As a parent one of your primary concerns should be sourcing safe toys for toddlers. Toddlers simply cannot play with absolutely anything and even when you have provided them with ‘safe’ toys you need to monitor them as frequently as possible without being overbearing. Clearly certain toys are more suitable for toddlers than others.
Popular Types Of Safe Toys
Before we have a look at some specific safe toys for toddlers that you can purchase in stores and online, let us consider what types of toys are suitable for children at this age:
- Toddlers like to act on their environment, so Push and Pull Toys, preferably ones which make noise or that play music, are an ideal way to keep them entertained.
- Push bikes and other mobile toys that have no pedals are considered to be safe toys for toddlers when they are two or older and are supervised.
- Stacking blocks are educational as well as safe and promote constructive activities while at the same time allowing toddlers to be as destructive as they like.
- Age-appropriate puzzles are safe if the pieces are large and they promote problem-solving skills.
- Pop-up toys can keep your toddler entertained for hours of amusement.
- Depending on the age of your toddler, Shape Sorters may be appropriate and will also serve an educational purpose.
- Large lightweight balls that can be easily thrown and kicked without risk of damaging your child (or anything else in your home) are also a good choice.
- Bath toys go a long way to keeping your children entertained in the bath and also make bath time an exciting experience.
- Although most parents do not like noisy toys, the ones designed for toddlers are safe and educational. Musical toys with a shaking or banging function are great for younger toddlers.
- Crayons and paper promote creativity and crayons made for toddlers are non-toxic even if they do decide to eat them.
- For older toddlers, clay, chalk and boards are appropriate and are a natural extension of playing with crayons and paper.
- Books, preferably sturdy plastic, cloth, or colorful ones with big pictures, are ideal for toddlers and are the first step in promoting reading acuity.
- Older toddlers enjoy pretend play sets like garages, airports, dollhouses and so on as this allows them to start using their developing imagination.
This is an extremely popular toy for toddlers and is offered by Little Tikes, a leader in the manufacturing of safe and educational children’s toys. Children as young as 6 months old can play with this toy. It continues to hold its appeal until about 36 months of age. The Little Champs Activity Football is a ball that is shaped like a football and that contains lights and sounds, activated when the ball is moved around. This is an ideal toy for stimulating sensory skills.
If you want to buy this toy now and let your child get the best of it, don’t hesitate.
2: Soft & Sturdy Building Projects
This is a toy that is offered by Step 2, and is aimed at being educational as well as an option that is guaranteed to be safe for your young child. The pieces are made from sturdy foam and are meant to represent bits of wood. Your toddler is therefore given the opportunity to construct many different objects using these pieces of ‘wood’. This inspires creativity in your toddler, but in addition to this it also enhances his or her fine motor coordination and skills, a very important developmental milestone for children at this age. It comes with interlocking pieces, as well as nuts and bolts that can be easily fastened by children, allowing them to let their imagination soar and to construct many different objects.
In addition to the Step 2 website you can also find this toy at several Wal-Mart stores, although it is essential that you call ahead first as you cannot be certain that the toys will be in stock or that that particular supplier provides Step 2 merchandise for customers.
3: Lincoln Logs
At this age building toys are the most appropriate options for your toddlers and it is therefore ideal that you purchase toys such as Lincoln Logs. These toys give children the opportunity to build a number of different objects, thereby promoting their constructive nature and motor skills. Lincoln Logs are, as the name implies, shaped like logs, allowing children to build miniature log cabins and other log structures. The specific skills that these toys are aimed at developing are fine motor skills and creativity as the child is given the opportunity to construct many different items. It must be noted that, because this toy contains some small parts, it is not ideal for toddlers who are younger than three years of age. Age appropriate toys should be considered above other options when purchasing gifts for small children as the age limits are there for a reason.
