Play Guide for Toddlers 1-3 Years  Old

Play Guide for Toddlers 1-3 Years Old

Play is a really important part of your child’s life and builds the foundation for not only their physical development but also emotional and social development.  Independent play time is really valuable and important to build into your child’s day.  And its not just your child that will benefit – it’s also great for mum or dad as it gives you a moment to recharge (or clean; but I prefer recharge).  

Here are just some examples of what kids learn through play:

  • Balance & Coordination
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Emotional development
  • Social skills
  • Strength
  • Gross motor skills
  • Fine motor skills
  • Language
  • Counting
  • Problem solving
  • Reflexes
  • Body awareness
  • Spatial awareness
  • Cause & effect
  • Visual development

 

PLAY helps to build their confidence and gives them a way to feel safe and at ease and a way to be calm.

There are so many books and online resources, not to mention information available from your maternal health nurse.  After the birth of my first child, this was one of the subjects that I became really interested in.   Montessori approach to learning was incredible to learn about.  Fascinating actually.  And you know, on the other hand, this is not something so revolutionary - it is the way we have all developed and learnt since time began.  The major differences now versus ‘the old world’ is more technology, and for a lot of households there is less ‘free play’ time for various reasons. I also think we feel under pressure to give our kids everything and for them not to miss out on anything. I think we forget (or feel guilty about) that keeping is simple is often the best way.  Unstructured play is gold for kids.

So, in the spirit of simplicity, we have created a simple play guide for different age groups. There are so many things that can go into this, we all live different lives, so build on it. Make it your own. But the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple, safe and joyful!  Let them go at their own pace and parents - enjoy the ride!

Play Guide for Toddlers Aged 12-18 months

What to expect at this age

They are mobile, they have access to everything and they want to touch, feel and explore everything. As soon as they can walk they will run! They will want to be feeding themselves and drinking by themselves. Basically, everything is explorable and they are going to start getting a bit miffed if they cant do what they want to do!

What will they be doing at this age

They will love more physical activities at this stage.  Getting into the sand pit, playing with balls, tactile books that they can get into on their own.  Finding more interactive play opps and getting outside with them will satisfy their never-ending thirst for exploration.

Key areas of development using PLAY

  • Balance and Coordination, Gross Motor Skills, Language, Sensory Exploration
  • Books
  • Bubbles
  • Build a mini obstacle course from household items
  • Music
  • Ride on cars / toys / bikes,
  • Sandpit with toys
  • Slides
  • Small climbing areas
  • Small moveable cars and trucks
  • Toy phone
  • Wagons
  • Walkers

 

Play Guide for Toddlers Aged 18-24 months

What to expect at this age

They are really learning their major skills – able to move around freely and well they will love to be moving and repeating actions over and over again. They will be learning new words all the time and start identifying everyday things like toys they love, objects around the house and body parts. They will get frustrated a lot – you wont always understand what they want, and you wont always see eye to about things.  But don’t worry – you’ll know when they are displeased with your behaviour!

What will they be doing at this age

The sand pit can do no wrong (until someone throws sand in their eyes)!  Swings, things they can climb. Nothing is off limits.  Some kids love to play with dolls, but mainly they love to build things, throw things and just be moving around.  Water play and bubbles are universally loved.

Key areas of development using PLAY

Language Development, Gross Motor Skills, Sensory Exploration, Cognitive Awareness, Social & Emotional

  • Ball games
  • Bead maze
  • Books
  • Carts and buggys
  • Climbing areas
  • Dolls
  • Moving toys
  • Musical toys
  • Nesting dolls and toys or just simple household items
  • Pretend phones
  • Puzzles
  • Rattling toys
  • Sand pits and toys
  • Simple pretend play e.g. Kitchens and dress ups
  • Singing
  • Slides
  • Sorting games
  • Squishy toys

 

Play Guide for Toddlers Aged 2 Years

What to expect at this age

Tantrums.  But to be fair to the little ones, they are just trying to get their point across, to have a bit of control about what goes on in their day, and the adults are not always keen to oblige!  There are lots of things going on – potentially major changes in their routines, dreams and nightmares, moving out of cots and just general awareness of the world around them.  They are just trying to make sense of it and do their own thing.

What will they be doing at this age

Building, creating and drawing and pretend play start this age and grow in significance as they get older.  Dolls and special toys may start to have a really big significance for them as they provide a familiar and safe space for them.  But physical play is where their heart lies.

Key areas of development using PLAY

Language Development, Sensory Exploration, Cognitive Awareness, Social & Emotional

  • Activity table
  • Animal toys
  • Bike
  • Blocks
  • Books
  • Boxes and other tunnels for climbing and out of
  • Bubble toys
  • Building toys e.g. Magnetic blocks
  • Crayons and paper
  • Dolls with accurate body parts
  • Fun bath toys
  • Kids kitchen & accessories
  • Magic boards
  • Playdough
  • Pram and baby
  • Pretend computers, cleaning kits, tool kits and other ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ accessories
  • Puzzles
  • Ride on toys
  • Sand pit and toys
  • Scooter
  • Small cars and trucks
  • Swings

CLICK HERE to read the Play Guide for Babies 0-12 Months

CLICK HERE to read the Play Guide for Toddler 3-6 Years Old

Great Gifts and Toys For Toddlers 1-3 Years Old

Bloomingville Mini - Wood Duck and Duckling Pull Along Toy

So much fun for the little ones.  This pull along toy with mama duck and ducklings will fill your little one with joy!  So cute.  

