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How to Choose Toys
that will Grow with
Your Toddler

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They grow up so quickly, don’t they?

And as much as we resign ourselves to buying new shoes and clothes every few months, we hope that the toys Father Christmas brings will last a little longer than that.

This isn’t simply about the toy’s quality though, it’s also about the child’s stage of development.

"Choosing toys for toddlers can be daunting - there's such a huge selection. As toddlers are developing rapidly, toys can quickly become out-grown, so finding toys that can adapt and grow with your child offers value for money."

While you might buy slightly oversized clothes for your child to grow into later, it’s best not to buy a toy or book that is too advanced for your child. This is because children learn things in a certain order, although not necessarily at the same pace as other children their own age.

Rather than your child learning quicker because they are being pushed, they may simply not be able to use the toy – so they won’t get any benefit from it at all. Instead, you can look for toys that are particularly open-ended and creative, that let your child explore at their own pace.

There are also toys that can be adjusted to suit your child as they grow. These can prove to be a great investment, as they continue challenging your child’s abilities as they develop their skills and confidence.

Tech Toys

Traditional toys will always have a place in the toy box, though it’s also good to embrace innovative technology in play. As with everything, it’s all about getting the balance between technology and non-tech based toys and games. 

The interactivity that electronic toys can provide is beneficial for children in lots of ways, and can reinforce learning and promote positive development.

Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket is an excellent example of this. It features a shape sorter that recognises the blocks and says the shape and colour of each one out loud, supporting language skills.

A younger child will simply enjoy exploring the individual shapes and colours of the food, but when they get older they can use the same food blocks to incorporate into matching and sorting games, or for make believe play. 

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And if you’ve got a little vehicle enthusiast on your hands, you might want to consider the VTechToot-Toot Drivers Garage.

These vehicles feature lights and sounds, including sing-along songs and melodies, to capture the attention of young toddlers and encourage them to explore. The garage itself is great for promoting make believe play as children get older.

The value of licensed toys

If your child is reaching the older end of toddlerhood, it’s likely he or she has a favourite TV character.

Some parents avoid buying toys that feature favourite characters, partly because their child will grow out of the toy but also because – unless it’s a long-standing programme – it’s not something that can be passed down to a younger sibling.

However, children love to play with a favourite character and this can be a great springboard for their imaginative play. When they get older, it can also be a great way to encourage children to play together, as they are both familiar with the character(s). 

The key to finding a licensed toy that will last is to make sure it is a good toy in its own right.

 

The Disney/Pixar Toy Story Clip & Go range from TOMY is a great example of this, combining the beautifully stimulating features of Lamaze baby toys with much-loved characters that have been adored across generations. It’s ready to entertain any baby with plenty to explore from textures, patterns and crinkling sounds, is great for taking on-the-go, and can be incorporated into imaginative play as the child gets older.

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Beware of recommended ages

It’s important to watch out for inaccurate age guidance on toys while shopping. Often these only refer to the toy’s safety rating, not to the play value or ease of use for that age group.

At the Good Toy Guide, our experts test toys with children to give you a true idea of their age suitability, shown in the red bar on every review in the guide.

Conclusion

Buying toys that are suitable for your child’s level of development will mean they can get the most benefit from the toy for as long as possible.

To help you out, we’ve highlighted some of our toddler favourites in the Christmas Good Toy Guide. Simply click on the toy to read the full review online, including in-depth age guidance as well as an overview of the skills the toy can help your child develop.

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