Educational Toys For Two Year Olds
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Educational Toys for Two Year Olds

Our purpose is to provide you with the information of where to find the best educational toys for two year olds and how to decide which one is best for your child.

The good news is, everything is an educational toy for a two year old! You could give a two year old two solo cups and a bowl full of water and they would learn from it. This can, however, make decision making harder when it comes to choosing toys. Which ones are the best? Which ones do they really need? Which ones will they actually benefit from? Which ones are worth the money?

Fear not, I am here to help! I am not going to give specific products here, what I want to give you is information on what you are looking for, what you are hoping to accomplish with this toy, what skills you are trying to help develop, etc.

Things to remember:

Two year olds are not yet ready to begin learning letters or numbers. Yes, they can learn to count to five and maybe identify the first letter of their name, but do not waste your time trying to teach them the alphabet because you will exhaust yourself. There are plenty of other skills that they need just as desperately and are ready to learn NOW!

Two year olds, especially only children and children who do not attend daycare, need someone to show them how to play. Yes, there is a very natural component to play, but there is also a learned component. One of the best gifts we can give as parents is to teach our children how to play and pretend.

Qualities to look for in two year old toys:

Durability - Nothing ruins a play session more than either a broken toy or a mother nagging "stop doing that you're going to break it!" Please, please, please do not buy cheaply made flimsy toys for your two year old. There is a reason children's museums and daycare facilities invest in wooden toys...they last! (Bonus - they are also fairly easy to clean).

Multiple uses - We have to remember we are dealing with two year olds here. Their attention spans are short and they crave input input input (Short Circut anyone?). I like toys that can be used for many different purposes and are fine to take outside, in the bathtub, etc.

Movement - They have the energy, it can drive you crazy, let them use it! If I can invest in a safe movement based toy I will do it any day. I have been known to let my daughter transport her blocks down the hallway to her room one at a time on her scooter, mostly to keep her busy, but also because it is great for her coordination. (that sounds believable right?)

Grip Strength - Grip strength is one of the biggest factors in hand writing and fine motor skills. Anything that snaps together, has suction cups, or requires force to operate is wonderful for your future kindergartner's writing skills.

Sensory Toys - When you mention sensory play to most people their immediate thought is of sand and water tables. These are definitely good sensory toys and will keep a child entertained for hours, but sensory play means exactly what it sounds like it means...anything that will incorporate any of their five senses. Music, instruments, lighted toys, toys with texture, scented toys, etc. It is proven a child will learn faster and retain more if the lesson is accompanied by a sensory experience ie- making play dough circles and squares...they can see it, feel it, and smell it. Actually, they could taste it too, but I don't recommend it.

Critical Thinking - This sounds like a pretty high level skill for two year olds but they can do it! They are naturally curious and this lends well to acquiring problem solving skills. These will be toys that allow a child to learn cause and affect, trial and error, sorting, and position (over/under, above/below, next to, on top of, outside/inside, etc).

Pretend/Imaginative Play- For this category it is important to remember the rule about multiple purposes. Rather than dress up clothes or pretend food I prefer to invest in items that can be used time and time again. For example, one of our favorite imaginative toys are waffle blocks (the big ones), we make forts, cribs, stores, castles, roads, ovens, and all sorts of things out of waffle blocks. We have already gotten two solid years worth of play out of these blocks and I anticipate at least two more. It is important to remember that one of the first ways a child learns to deal with real life situations is through pretend play. It is my belief that children who pretend often are usually more socially ready to enter kindergarten and find it easier to deal with social situations.

Old School Toys - I never want to discount toys that are classics such as coloring books, stacking toys, board books, wagons, etc. There is a reason certain toys never go out of style; they are either loved by children, parents, or both.

In closing, don't look for toys that boast they will teach your two year old to add or subtract, they will learn that eventually, I promise, but rather give them the benefit of core developmental skills through the types of toys we have discussed in this article. An added benefit of the toys suggested here...they allow toddlers to still be toddlers. They will be students for a minimum of 13 years, most more like 18 years, let them be toddlers, please.


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