What’s in a Toy?
At the tender age of two, a toddler’s mind and imagination are growing by the second, and it’s of utmost importance that you’re encouraging and facilitating that growth. At around this age, children’s appetite for learning is insatiable.
For adults, it’s important to provide the child with the kind of toys that are going to facilitate learning and growth. Of course, those toys have to be fun as well. But, what makes a toy “good”?
What are the best kinds of toys to help a child’s development? Does it have to be educational, or provide the child with the basis of skills they’ll need to learn later in life? Not necessarily. In short, the best toy for children is a toy that will engage them, that they can use in whatever way they have in mind at the moment. In order for a toy to be good, and worth purchasing, it needs to allow the child to exercise their mind and body in at least one of the areas below.
Just because kids are creating more problems than they solve at age two, they’re still solving them, too! Toys that allow children to solve problems are a great way to stimulate young minds. Toys like puzzles and sortable objects are a great choice for toddlers.
It’s also important to provide toddlers with toys that foster their imaginative side as well. Toys like building blocks, transportation toys, sand and water toys and dress-up clothes are all great options for the two-year-old in your life.
The earlier a child can embrace their creative side, the better. Buying your child a play tent or even a play house is a perfect way to help them use their imagination or just buying non-toxic markers, crayons, paint brushes, easels, fingerpaint and the like all make great gift options. Rhythm instruments like drums are also an excellent choice for children at this age.
During this time, it’s critical that the child in your life can exercise their tiny muscles as they continue to develop and grow. Toys that encourage outdoor exercise and allow children to work their muscles are another great option. Some obvious types of toys fall into this category, such as sports equipment, Football sets, cricket sets, tennis sets, badminton sets and ride on equipment but there are also some less obvious toys, such as large puzzles, hammering toys, tunnels and climbers.
At this age, audio and visual toys are another great options for kids. As an added benefit, they also tend to provide a bit of relief for parents, as well, since we all know nothing keeps children entertained and out of trouble quite like putting them in front of their favourite video.
Another important consideration when purchasing toys is whether or not the toy is age appropriate. In the grand scheme of things, children grow and mature very quickly. However, a toy that does not match a child’s current skills and abilities is going to be less fun at best, and dangerous at worst. By providing children with toys which are age appropriate, you’re going to inspire the child to learn, play and have fun.
If the boy in your life isn’t two, then take a look at our round up’s for other ages:
Why Are Toys Important?
For one, toys are fun! Beyond that, there are several ways in which toys are important or even critical to a child’s development. Through play with toys, kids build important skills. They learn cognitive, social and emotional skills like creative thinking, communication, adaptability, consequences, decision making, empathy and spatial and body awareness.
In many ways, toys effectively allow children to teach themselves. Through things like role play and imaginative thinking, children get to experience a variety of different challenges and contexts within a safe space that they can feel comfortable and confident in.
A Word About Safety
It may seem like it goes without saying, but it’s extremely important that you provide kids with toys that are safe, especially at this age. Of course, we assume any toy that’s on the market would be perfectly safe, but in many cases, that is unfortunately not the case. Each year, thousands of children wind up in the hospital as a result of toy related injuries.
The government does a great job of regulating product safety, especially for children. But, there are still instances where toys malfunction or otherwise cause injury to a child. For the most part, every caution is taken to provide kids with safe toys to play with, but there is no replacement for supervising the child as they play. Supervision is the best way to prevent toy related injuries to the child.
When it comes to buying toys, here’s a helpful checklist to consider.
- If a toy is made of fabric, make sure it’s fire retardant.
- Make sure you’re providing toys that are age appropriate.
- Any stuffed animals or dolls should be machine or hand washable.
- Art materials must be non-toxic and if possible, washable.
- Be sure to closely check older toys or hand-me-downs to make sure the toy is still safe and in good working order.
- Ensure that any paint or varnish that’s on the toy is non-toxic and lead free.
- Avoid anything that’s smaller than 4.5 centimetres in diameter, including things like coins, marbles, small beads, tiny balls or other small parts.
- If the toy uses batteries, make sure the battery cover secures with a screw. Battery covers that clip in can be manipulated by the child.
At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any (or even all) of these toys. However, there’s one toy on this list which seems to check every box. The Children Hub 96 Piece Magnetic Building Block set is our personal favourite.
This toy is extremely adaptable, and will continue to delight the child as he continues to grow, learn and progress. It’s easy enough to have fun with right out of the box, but it will also challenge the child’s imagination the more they learn and play with the toy.
Plus, there’s nothing like the look of pride on a young boy’s face when he makes something that he’s proud of. With a total of 96 pieces, the toy is also quite substantial. So, it has a bit of “wow” factor when the child unwraps it.
This building block set is also BPA free, so it’s completely safe. Plus, since it’s magnetic, the pieces connect together very easily, and the toy can be used over and over again without any wear. This set from The Children Hub will inspire creativity while developing skills like colour and shape recognition, building, math, spatial reasoning and more. Overall, the toy checks every box and is sure to provide the child in your life with years of learning and enjoyment.