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Gifts for toddlers: Toys for little explorers

11 Mar 2021

children's toys, gifts for toddlers, emotional development

Good toys for children in this age group are those that are safe, non-toxic and sustainable. ©Koelnmesse

Playing is as important as eating and drinking. This especially holds true for toddlers who are just starting to discover the world. What toys can retailers recommend for little ones who are too big for baby rattles but still too young for memory games and dollhouses?

With Easter just around the corner, it is the perfect time for toy retailers to score points with gift ideas and expert advice. These factors present good business opportunities. Toys are once again enjoying high demand, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic. For 2020, the German Association of Toy and Game Retailers (BVS) had anticipated a sales increase of eight percent.

What kinds of toys do toddlers need?

Choosing the right toys for toddlers between the ages of one and three can be a real challenge. At this age, little ones go through key development stages and are learning more than they ever will again in their lives. Their cognitive skills are developing and they begin to utter their first words or even two-word sentences at around 12 months. At the same time, their urge to move is growing along with their spatial awareness and motor skills. They learn to run, climb stairs, walk backwards, eat with a spoon and much more.

Good toys for children in this age group are those that are safe, non-toxic and sustainable. Most of all, however, parents want toys that stimulate their child’s development. Therefore, tips and recommendations from experienced sellers are always welcome. After all, just because something looks colourful and fun does not mean it is age appropriate. While toys that have just one button to press can get boring fast for toddlers, those that are too demanding, like memory games, can still overwhelm them.

children's toys, toddler toys, gifts for toddler, emotional development

Toys that can be used over and over again in new and different ways are ideal for little explorers. @Koelnmesse

Boost children’s motor skills, imagination and senses

Every toddler has different needs. It therefore makes sense to first ask about the stage of development and interests of the child when giving advice. Children who have a strong urge to move love anything they can pull, push or roll. That means play train sets and cars – especially ride-on ones – or pull-along/push-along toys, like the Octopus from Playgro . It comes with balls that little ones can insert into the octopus – this helps to develop their fine motor skills. When pushed, the octopus spins and the balls fly out.

A classic educational toy that promotes motor skills and spatial awareness are the Pikler Triangles. The wooden triangles with rungs encourage climbing and movement, can be used as a playhouse or hiding place or extended into a slide or climbing structure depending on age.

Variety is in demand

Toys that can be used over and over again in new and different ways are ideal for little explorers. They encourage curiosity and imagination so little ones have fun for a long time. Ideal choices for this are building blocks, simple puzzles, stacking or pegging games like the Stick Farmyard from Eichhorn , which helps children discover different shapes and colours in a playful way. Ball tracks, such as those from Haba , or activity cubes, such as the one from EverEarth made from FSC-certified, sustainably grown wood, also stimulate the senses and ensure versatile playing fun.

Maybe it’s time for the first tablet. Children learn about animals, their first words and lots of new sounds by pressing on the “app” buttons of the Laugh & Learn Smart Watch from Fisher-Price . The content can be expanded according to development stage – perhaps an option for parents who want to introduce their children to modern communication technology at an early age.