Gifts to Encourage Creativity in Your Toddler

Friday, November 24, 2017

Buying toddlers gifts is easy and it's hard.  Potentially, there are a lot of things a toddler would enjoy receiving, BUT what do you really want to have in your house?  I don't love giving a bunch of toys that will break the next day (dollar store toys, anyone?).  I want toys with longevity.

I have constantly tried to get toys that encourage creativity in Fox.  Not every toy has been this way, but I love watching him discover and use his brain while playing.  A few toys that we are loving for encouraging this creativity.

1.  Plastic Toy Animals.  I had considered buying a set of these, but never got around to it.  My mother-in-law has a toy barn crammed with all sorts of animals, and Fox LOVES playing with them.  They get used almost every day for all kinds of play.  Sometimes he puts them on his trains and pulls them around the train track. He lines them all up, plays imaginary games with them, sorts them, puts them in bags and boxes.  They are literally hours of fun for him.

2.  Blocks.  I have a few thoughts about these.  I think it can be nice to have a straight up set of Blocks (we have these Castle Blocks that I think are darling and I love), but my MIL has a set of stackable blocks that go on the train (similar to this Melissa & Doug Wooden Stacking Train), which has been lots of fun.  But, a plain set of blocks with numbers or letters can be great for stacking, knocking over, building houses, cities and general fun.  I think they are great for helping develop motor skills.   

3.  Legos.  Maybe these seem redundant if you also have blocks, but in our house, they are quite different, because I only let him play with our small legos at the table (and usually with supervision, so they don't get lost/eaten), so it is a special occasion when we pull them out. Thus far we have only pulled them about about once a month, so they are a big hit when they come out.  We have a couple of sets with wheels and car parts, and he is over the moon about them.

Also, Adam loves playing with these, so it is fun to pull it out as a special daddy-time toy.  They build lots of nifty contraptions and cars and generally have a great time.  This set would be a great place to start.  We also love the duplos that I bought at a garage sale, and they have gotten used like crazy.  Fox makes animals, houses, towers, and much more out of them.  They are great.  

4.  Vehicle Magnetibook.  I bought this in preparation for the road trip to Utah that Fox and I didn't take.  Now he has played with it dozens of times (it is great for church and airplane rides), and I love watching him get better at it.  When he first used it, he needed a lot of help, and I had to walk him through doing it, and how to add the pieces to create the vehicles.  He can do it all by himself now, and loves making wacky looking vehicles.  I think it will be a favorite toy for a few years.  It is really so fun.  If your kid isn't into cars and vehicles, this shapes magnetibook is pretty awesome!

I have also found it really helpful to find a couple of brands that you love the look of, and the toys they produce.  For me, Melissa and Doug does a great job with a lot of their toys.  Most of them are wooden, and cuter than your average plastic toy.  I also really like Janod, which is a French company.  They sell on Amazon and I love the look of their stuff, too.  I am pretty picky about toys, too, so having some brands that I love helps a lot.

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