As the holidays continue to sneak up, you may be contemplating what toys to buy for your kids, nieces, nephews, and/or grandchildren. Even though you usually can’t go wrong with any toy, it is an added bonus if it is developmentally appropriate as well! Between the ages of 2-3, children are able to dress themselves, jump, throw and catch balls, cut with scissors, and use many other fine and gross motor skills. Toys should be used as a facilitator to improve and reinforce new developmental tasks. Follow our list for store-bought toys and household items or DIY toy ideas for 2-3 year olds below:
Store bought toys:
— Mini Trampoline: Around 2 year olds, kids will start to jump on two feet and/or one foot. Even though they can jump on the floor, trampolines are much more fun! The trampoline in the link has a bar for children to hold onto for safety reasons as well.
— Dress up: Between the ages 2-3, children should be practicing dressing themselves. What better way to practice this skill then by dressing up as their favorite character! For girls, the link provided is a trunk filled with four Disney princess costumes. For boys, they may want to dress up as their favorite superhero or TV character.
— Basketball set: Hand-eye coordination should also be developing around these ages. Kids will enjoy modified variations of popular sports such as kickball, t-ball, soccer, and basketball. We love this basketball set because you can adjust the height as your child grows!
— Magnetic blocks: Magnetic blocks bring a new eliminate to building blocks. Children can build all sorts of designs with the blocks by using magnets to connect them. It is almost more fun to knock it down than to build it up! It is a great fine-motor activity for children, as well.
— Puzzles: Puzzles encourage critical thinking and fine motor skills. Encourage your child to engage in all sorts of puzzles from more traditional ones to the latches activity board provided in the link.
— Cleaning Set: A popular gift is this Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! for toddlers. However, most families have all of these items in their storage closet already! Even if they are not kid-size, brooms, mops, and dustpans are great toys for children. Use these tools to teach your child about responsibility and chores. They will have fun while accomplishing cleaning up little messes or pretending to clean. Using a broom and dustpan also involves hand-eye coordination. Make sure you only allow your child to play with just the brooms, mops, and dustpans; be sure to avoid cleaning products.
— Pasta in a sensory bin: This DIY is a great sensory activity for your children. Combine different types of pasta into a plastic container and let your children explore with their hands. If you decide to dye the pasta different colors, use it as color sort game. Have your child create different piles of the same colors.
— Scissors and paper: Around the age of 3, children should be able to accurately and safely use scissors. Kids could cut paper for hours if allowed! We love this idea of tying a pair of scissors to a storage bin with string to avoid a big mess of paper confetti.
— Painting on rocks: Practicing fine motor skills can become tedious unless you are creative. Instead of painting on a piece of paper, go out in your backyard or Local Park and collect flat rocks. Then use the rocks as your canvas! Kids will love the hunting for rocks almost as much as the painting.
— Straws in a colander: This activity is so simple but a great opportunity for kids to practice hand-eye coordination. Most people will have the materials (colander and straws) at hand so it is cost efficient as well!
“Fine Motor Skills – DIY Cutting Station.” No Time For Flash Cards. N.p., 12 May 2014. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
James, Cathy. “How to Dye Pasta for a Rainbow Sensory Tub.” NurtureStore. N.p., 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
Jamie. “Easy Fine Motor Skills Practice with a Colander and Straws.” Kids Activities Blog. N.p., 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
Rachel. “80 of the BEST Activities for 2 Year Olds.” Kids Activities Blog. N.p., 5 June 2014. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.