Oh, toddlers. The chubby little feet, the instinct of discovery that comes to life, the spilling of things that you’ve just put away.

Your toddler is a beautiful, messy creature with special mental and physical needs. We’ll get you into their heads and help you choose toys that are appropriate for them to develop.

Between a child’s first and third birthday, they will gain about 13 pounds and grow 8 inches. What’s even more amazing is the growth of their brains, where they develop over 1 million neural connections every second. This is the fastest growth in your brain. When your toddler turns into a teenager, these neural connections are actually broken down through a process called pruning.

Conel, JL. The postnatal development of the human cerebral cortex. Cambridge, mass: Harvard University Press, 1959.

Right now the greatest developments are in their senses – the way they see, hear and interact with their world. It’s part of learning to live in the physical world and the reason they’re now screaming at the top of their necks and hopping around on your couch.

With their newly discovered superpowers, toddlers will love running, jumping, climbing, and throwing. These gross motor skills require a great deal of concentration for toddlers and are essential for their development. So the next time your toddler throws a cup of juice on the floor, remember the neurological development going on in their little brain.

Get your toddler moving (and save your home from destruction) by taking them to a playground, walking around the neighborhood, and introducing toys that encourage active play.

Really, really active game.

Here are some active play toy ideas:
1. Rubber ball– The classic goes way back in prehistoric times. Rolling, throwing, kicking, and chasing a ball are proven ways to develop tracking and coordination skills.

2. Ride-on toys – Rocking horses, balance bikes and ride-on scooters are some examples. Choose toys that are low on the ground and use small safety gear to strap yourself in if necessary.

3. Sand and garden toys – Get them dirty with digging tools tailored for their size. A miniature shovel, rake and watering can will keep you active and fascinated for a long time.

Your toddler uses their senses to understand the world around them. These senses are the basis for all of the other learning they will do in their life, so let them use their eyes, ears, nose, and fingers to familiarize themselves with various materials. Bonus: this stuff is cheap!

Here are some sensory toy ideas:
1. Dough – Mothers and fathers know that time to knead = time to get things done. Do it yourself, break out some cookie cutters and get on with your business.

2. Mind container – It’s that easy. Fill a container with tactile materials and let it crush, scoop and pour for the contents of your heart (and brain).

3. Colours – We like watercolors because they are easier to clean and children can easily see how colors mix with each other. Here is a great list of watercolor painting ideas.

Creative play involves representational thinking and the idea that one thing can be another. Can underpants also be a knight’s helmet? This happens every day in the toddler country.

Here are some creative play toy ideas:
1. Build toys – Between their first and third birthday, children start sorting shapes, stacking objects, and playing. A stack of wooden blocks or magnetic tiles promotes fine motor coordination and the use of your imagination.

2. Costumes—Why be yourself when you can be a princess super kitten?Funny book by the way. Through role play, toddlers learn to put themselves in other people’s shoes and to communicate, empathize and negotiate.

3. Dolls and small figures – Together with balls and sticks, dolls and figures are among the classic toys of all time. Toddlers use their dolls to mimic social behavior by feeding, dressing, and euthanizing them. Warning: May cause the cuteness overload to melt you into a bunch.

Your toddler will grow like crazy inside and out, learning to use their body to interact with the world. Support their growth by creating a safe, loving atmosphere for them and promoting active, sensory and creative play.

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