I’ve had a home childcare for the past 10+ years and one of the many things I have become an expert in is what toys kids will actually love to play with that also encourage learning.
My Favorite Toddler Toys
I really like wooden stacking and sorting toys. They are great for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination in young toddlers. It’s so much fun watching a child over time learning to master these skills!
Big chunky puzzles and good ole wooden blocks are a must for your toddler playroom. Wooden blocks will grow with your child too; as they get older they will build more sophisticated structures. They last forever; my daycare kids are still using the blocks I bought for my now 20-year-old son!
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*I like to present my stacking toys to the kids in a wooden tray with the pieces apart.*
My Favorite Toys For 3-Year-Olds
Once your child hits 3 they will probably like more challenging puzzles and working with more complicated patterns. A box of magnetic tiles will keep them busy for hours building different shapes and structures.
Encourage learning numbers and counting in a fun way; children learn through play. I don’t know why, but my daycare kids always love playing with “eggs” and the set I have below combines matching colors and counting; plus they can use it over in their kitchen for pretend play.
My Favorite Preschool Learning Toys
As your child gets a little older give them more challenging building toys to play with that will really spark the amazing imaginations they have. You can build anything with a big box of Legos! I discovered Bristle Blocks recently and they are very simple to use-the pieces simply stick together; but just like Legos you don’t want to step on one barefooted…ouch!!
You can never go wrong with a train set; kids can spend hours setting up different tracks and playing with the trains.
Favorite Pretend Play Toys
Pretend play is so important to the development of young minds. They love to imitate their parents and the people they see when they are out in the world. I encourage you to make space for a small play kitchen with some play food and dishes and let them make you “dinner” or have a little tea party. Then afterward they can clean up with their broom and dustpan.
I have the tool bench I have in the picture below and not only is it fun for them to bang on with a hammer they use hand-eye coordination to attach the pieces to the peg board.
Another fun activity is making play dough together. You can find my favorite recipe here
I always see moms asking for advice on what to do with all the toys their kids have and how can they organize them. My best advice is to pare down what you have out. I keep the things that are played with on a daily basis upstairs and the rest down in the basement. I rotate a few different toys up every week or so to keep things fresh. You’d be amazed at how excited a child gets when they see a toy they forgot about!
I know it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what toys to get for your kids; there are just so many! I hope you try a few of the ones I suggested; I’m telling you they will be a hit!