Holiday Gift Guide for Toddlers (1-3 years)

Posted on by admin | in Nanny Jobs

Toddlers are often hard to buy for because there are so many options that are geared specifically for them available.  As you begin to purchase gifts for your toddler, keep in mind that they are learning very quickly at this stage, so giving them toys that help foster the learning process will improve their learning curve.  At this stage babies are working on social, emotional, language, intellectual and problem solving skills, according to Marilyn Segal Ph.D., director of the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies.

  1. Blocks- Starting at age 1, kids begin to enjoy stacking things up and then knocking them over.  Your youngster enjoys moving around her environment, and blocks will allow her to sort as well.  The more colorful the blocks are, the better, as they will be visually stimulating and you can use them to start teaching your child colors.
  2. Push and pull toys- Around 1 year old kids typically start walking, so toys that they can push or pull are smart choices because they will encourage your child to practice their walking skills while they play.  Two popular options that fulfill these needs are the chatter phone and the pull toy dog.
  3. Simple puzzles- Toys that fit together and come apart are developmentally appropriate for toddlers who are 2 to 3 years old.  Make sure the pieces are big and that the toy is geared for toddlers.  Soft toys that fit together, like stuffed rings over a stuffed cylinder, work well for this because the child will learn to stack different sizes on and off of the cylinder.  This toy also comes in plastic, and either option would be appropriate.
  4. Small toys to ride- Toddlers are testing their skills and usually love toys they are able to ride on.  There are many of these type toys on the market, so pick what appeals to you.  Some of these ride-on toys combine picking up blocks as well, which allows you to get more “bang” for your buck.  A popular toy in this category is the cozy coupe.
  5. Starter tri-cycles- A popular choice here is the big wheel.  Toddlers will take a while to figure out how to pedal, and at the beginning he will likely push it with his feet.  Be patient; as he develops he will figure out how to use the pedals.
  6. Balls- Toddlers are exploring their world and working on walking, running, jumping and throwing, and balls are a great option to help foster these different things. Get a toddler bat and ball to start your future pro out early.
  7. Pounding toys- Toddlers like to pound on things, and as their hand and eye coordination improves they will get better and better at that activity.  Toys that come with pegs and a plastic hammer would work well, or you could find one where you match up the colored balls and pound them so they go through the maze inside and come out the bottom.
  8. Shape toys- There are many toys on the market that allow toddlers to fit a shape through a lid or side of the toy.  When all of the shapes are inside, the toddler gets to dump them all out again, which goes back to their love of knocking things over and dumping things out on the ground.
  9. Fill and dump toys- Many bath toys provide plenty of filling and dumping fun.  Toddlers can sit up in the bath by this age and want to have toys to play with while they are in the tub.  Toddlers can learn a lot by filling and dumping.
  10. Beginner arts and crafts- Cards that can be threaded are appropriate for toddlers in this age group.  Show him how to thread it one way and then thread it another way.  These toys come in handy when you need your child to stay quiet and occupied.

Remember, a toddler’s work is his play. Choosing toys for this age group is really quite simple if you keep in mind what skills they are developing. A good rule of thumb is that the more a toy does, the less a child can do with it. While it can be tempting to purchase technologically advanced toys, simple toys like blocks and balls are often the best choice.

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