Top 10 Toddler Development Toys

Happy February everyone! Is it just me or did January feel like it went by incredibly slow? I haven’t posted in a while and well, one of my resolutions is to try and get into the swing of posting new content on here at least every other week. I have a lot on my plate, all the time, but working hard to find a rhythm that allows me to do more of what I love (which includes blogging!).

I get asked a lot about toys and different things that I post photos or videos of Jed playing with. We have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by physical, occupational and speech therapists who have helped us find great toys for our son that he loves and also that benefit him and his learning.

I sat down and compiled a list of 10 toys for toddlers that I have found wonderful for Jed and his development. They all have different benefits and all target different areas of play and learning. Each item is linked as well to where you can purchase it and is followed by a brief explanation to why it’s made my top 10. I hope it’s helpful!

1.Wooden Puzzles:

We have like 6 of these from letters to animals to modes of transportation. We also have some with large wooden pegs, small plastic pegs and no pegs at all. Our son loves them all! He can play with these for a long time and it’s how he learned a lot of his first words. In addition to learning words, it helps develop fine motor skills when they pick up the pieces and also when they try to fit each shape back into its place. Melissa & Doug is our go-to brand for these!

2. Easel:

A must have for any toddler. Ours is from Ikea and is a chalkboard on one side and a white board on the other. We tried giving Jed those egg crayons and he didn’t care for them at first. So we bought an easel and gave him some fat pieces of chalk and he has not stopped drawing since. He loves to draw now and has colored my whole apartment (at least its chalk). It’s also opened him up to coloring with crayons, markers and even paint. I can go on about the benefits of an easel forever but in addition to great creative play time and fine motor skills, we use the chalkboard to teach him colors, words, objects, shapes letters and more.

3. Mr. Potato Head:

I had associated Mr. Potato Head for a long time as a Toy Story toy. But then after seeing it used in Jed’s Occupational Therapy sessions, I remembered that he’s not just a character on Toy Story but an excellent learning toy! We use Mr. Potato Head tot teach Jed body parts. Also helps with fine motor by removing the pieces and placing them back into the small holes. Basic, excellent toy!

4. Books:

This is an obvious one but I can’t urge books enough. We have a son who has been shown books since he was a baby. And now, although he is naturally drawn to technology as most kids are, he loves his books JUST as much. The most successful books we have found for him have been books with flaps, books with textures and books with buttons and sounds. In particular, Jed is very found of Eric Carle books. He’s learned a lot of his animals and animal sounds with his books.

5. Stacking Train:

We had intended on getting Jed a stack and sort wooden toy but then my aunt sent Jed this train version and she completely knocked it out of the park. Jed used to have a hard time sitting and focusing on things like this where he had to be patient and stack shapes into a peg. But his love for trains and anything with wheels made him very interested in this. He now takes all the blocks off himself and restacks them unassisted. Its been great for his hand eye coordination, imagination and also shape and color recognition.

6. Toddler Basketball Hoop:

Yeah, a basketball hoop! This is such an awesome toy to have. For starters, it encourages social skills and team sports which is a wonderful thing. It also helps work on gross motor skills like throwing, catching, jumping and overall coordination. Jeds physical therapist uses it a lot with him and he grew to love it so we had to have one at home. We like this one in particular because you can adjust the height as your little one grows.

7. Magna-Tiles:

Jed has a little light table in his room where we throw these tiles onto and he will sit and play for a LONG time. He is slightly more interested in these than the Mega Blocks (which are great also). These tiles encourage creativity, shape and color recognition, math, science and so much more.

8. Stacking Cups:

Such a simple toy but so much versatility. This one that I linked in particular is awesome. For starters it’s a great bath toy. Encourages kids to scoop water and watch it strain through the many different patterns in these cups. The cups also encourage learning numbers (as they are all numbered) and colors. You can also connect each cup and create a colorful caterpillar that gets my son so excited everytime. Also, you can flip them upside down and stack them to form a tower or flip them right side up for nesting/stacking. Great for hand-eye coordination and in so many different ways!

9. Kinetic Sand:

We have both playdough and kinetic sand and kinetic sand is by far a bigger hit in our house. This is a must for sensory. It can be packed, pulled, formed into a shape and is incredibly addicting (even for adults hah). It never drives out and provides easy clean up as the sand sticks to itself. The texture is funny but that’s exactly why its such a great sensory toy. Great to also stimulate creativity.

10. Pretend Food:

Great for pretend play, color recognition, number skills, sorting and grouping and also to learn food words. This is how my son learned what a lot of different foods items are called. We now ask him to bring us specific items and he knows them all. There are also versions that place a piece of velcro between two slices of food and you can stick them together or slice them with a wooden knife. Great for hand eye coordination as well.

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