Toddlers and Toys

Call me old-fashioned, but I find the idea very young children sitting engrossed with a tablet, smart phone or even in front of the telly to be a disturbing and even a dangerous trend. Just the other day I had a fellow mum ask on Facebook for suggestions on which kiddy-tablet to buy as a Christmas present for her 3-year-old. As shocking as I found the question, the suggestions she received in her comments where even more shocking. Most of the mums were actually in favor of a iPad with proper internet connection and claimed that it actually helped their child’s developments in many ways.

I don’t quite believe that. Prior to the arrival of such fancy entertaining gadgets, most children had quite active lifestyles, were rather creative and were also used to looking people in the eye while holding a conversation. I think it is high time that we stopped giving our children more gadgets as Christmas and birthday presents and choose proper toys that don’t need batteries or recharging every few hours.

Here are my a few of my toddler’s most favorite toys and things to play with currently

Scuttlebug ride on
My first scooter from Tesco (My son and the scooter are practically inseparable most days)
Melissa and doug Peg puzzles
Play Doh
A real casio piano (albeit small and inexpensive)
and a plain old bat and ball !!

That’s it, these are my son’s tried, tested and most loved toys and things right now. Ooh and add jumping on our giant cushiony sofa replacing the need for a trampoline!

But my son’s number one favorite thing to play with isn’t actually a toy. But he loves it none the less

DSC_0635

Yes, pots and pans! and loads of wooden spoons and spatulas of course. It amazes me how much my toddler is observing me while I go about cooking his meals. He loves to pretend that he’s cooking just like mummy mostly while tossing a couple of new potatoes in a pan or even cloves of garlic sometimes. He is happy just to stir things around in a pan and transferring it to another pan and doing it all over again for hours together.

Now, on to toys I wish I hadn’t wasted money on. Like any new parent, I have spent countless hours browsing through websites and specialist baby stores trying to find the next best toy that my toddler can amuse himself with for hours on end. My enthusiasm has actually led me to wasting precious time and money which I suggest in turn that you wouldn’t in your case.

Here’s a list of things your kid can probably do with out

  • Battery operated musical singing toys
    I found that these are the toys that get presented to you child in the early years as they are cheap to buy and have the appearance of being educational. Trust me, there are other ways to teach a kid his ABCs, 123s or Phonics without having to resort to a tirade of battery operated music
  • Plastic building blocks
    I made the mistake of buying a loads of mega blocks that were on offer for my little one. Suffice to say it’s not his favorite and he only plays with it for a few minutes. Wooden blocks can be a better option, but going for used ones on ebay would be better than buying a new lot. I find that my toddler has never liked ‘constructing’ as such.
  • Expensive rocking horse
    I got a really expensive rocking toy as a present to my boy and although it looked adorable, I don’t ever remember him using that much

Now on to something that I would really like to buy for my son but cannot afford to at the moment. The Spielgaben. If you haven’t already heard of it. Well its the ultimate organic toy you can buy for your child. Although on the expensive side you will see your child’s creativity blossom and even develop fundamental mathematical skills with this set. It is basically a set of high quality wooden components( shapes, patterns and designs) that can be used in a million different combinations to create pictures, motifs or depictions. Trust me, you really only have to see it for real once to covet it.

Other things I may look into buying as my boy gets older would include the swing wiggle ride on car, a ukelele, a balance bike, a melissa and doug puppet theatre, etc

I must add that the toys I have mentioned so far aren’t the only ones my son has at our house. Although his collection is quite modest, I make sure all of his toys can fit into two small boxes at any point in time. If I feel that he has outgrown a few toys, I do not hesitate to give it away. And regarding toys to keep my boy occupied on the move, I have bought him four hotwheels cars that he so loves to move about on every surface. I like the fact that unlike remote controlled cars, he gets to move it on it his own, make funny car noises and he even uses it as a mobile phone prop to amuse himself. He babbles to himself for hours pressing the car/phone to his and I wonder sometimes who he is having his imaginary conversation with !!

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