How-to Choose Activities and Toys for Your Toddler?

How-to Choose Activities and Toys for Your Toddler?

Activ­i­ties add fun, learn­ing and enrich­ment to your toddler’s life, and toys will inspire cre­ativ­ity and engage her imag­i­na­tion. Choose activ­i­ties and toys to pro­mote growth and school-readiness skills.

It takes a vil­lage to raise a child.” ~ African Proverb

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Dou­glas Davies rec­om­mends activ­i­ties to add fun, learn­ing and enrich­ment to your child’s life. Observe your child’s inter­ests and choose toys and activ­i­ties based on your under­stand­ing of her skills and abil­i­ties. Remem­ber that too com­plex toys or activ­i­ties will frus­trate her, while too sim­ple toys or activ­i­ties will bore her. Care­ful selec­tion of activ­i­ties will pro­mote growth and help with school-readiness skills — motor devel­op­ment and coor­di­na­tion, social skills, pre-literacy skills, math­e­mat­i­cal skills, and con­cept development.

Joni Levine argues that tod­dlers have short atten­tion spans. Set up two or three short activ­i­ties for half-hour of activ­ity. Be flex­i­ble and respon­sive. If she loses inter­est, mod­ify it or move on to some­thing else. Allow her to do things her­self, but be avail­able to encour­age and guide her through all stages of each activ­ity. Actively involve your tod­dler in activ­i­ties and avoid activ­i­ties such as ‘Musi­cal Chairs,’ where chil­dren are elim­i­nated. Avoid wait­ing by prepar­ing activ­i­ties in advance so that your child does not lose inter­est and can start play­ing right away. Choose activ­i­ties that encour­age her to make choices. Remem­ber that open ended activ­i­ties pro­mote cre­ativ­ity and emo­tional expression.

Use online review sites such as and to eval­u­ate and choose toys. Remem­ber that a worth­while toy will inspire cre­ativ­ity and engage her imag­i­na­tion. Levine rec­om­mends adding a wide range of toys and learn­ing mate­ri­als to her col­lec­tion. Toys such as books, pup­pets, blocks, games, push toys, wag­ons, balls, puz­zles, dress-up clothes, action fig­ures and props will help her develop motor skills, coor­di­na­tion, imag­i­na­tion, prob­lem solv­ing and emo­tions. Remem­ber that safety is the most impor­tant con­cern while select­ing toys. Look at the label for age appro­pri­ate­ness, and ensure that the toy does not present any hazards.

Davies, D. (2010). Child Devel­op­ment (3rd Ed.). New York: Guil­ford Press.
Levine, J. (2006). The Every­thing Tod­dler Activ­i­ties Hand­book. Mass­a­chu­setts: Adams Media.
Puck­ett, M., Black, J., Wittmer, D. & Petersen, S. (2008). The Young Child. New Jer­sey: Pren­tice Hall Higher Education.