Buying gifts for toddlers can be a bit overwhelming as you don’t know which one you should pick. This article has the sole purpose of helping you figure out the best gift ideas for kids in the age of 1-3 year-old, in other words, for toddlers.
The ideas are related to choosing long-lasting toys that will challenge the kid, promote thinking, physical skills, language skills, and social-emotional skills. Toddlers’ way of learning is by doing. Through play, they can practice and develop new skills by following their interests. The toys have the opportunity to shape the kid in many important ways.
You would think that by having so many options, your task of choosing a gift will be easy, but actually, it is the opposite. So, the question is how to choose the right one. Can you tell if it is a quality and long-lasting toy? Will the toy keep the child’s attention for more than just a few weeks? Bellow, we have gathered few ideas that should help you with choosing toys that will challenge the child, grow with them, and help with the child’s overall development.
1. Pick a toy that can be used in many ways.
What toddler like to do is take the toy apart, put it back together, put in, pull out, and build it back up. Therefore, pick a toy that your kid can play a variety of games with it. Such an example would be the chunky plastic interlocking blocks or wooden blocks, which can be used for building many kinds of buildings. These are the kind of toys that will make your child’s imagination do the work and thus help with his/her logical and problem-solving skills. A few good examples of these kind gift ideas for even 1-year-old ones are: Interlocking blocks, blocks, nesting cups and blocks, toys for water and sand play.
2. Pick a toy that will grow with the toddler.
It is not uncommon for kids to play with some toy for few days only and never touch it again. You can prevent that by buying toys that can keep their attention at different development stages. The small plastic animals can both be fun for a toddler and older toddler because it offers many ways to play with it. Examples: Toddler-friendly dollhouse, plastic animals or action figures, dump trucks or trains or other vehicles, stuffed dolls, and animals.
3. Pick toys that will inspire problem-solving and exploration.
Throughout the play, kids are given a chance to practice and develop new skills. Toys that induce the kid to figure something out with the help of someone or on their own will build their problem-solving and logical thinking skills. These kinds of toys will also help the kid to understand how things are fitting together or the spatial relations skills, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. Examples: Shape-sorters, puzzles, blocks, clay, crayons, paint, play-dough, nesting cups, and blocks. A great example also is radio control boats which can be fun to play with and learn.
4. Pick toys that would spark the toddler’s imagination.
By the time the child turns three, his/her creativity is taking off, and can start imagining that he is something else like a king or queen, and his/her blocks are the castle. What you should do is find toys that will help your child develop and act out his imaginary stories. The pretend play will help the child to build literacy and language skills, problem-solving skills and to put events in a logical order or the ability to sequence. Examples: Blocks, dress-up clothing, toy plastic plates and food, action figures, trucks and trains, stuffed dolls and animals, toy tools, toddler-friendly dollhouses. You can also use some things that you already have at home, as the paper tube from the wrapping paper or the all-purpose cardboard box. Boxes from the TV or the refrigerator can become ships, barns, houses, castles, tunnels. It is all up to the child’s imagination.
5. Allow your toddler to have a chance at playing with toys that are looking like the real thing.
The toddler starts to get good at figuring out how things in the world work, like remotes from the television and light switches. They will also like to play with the real stuff like your mobile phone because they cannot wait to become capable and big like you. These kinds of toys will help the toddler with the problem-solving aspect, also learn the spatial relations, and develop fine motor skills, which are the muscles in the fingers and the hands. Examples: Toy keys, plastic food, and dishes, toy phone, musical instruments, dress-up clothes, child-size mops, brooms, and dustpans.
6. Don’t forget to throw in some “getting ready to read” toys.
Magnetic alphabet letters, books, and supplies like crayons, markers, or fingerpaints will help the toddler to develop early reading and writing skills. The everyday stuff like catalogs, take-out menus, and magazines will start to look fun for the toddler to look at as he/she starts to get familiar with the text, letters, and print. These are all very good gift ideas for 3-year-old girls and boys.
7. Look for toys that will inspire the toddler to be active.
Toddlers will start doing many physical tricks as they become stronger and more confident with their bodies. Your role is to encourage and cheer on his/her newest achievements on the playground. Pick toys that will help the toddler to practice his/her current physical skills and also develop new ones. Examples: three-wheeled scooter or tricycles, balls of different sizes and shapes, plastic, bowling sets, pull-toys, plastic bowling sets, wagons to fill and pull, moving boxes which the toddler can use to make tunnels, gardening tools the toddler can use to dig.
8. Pick toys that will nurture cross-generational play.
Toddlers and adults can play together almost anything, but some toys are specifically designed for adult participation. When your toddler is approaching age 3, and beyond, you can start playing early board games which use the memory of the participants or games that do not require the participants to read. You can start a little tradition where you pick a night, and you play board games together. The board games will inspire matching, counting, memory skills, and also listening skills, and self-control, meaning the toddler will learn to follow the rules. Board games also inspire relationship-building skills, and they nurture the language. Another important aspect is that the toddler will learn to be a gracious winner and to cope with losing. These are the best gift ideas for toddlers that we found for you.