As a mother I am very particular about the kind of products I expose my son to. Be it baby care products or clothing. So toys are no different. In-fact children below the age of 2 often mouth toys, which directly exposes them to the chemicals in plastic and coloring agents used on toys. That is why toys along with baby care items and clothing are the categories where I don’t compromise on quality and try to invest in safe and sturdy materials.
I try and stick to wood toys made of hard woods. Avoiding cheaper quality wooden toys made with MDF materials.
MDF and Ply-wood are commonly bonded using toxic glues and adhesives.This can sometimes include the toxic chemicals like Formaldehyde. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified formaldehyde as a “known human carcinogen”. Furthermore, if the wooden toy is coated with cheap paint and lacquer which possibly contains lead, the wooden toy is just as bad as any plastic toy.
If a wooden toy is not available I choose cloth toys and trusted brand name plastic toys. Also note, when a plastic toy starts to wear off, it is time to discard the same, and don’t use second hand and old plastic toys as there may be possibility of chemicals leaching out and the toy not meeting the current toy safety standards.
Don’t just think about material when you think of safe toys; the shape and size of the toys are also important. Check that there are no sharp edges to the toy and that it passes the sizing standards for that age group. Especially with children below age of 2, there is always a risk of choking on toys. It’s best to stay away from toys that contain tiny parts.
When you start investing in good quality toys it becomes about quality over quantity. So your child will have a smaller collection but one that can last him/her through childhood.
Again, these are just basic guidelines for you as a parent when you choose a toy; I don’t mean to preach by any means. I too have a collection of toys for my son that are a mix of largely wooden, few plastic and cloth toys. In the end it’s about having an understanding about the chemicals in our children’s toys and being thoughtful about our choices.
Now getting to the list of toys that I found most age appropriate between 1-2 years of age. Some of the toys from my previous list of toys for baby’s first year are still relevant to this age group e.g, stacking rings, blocks, pull along toys, books etc. So we carry those forward into the toddler years.
Only toys you need for your toddler 1-2 years
- Mega Blocks: Once the child gets the hang of stacking, he/she will move onto building. Mega Blocks are easy to use for those tiny toddler palms that are not yet very adept with fine motor skills.
- Balls: This is the perfect age group for them to start understanding the concept of throwing balls. They have just started running and jumping and a ball is the perfect play companion to them. This one is a must buy.
- Books: Once they enter toddler years kids get really excited about books, especially if you already have a routine that incorporates reading. Try and find a variety of themes and storybooks. Some board books, a few pop up books, interactive books, paperbacks etc. Let them get exposed to a variety of formats. Some of our favorites are:
- Peter Rabbit Finger Puppet Book – Beatrix Potter
- Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear – Eric Carle
- Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You Hear – Eric Carle
- What The Ladybird Heard – Julia Donaldson
- What The Ladybird Heard Next – Julia Donaldson
- When I Grow Up – Noella Menon
- Busy Airport (Busy Book) – Rebecca Finn, Campbell Books
- Cheep Cheep – Tulika Publishers
- Kitchen set: Pretend play becomes a huge developmental activity in this period. Toddlers pick up on the nuances of what cooking looks like, trying their hands at stirring pots, serving on plates etc. I looked everywhere for a steel set or a wooden one and finally found one by Hape Toys. I will highly recommend this set. My son loves it a lot, it is one toy he is found playing with everyday. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen this set in the many pictures I have put up there.
- Vehicles: Kids at this age love the pretend play concept of cars, trains, airplanes, construction vehicles. They are now aware of their surroundings and observing the vehicles on the road, this helps them connect the real world physical objects they see through playtime.
- Musical toys: At this age children start enjoying music and want to participate in it by dancing, playing musical instruments. Introducing an xylophone is great for this age. They enjoy the process of creating music. I like the ones that come with a single stick unit rather than ones that have a tiny ball attached at the end. Because if the ball falls off, it can pose a choking risk. You can even buy other musical instruments more suited to their age like a baby casio, drums etc.
- Coloring books and pencils: Coloring is a great activity to enhance your child’s fine motor skills. Also helps hone their creativity. They learn about colors and textures through coloring activities. There is no real need to buy special coloring books, you can just give them blank papers or old diary’s, notebooks lying around the house. Look for age appropriate crayons especially if your toddler still mouths his crayons. Crayons made of natural materials like soy or beeswax are most suited to this age group. I like the ones by Azafran Crayons as they are made of organic waxes of palm, soya, soya butter and food grade colors.
- Animal Set/Fruit Set/Vegetable Set: Through books, observation and conversation toddlers start picking up names of animals, fruits, and vegetables. Buying them play sets of the same becomes a new pretend play activity for them. They soon have their own favorites among these. I found that my son picked up names of a lot of animals, fruits and vegetables when he saw them in such a toy format.
I hope you found this list useful. Its always great to have an age wise compilation like this at hand when you want to gift a toy or have forgotten what you used for your previous baby. Which toys does your child love? Leave me a comment below. If you liked what you read follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for more ideas.
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