We’ve all heard of Tonka trucks. Well Tonka Wheel Drivers Scoot ‘N Scoop 3-in-1 Ride-On is a version of these sturdy toys that, you guessed it, your toddler will actually be able to physically ride on. This makes it one of the most popular toys as toddlers love to be mobile and have that feeling of independence. It comes in the form of a triple duty truck and is considered suitable for children ranging in age from 9 months to 3 years. One of the key advantages of this toy is that it can be used as a walker for younger children and can thereby assist in the transition from crawling to walking, thereby improving your child’s mobility and helping them gain more confidence more quickly. After walking has been achieved, it can be used as a digging tool, and, for 3 year olds, it then becomes a toy that can be ‘driven’. The price is not bad considering the multiple educational and enjoyment uses to which it can be put at several stages of your child’s development.
This is an old classic that should not be forgotten. Tinkertoy is one of the most basic constructions and building sets that are available for toddlers. Like Lincoln Logs the purpose of Tinkertoy is to build creativity and fine motor skills in your toddler, and it has long been recognized as one of the best toys on the market for achieving this aim. However, because of the small pieces included in the set, it is only appropriate for toddlers who are three years old or older. Tinkertoy is a safe toy that will provide many opportunities for versatile and engaging play time.
Tips For Choosing Safe Toys For Toddlers
When shopping for toys for your toddler, keep the following in mind:
- Fabric-based toys MUST be labeled as flame retardant. If they are not they pose a fire hazard.
- Stuffed toys should be washable in order to make your life easier – toddlers are messy players.
- Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint as lead is associated with numerous health problems when ingested by children.
- Art materials should be labeled as nontoxic as toddlers are inclined to try eating anything.
- Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that they’ve been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials and are therefore non-toxic to young children.
Toy Safety Tips
The following are some basic safety tips to consider when purchasing toys for toddlers:
- Toys always have age limits on them. This is for a reason. Toys designed for older children pose choking hazards to toddlers as there are often small pieces. Children younger than three are in the habit of putting practically anything in their mouths. Specifically, you should avoid toys with small parts that can fit inside a choke test cylinder or no-choke testing tube, which measures 1 1/4 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches long and simulates the size and shape of a young child’s throat.
- Another choking hazard is posed by balloons. When they are inflated they are fine and can be thrown and kicked around safely. However you should not let your toddler play with an uninflated or broken balloon.
- Avoid marbles, balls, and games with balls that have balls with a diameter of 1.75 inches or less. These products also pose a choking hazard to young children.
- Any games or toys that include magnets should be avoided at all costs. Magnets are small and can be swallowed and, if two or more magnets connect in your child’s intestines, this can cause blockages. In addition they are an obvious choking hazard.
- Toddlers like to pull on toys and twist them, so choose toys that are well made. Choking hazards are posed when a child is able to pull off a smaller part of a larger toy and place it in his mouth.
Build Your Own Safe Toys
Because safe and popular toys are not always affordable it must be noted that it is a viable option to build your own toys for toddlers. In this way you can be certain that the toy is safe, and you can also have a large degree of control over the cost. Materials for building your own toys are no expensive.
When creating a toy, keep it simple. Toddlers are terribly interested in detail, so use basic shapes and limit the decoration used. Primary colors are the most attractive at that age. The toys you make should be small enough to pick up, but too large to be placed in your toddler’s mouth. Natural materials (wood, cotton, etc.) are safer and more durable. Try to make toys which can be used in a number of different ways as this will inspire imagination and creativity in your toddler.
Make a rattle by putting a few pieces of pasta inside an old floppy disc box or make a drum out of a paper oatmeal canister.
Cut some shapes out of a 2-by-4, sand carefully and paint to create blocks.
Child safety is one of the top priorities for parents, and this extends further than simply making sure that your child is protected from external harm. There are plenty of things that can go wrong inside your own home, and finding safe toys for toddlers can go a long way to preventing a number of common household accidents from occurring. If possible you should buy and make toys that are educational as well as safe, thereby killing two birds with one stone.