reading to your child is one of the best foundations for literacy and developing listening and language skills. Make a variety available, from alphabet and number types to picture books with clear story lines and nursery rhymes. And get ready to repeat yourself many times, as toddlers love repetition!
Pretend Play: Toys that encourage imagination, role-playing and story-telling build language, literacy and social skills, as well as the ability to put events in logical order. It could be dress up clothing, stuffed animals and dolls, toy vehicles or toy food.
Crayons and Markers: Promote early writing and reading skills by having rough paper and coloured crayons and markers within easy reach.
Push or Pull Toys: Animals on a string, wagons that can be filled and pulled, or even ride-on toys emphasise coordination, role-playing and build arm and leg strength.
Stacking and Building Toys: Blocks, building systems and stacking cups or rings are classics. Not only do they help to develop fine motor skills, they also build hand-eye-coordination and spatial relation skills.
Balls: All types of balls encourage a child to be active. On a higher level, when a child follows the movement of a rolling ball, they also learn to anticipate the location of the ball and adjust their own body’s movement in relation to it.
Stacking Toys and Shape Sorters: When children place a cup on top of another, they are understanding size relationships. And when they push a tower down, he learns about cause and effect. To avoid frustration, make sure the toy you buy is age-appropriate. With puzzles and shape sorters, toddlers under two years old may still need help in recognising which shape goes where. Hand your child a shape and tell them clearly what it is and its colour, then let them try again.
Toys that Fill: Teach your child about size and volume by filling up a small cup and pouring into a bigger cup. Besides water and sand toys, nesting cups are also great for reusing at the beach or at bath time.
Pretend Toys: Toys that look like the real thing, such as toy phones, plastic foods and kitchenware, mops, dustpans and musical instruments, not only spark little imaginations, but also help toddlers develop problem solving skills. Eager to be big and capable like you, they will act out everyday scenes – so go on, be a good example and teach them about the real world.
Characters: Stuffed teddies, dolls and action figures play a big role in developing a toddler’s imagination as well as their emotional well-being. By role-playing or talking to a character toy, a toddler can explore their feelings in a safe environment.
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