Bloomingville Mini - Wood Duck and Duckling Pull Along Toy

Bloomingville Mini - Wood Stack and Pull Along Toy

This pull along toy with little animal characters also comes apart.  Bear, Bunny and Mouse are made of pieces that can be taken apart and then re-stacked. So your little one can practice putting it back together and then take it for a walk.  Great for motor skill development as well as memory and concentration.

Bloomingville Mini - Wood Stack and Pull Along Toy

 

Dantoy BIO Plastic Construction Vehicle Set 2 Pieces

My love affair with this range continues. I love it. sturdy, light weight  and made from natural material. This toddler toy will be a hit in and out of the sandpit. Included are 2 x construction vehicles as pictured.

 Dantoy BIO Plastic Construction Vehicle Set 2 Pieces

Happy Hands Happy Heart Natural Playdough

 All Happy Hand Happy Heart Playdoughs are created using a combination of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to create the gorgeous natural colours and scents.  Super safe even for the littlest of hands. And with the accessories, even you will want to have a go.  Inspire and encourage creativity with this brilliant Australian playdough and accessories range.

 

Happy Hands Happy Heart Natural Playdough Pack

Hape Toys - 19 Pieces Music and Monkeys Railway Set

 What do monkeys and xylophones have in common?  Playtime fun! An interactive toy train set that encouraging young children to understand cause and effect, this little set plays a beautiful melody plays as you drive the jungle train over the xylophone track and then the cheeky little monkeys pop up to say hello as you pass the bushes!

Hape Toys   19 Pieces Music and Monkeys Railway Set

Plasto Eco Sugar Cane Sand Set - Baby and Toddler

The super cute little bucket set feels like plastic but is actually produced from sugar cane that is 100 % renewable. Food contact safe. Dishwasher safe. It includes a small bucket, rake and scoop.

Plasto Eco Sugar Cane Sand Set - Baby and Toddler

Nana Huchy Dolls

 Nana Huchy linen dolls and soft toys are inspired by a bygone era. With whimsy and elegance, this beautiful range will delight your little ones for many years. Designed in Australia, with a large range featuring beautiful fairies, princesses, animals and more, Nana Huchy soft dolls and soft toys are unique, keepsake toys that are as fun to play with as they are beautiful to display. 

Nana Huchy Dolls - Milla The Mermaid

 

Nobodinoz - Wild Animals Wooden Blocks

Love this great little block set that is so easy to take with you and keep tidy!!  This is a toy that they will go back to for ages as the learn to put the patterns together to form the 4 possible images. 5 solid beech wood blocks in a lion head shaped zip case. 4 possible images (ie on each side of the block) : the zebra, the hippopotamus, the lion and the parrot. 

 

 Nobodinoz - Wild Animals Wooden Blocks

 

Wooden Story Natural Block Sets

Wooden blocks give kids the freedom to create without boundaries and stimulate inventiveness and imagination. They can conjure the most amazing buildings and formations from this beautiful assortment of natural and eco wooden blocks.  The texture, the forms, even the smell of the wood will an experience for their senses. 

Wooden Story Colourful Natural Block Set For Kids 50 Pieces

Hape Toys Shake 'n Match Shape Sorter

 Your little one will be playing with this for a couple of years. They will love the noise, the colours and take to the challenge of getting the shapes in with gusto.  Classic six-sided wooden shape sorter with matching coloured shapes: circle, square, trapezoid, triangle, star and semi-circle.

 

Hape Toys Shake 'n Match Shape Sorter

Wooden Story Toys - Natural Round Stacker

Loads of entertainment for the little ones, stacking from largest to smallest; smallest to largest and rolling around. So many possibilities! Mix them, match, combine and play! 

 

Wooden Story Toys - Natural Round Stacker

 

Sassi Junior Animal Friends At Home Jigsaw Cubes and Book

Assemble the super light 6 pet pictures to learn all about our furry friends. Read the book to see where they live and what they get up to at home and in the garden.

 

Sassi Junior Animal Friends At Home Jigsaw Cubes and Book

 

 

Hape Toys Wonder Wagon

Discover many ways for a new walker to build confidence and stability in this multi-purpose wooden wagon. Also safe for passengers to ride or haul and store toys. Pull handle folds up conveniently and locks in place. Advanced walkers can add toys to the wagon to push and pull to give more resistance and build strength.

 Hape Toys Wonder Wagon

 

Hape Toys - Pepe the Dog 6 Piece Sound Stacker

Introduce your little one to this gorgeous little friend - Pepe. Great for hand eye coordination, fine motor skill development.

 Hape Toys  Pepe the Dog 6 Piece Sound Stacker

 

Hape Toys - Ladybug, Butterfly and Bee Jingle Train

Children can develop their senses through the rattle and material attached to Lucky Ladybug and her friends, Buzz Bee and Flutter Butterlfy.  Push the little 3 piece train along, and have lots of fun with new animal friends.

Hape Toys   Ladybug, Butterfly and Bee Jingle Train

 

Tinta Crayons for Kids and Toddlers

 Tinta Crayons are made just for kids. Tinta Crayons are made with 100% natural and organic waxes. No paraffin. No palm. No soy. The pigments used in Tinta Crayons are free from heavy metals, asbestos and other toxic substances. 

Tinta Crayons for Kids and Toddlers  Petals in Primary Colours

 

 

For more ideas check out:

Gift Guides for 1 Year Old

Gift Guides for 2 Year Old

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