Toddlers are becoming aware of the function of objects. They like to stack blocks, babble into a toy phone, or drink from a "big kid" cup. The concept of pretend play starts now. Your little one might tuck a baby doll into bed at night or make "choo choo" noises while pushing a toy train.
This lays the groundwork for preschool play, when using the oven timer in a play kitchen or ringing the bell in a pretend fire truck signifies your child's growing understanding that each item serves a purpose.
Your toddler also will begin to differentiate colors and shapes. So choose toys that are bright, colorful, and fun for little hands to hold. By age 2, most toddlers can kick a ball, scribble with a crayon, and build towers four or more blocks tall. By age 3, they can do simple puzzles and pedal a tricycle.
Expect to see a lot of repetition, as that's how little ones master new skills and learn they have some control over the world around them.
Smart Toys for Toddlers
Balls.Whether they're bounced, rolled, caught, or thrown, balls encourage gross motor skills, hand–eye coordination, and dexterity.
Shape-sorting toys.Pegboard puzzles, nesting cups or blocks, and buckets with holes for different shaped blocks challenge hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.
Mechanical toys.Pop-up toys and "busy" boxes with knobs, buttons, and levers encourage fine motor skills and problem solving, and teach cause-and-effect.
Role-play toys.Play kitchens, doctor's kits, and golf sets help children learn how the world works by imitating the actions of you and other influential adults. Dolls and stuffed animals encourage pretend play (a tea party for teddy bears, perhaps?) and aid social and emotional development by teaching tots how to express emotions and take care of something they love.