Toy Guide for 2-3 yr old Children

Next in developing your character, you need to establish some interests and basic skills. This is the age when we encourage pretend play, creating things, and mimicking adults. Our children have sort of imitated us up until now anyway, but at this age they will suddenly want to do everything we do.

This means that you must not only provide them with toys based on your own interests and habits, but you need to watch what you do around your child. If, for example, you are careless with a cooking knife, your child may use a pretend knife carelessly. But if you are very careful and make sure it is used safely and always put away, your child will very quickly start doing the same with their pretend knife.

These behaviors can stick with them their whole lives. We need to seize this time to let them know about danger and social norms, because it will be almost impossible to undo any bad habits developed at this age.

For this reason, you could argue that 2-3 year old play is the most serious play your child will ever do. And they take it seriously as well! Your 1-2 year old was starting to develop habits, predictability, and routine, but were still open to new things.

Around 2-3 your child will be fixated on very specific things and may entirely reject new people, places, and even new toys. This is the age when your child will tell you there is a right and a wrong way to play certain games, and become attached to little rituals that ground them and give them comfort.

This is the age when your child will realize whether they are a boy or a girl, and may become very attached to the parent of their same sex, and try and copy them. This won’t happen all the time, but the mimicking will be far more common than it was before, and they are more likely to mimic people of their own sex than people of the other. They will suddenly want believable toys that actually resemble adult tools and they will copy your actions more intently and purposefully. You may find their attention span suddenly improves, and they will focus on a task through to completion.

You will know your child is at this stage if they have all but mastered every type of movement, and are starting to reject new experiences and focus on sticking to their daily rituals and routines as closely as possible.

Toy 11: Building Toys With Large Blocks

What are they?

There are special building block toys for older toddlers that have much larger pieces than usual building blocks. Lego Duplo is a perfect example of these toys, but plain wooden blocks are also popular.

What do they do?

Much like with younger toddlers, older toddlers also like stacking things, but now they may be progressing onto creating. This is why it is important to have a few that pin together, so they can build things that they can handle and move.

When will they grow out of this toy?

Kids never grow out of it, adults never grow out of it, but they will slowly progress onto smaller blocks and start showing an interest in models and Lego kits.

What features do I need to look for?

Make sure you have enough and that they are bright and bold. Many brands sell bags of 100-500 blocks, so it makes sense to just buy a bigger one and hold a few back in case any break or go missing.

Can I make one myself?

Not without a 3D printer.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Make sure you are buying the right sized blocks for their age, as smaller blocks can be a serious choking hazard for toddlers.

Toy 12: Mini Sports Playsets

What are they?

A tiny soccer goal and inflatable ball, a small foam football, a foam bat and baseball, or a basketball hoop you can hang on the back of a door, along with a small plastic basketball.

What do they do?

These games help your toddler further develop hand eye coordination, and are a great starting point for teaching them sports. They will start learning how to use their hand eye coordination beyond direct control, using it for calculated throws and kicks.

When will they grow out of this toy?

Once they’re bigger, these teeny tiny sports playsets will seem much too small for them and they will need to move on to the read deal.

What features do I need to look for?

Look for toys recommended for toddlers under the age of three, as these will be very light, fit your child’s hand, and be BPA free.

Can I make one myself?

In theory you could, but it might be a lot of effort when you consider all the parts that are involved. It is much simpler to just get a set.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

There are some mini sports games that are designed as desk games for adults. These may have BPA, or may include small parts that are dangerous for babies to handle.

Toy 13: Musical Toys

What are they?

musical toys for kidsThere are wide ranges of musical toys designed for babies and toddlers. Some of them mimic actual musical instruments, whereas others are different themed toys, such as toy phones or toy cars, that play musical melodies.

What do they do?

Babies have a natural sense of rhythm, even though you wouldn’t guess it from how clumsy they are.

Cultivate this by giving them ways of expressing interest in sound and ways of enjoying music of their own choosing.

When will they grow out of this toy?

When they can handle real instruments, or find their own music, your toddler will move past these toys. But until they you want to keep encouraging them with different musical toys.

What features do I need to look for?

Look for ones that play different notes or tunes depending on what you hit. These variations in sound from button to button will teach your child the nuances in music and at the same time satisfy their need for routine.

Can I make one myself?

Not realistically, although some of the homemade rattles above can be customized into drums and maracas for toddlers to enjoy.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Only give children under the age of three musical toys for their age group. Other ones may carry a high voltage, or have small parts, making them dangerous for babies to use.

Toy 14: Pretend Play

What are they?

Pretend play toys are toys that imitate real adult tools. You can have a pretend play kitchen, building set, food, shopping cart, etc. Some children at this age will already want something like police cars and fire engines, but most just want toys that let them copy you.

What do they do?

As your toddler is beginning to mimic you, you will want to give them alternatives to your adult tools. Otherwise they may be too eager to reach for the scissors, or a hot pan.

When will they grow out of this toy?

They will progress onto different forms of pretend play, but these toys will be useful to your child right up until the age of 7 or 8 years old.

What features do I need to look for?

Look for any toys that are based on what you do. If you cook a lot, get them a little kitchen. If they’re fascinated with the laundry, get them a play washing machine. If you do DIY, get them a plastic toolkit.

Can I make one myself?

If you do a lot of woodwork you could be able to make a toy kitchen or a toy washing machine for your toddler.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Make sure the toys are perfectly safe. Replicas are not needed and are not safe, so make sure what you are buying is a toy and not a replica.

Toy 15: Ride-On Toys

What are they?

ride on toys for kidsThe next step up from a walker, a ride-on toy is a toy bike, car, horse, etc. that they sit on and that will roll around indoors or outdoors.

What do they do?

The next step up from the baby walker, ride-on toys do not improve a toddler’s walking skills. That said, they are a great way of getting out and about, especially the ones with a handle for parents to push.

When will they grow out of this toy?

When they’re too big to fit in or on it. Though some children will want an upgrade and may always enjoy toys they can ride around on, eventually progressing to bikes and miniature cars.

What features do I need to look for?

Look for one with a handle you can push it along by, that comes with safety features like a seatbelt, or an included helmet, if you plan on taking them out down the street on it.

Can I make one myself?

No. Never make something at home which a child aged 3 or under will be riding on top of, as there is a risk of falling or other injuries.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Always make sure your child has developed enough motor skills to ride one of these. If a child without enough motor skills is placed on one they could fall off and suffer an injury. It is up to you to think logically and decide whether your child is ready yet.

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