Playtime drastically changes when your little one becomes a toddler and starts walking, climbing, and running. At this stage, their physical abilities have improved, and they are also learning a variety of other skills, such as learning to talk, socializing, and playing actual games.
For kids, play is an important form of learning. It's how they interact and understand the world around them. Toddlers like touching and exploring, so toys become much more interesting, especially since they can handle them by themselves. As they learn how things work and experiment with cause and effect, toys become an integral part of their lives.
What Toys Do Toddlers Actually Need?
Toddlers are rapidly developing and learning. They are constantly doing a lot of testing, from jumping to banging things to see if they break, climbing, rolling, and a bit of rough and tumble play. Since they have better motor skills, they require functional toys that are open-ended rather than one-and-done toys.
A one-and-done toy refers to any toy meant to entertain kids rather than encourage them to get creative and entertain themselves. The problem with these toys is once your child is done exploring the toy's purpose, that's it. There is nothing new or interesting that can be done with it. Additionally, when kids play with toys with a familiar script, such as themed toys, their opportunities to engage in imaginative play are limited. This is because they will want to only act out a few limited interactions the character has.
Open-ended play is great for this age
If you are interested in what toys will keep your 2-year-old busy, opt to get them open-ended toys. They offer your child more opportunities to engage in imaginative play. For instance, a stick is quite versatile. It can be a wand, a flagpole, sword, pointer, walking stick, ruler, and more. However, an action figure can only be an action figure since it doesn't have the same versatility. Simplistic play items such as blocks, art supplies, balls, and more let your child decide how they want to play depending on their mood or creative interpretation.
These toys also help develop your child's social, language, problem-solving, communication, creative, and cognitive abilities. They offer a great opportunity to work on their fine and gross motor skills while teaching self-regulation and independent play.
Your toddler doesn't need expensive or complicated toys. They just need something that's safe and appealing to them at this age. Here are a few fantastic toddler toys to keep your little one occupied for hours.
Top Toddler Toys
Since there are so many wonderful open-ended toddler toys available, it's impossible to list all of them here. Instead, the toys on this list are grouped based on what you want your child to learn.
1. Getting ready to read toys
These groups consist of educational toddler toys meant to help your child develop early writing and reading skills. This includes books, letters, numbers, markers, finger paints, crayons, and other art supplies. The Soft Felt Book Bundle with Interactive Play is a great book set that includes 6 books with small felt figures your little one can place in the stories.
2. Real stuff toys
Real-like prop toys are a great way of helping your child figure out how things work. If your little one loves playing with real stuff, such as your phone or computer, consider getting them toys that align with this desire. They can help them problem solve, learn about how things fit together, and enhance their motor skills. Food and dish sets, dress-up clothes, musical instruments, medical kits, vet kits, and any props such as take-out menus, containers, etc.
3. Active toddler toys
At this stage, your toddler is quite active so getting them toys that encourage them to be active is a no-brainer. Since they are stronger and more confident, they can play with toys requiring them to move around, such as balls, trucks, cars, tricycles, bowling sets, wagons, push-and-pull toys, and boxes. The PlanToys Vegetable Garden is a fun way for your child to learn what it's like to have a little vegetable garden. It comes with a wheelbarrow and watering can, 4 veggie beds with removable vegetables, and a spade.
4. Toys that spark imagination
While any of these open-ended toys will spark your child's imagination, some work better than others. Pretend play helps build language and literacy skills as well as enhance your little one's ability to put events in logical order. For instance, when your little one plays dress up, getting dressed as a superhero or princess will help them get into character. Look for toys your child can use to develop their creativity and act out stories.
You can get dress-up clothing, action figures, blocks, stuffed animals, and dolls. You can also use real-life accessories such as shoes, bags, or a water hose for your little firefighter. Your most invaluable toy will probably be the cardboard box. This versatile addition to your little one's toy chest can become anything they want, from a house to a pirate ship, rocket, hideout, bard, or tunnel. Their imagination is the limit.
5. Exploration toys
Play offers kids a chance to practice new skills repetitively, so toys that allow them to work out things independently can provide hours of playtime. These include puzzles, shape sorters, blocks, art materials, paint, Playdoh, slime, and more. With some toys, such as puzzles, your child will need assistance to build up their logical thinking skills and become great problem solvers.
The Wooden Puzzle Set with Shapes and Numbers comes with three colorful wooden puzzles your toddler will enjoy solving. What's great about exploration toys such as puzzles is they also encourage cross-generational play between adults and kids. As kids get older, playing simple board games can be a splendid way to spend time as a family while promoting healthy development. They also get to learn how to be gracious winners and cope with losing.
There are many, many toddler toys available, and these suggestions will make great additions to your child's toy chest. However, remember that your little one doesn't need so many toys; they can make do with a few pieces and their imagination. In fact, the best toys are those that require your little one to use their mind and body to make something work. That's when they learn the most.