Do Toddlers Need Toys? A Guide to Choosing the Best Toys for Your Child

Toys are more than just fun and games for children. Most toys provide at least some opportunity for children to learn. The best toys stimulate the child's senses, awaken their imagination and encourage them to interact with others. They also help children develop spatial relationship skills (understanding how things fit together), hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills (using the small muscles of the hands and fingers).

However, toys can also carry risks. Choking is a danger to children 3 years old or younger, because they tend to put objects in their mouths. That's why it's important for parents to check their child's toys and supervise when children play. The larger toys that children manipulate with their whole body are equally useful in helping the child develop physically.

Whether that includes throwing or catching a beach ball, learning to ride a bike, or jumping on a jumper, children who master these skills are better able to perform more difficult tasks later on. A simple set of wooden blocks is absolutely one of the best open-ended basic toys you can have. Children will play with them throughout elementary school. Having a set (or two) of small animals is an open clutch toy.

Kids can use them in sensory containers, art projects, and basically any imaginary play world they can think of. The sweetest set of wooden animals and just the right size to play. A doll house is home to the imaginary game: a place to rescue animals, save from a fire, intricate construction skills and make imaginary montages. It is a house for children to practice social stories at home.

We've had this one for 4 years, it's a joy for ALL my children. It is very common for children to make toy guns out of everyday objects such as sticks, celery or toast. In addition to being safe (see Safety and Toys for Kids below), good toys for toddlers should match their developmental stages and emerging abilities. The noise of some rattles, squeaky toys, and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn, even louder if the child holds it directly to the ears and can lead to hearing loss. When children reach preschool age, it's time to start learning letters, numbers and language skills.

Toys that require you to push, pull, grab, pinch, twist, or use your hands and body to do something are critical to a child's growth. Introducing them to the right toys will help teach them balance and coordination and increase your child's curiosity with their new mobility. Thinking about how your child might play with the toy can help you decide if it's the right fit for you and your child. As I have seen him delight in the gift boxes while ignoring the toys inside, I have become increasingly curious about how many toys children really need. Visit the CPSC website for the latest toy recall information or call their hotline at (800) 638-CPSC to report a toy you consider unsafe.

It's important to remember that typical wear and tear can cause a once safe toy to become dangerous.

Sabrina Leman
Sabrina Leman

Passionate coffee lover. Unapologetic twitter nerd. Incurable social mediaholic. Avid internet fan. Evil internet guru.