With summer here, children need ways to stay engaged, and parents want to ensure they’re still helping their child progress and develop! That’s why we’ve highlighted five tips to help parents choose toys that will stimulate their children’s imagination and improve their development. Naturally, select toys that do more than one thing! If you’re on a budget for summer trips, search for toys that can be used multiple times in many ways.

Nesting and Stacking Blocks are a perfect example of toys that can be used in multiple ways and allow children to use their imagination when they want to explore different ways of playing. A toy that only lights up when you turn it will surely become boring because it doesn’t inherently encourage the child to do anything else with it. Children will bore quickly if the toy doesn’t engage them in multi-faceted ways!

  1. Foster Exploration and Curiosity
    Toddlers are hands-on explorers who are driven by impulse and curiosity. So of course, they touch and manipulate everything because doing so engages that area of learning in their mind! When selecting a toy, ask yourself: “Will this toy stimulate my child’s curiosity and sense of exploration?”
  2. Intrinsically Motivating and Interesting
    Toys that are inherently motivating build a child’s confidence and determination! Games, toys, and play routines that create internal rewards and feelings of achievement have a greater likelihood of being intrinsically motivating and interesting.

  3. Promote Independence
    Let’s face it, your child loves playing with you, but there are times you need to get things done. So, select a few toys or activities your toddler can independently play with! Toys like puzzles, doodle pads, and window cling activities are great examples of engaging toys that encourage independence.
  4.  Increase socialization and pretend play
    Depending on your child’s skills and developmental level, it’s a great idea to purchase toys that enhance make believe, promote role playing, and develop sequential thinking. Simple toys like large dollhouses, jumbo cardboard blocks, and kitchen sets are toys that will assist in developing these skills and undoubtedly make for a fun-filled afternoon.
  5. Relate on a Personal Level
    Children want to play with toys that make sense to their life experience and recreate, or extend, those events and memories. A child who has never been to a car wash may not understand a miniature car wash playset, even if you explain it to him. They need to have an experience to compare it to. So, when considering what types of toys to purchase for your child, think back to shared memories you know they enjoyed, and buy toys or activities that re-engage that memory and allow them to re-live it and use their imagination in how it could have been different!

Buying toys for your child shouldn’t be stressful and purchasing activities that allow for educational fun is possible! The next time you’re toy shopping, consider these five tips, and you’ll have a front row seat to fun, watching your child play!


Contact Greater Learning LP to start working with a passionate speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist and discover ways to involve the whole family in fun, educational activities!

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