Toys for toddlers can be fun and exciting. However, it can definitely be overwhelming for the parents. How do we find the balance between having toys and yet creating an engaging experience for both our children and ourselves? The answer may lie in having multipurpose toys.
I love the idea of having less toys for my daughter, but that she is truly engaged and learns a lot from the toys that she has. It’s not really minimalism (which I wish I was, but definitely am not). This started me thinking about toys that can be used for different purposes, especially with a little creativity and imagination.
My wish is that these toys are durable and do not need to depend on trends and the latest gadgets. This way, I can save money and keep it for the next little one that will soon arrive.
Of course, you can get toys that only serve one purpose. I do that too. It’s good to have both options, but that is for another blog post.
In this blog post, I will share with you 7 multipurpose toys that you can get or already have for your little one to play with.
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Here are 7 multipurpose toys for toddlers:
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Blocks is one of the multipurpose toys that my toddler loves to play with.
Before becoming a parent, I used to only think that blocks are just for building and to see how high you can stack them.
However, after watching my toddler play with them, there are a few ways that blocks can be used.
Toddlers can learn about balancing skills by using different blocks to build their ‘tower’.
They can learn about the different types and shapes of blocks when playing with them.
Blocks can be used as food in pretend play. Yes, my toddler has served me blocks on her play plates and cups, telling me what the blocks are supposed to be. Sometimes, it’s breakfast or ice cream.
Toddlers can also use blocks to build a house or a train. It is what their imagination lead them to think and build.
Blocks could be sorted out into different colors (if you have different colored blocks).
Last but not least, blocks can be lined up and played as dominoes. It’s actually pretty fun to watch their reactions.
You can get blocks online here and let your toddler have a blast trying out the different ways to play with blocks.
2. Food and Cooking Toys
Food and cooking toys are really fun for toddlers.
Though it may seem as simple as your toddler serving you food, however, there is more than that.
Your toddler can learn what it means to prepare the food such as washing their ingredients, cutting up food, cooking on the stove, or using the microwave.
These cooking toys are really helpful in teaching them how to mimic you in real life.
My toddler is starting to cook “breakfast” for us with a mix of play food, blocks, and kinetic sand on a plate.
She is learning to decide what is on the menu and how we’re going to eat the food using her pre-selected play utensils. Also, she’s serving coffee (this is a similar tea set to the one I bought) to my in laws over video chat.
Toddlers can operate a play restaurant, prepare and cook, or even learn to feed their plush toys with food and cooking toys.
You can get these multipurpose toys online or at a local toy store near you.
Balls are great multipurpose toys.
From developing the different skills such as throwing, kicking, catching, rolling, and bouncing, toddlers have so much fun in playing with a ball.
I wrote more about ways to play with a ball in my blog post here.
What’s great about balls is that your toddler can play by themselves or with someone else (aka you or another sibling).
It can be as simple as passing the ball from one person to another, or you can create a game or obstacle course for them to explore various ways to play with a ball.
This is up to your toddler’s imagination and how you encourage them to move more with a ball.
You can buy balls online or at a toy shop near you.
4. Soft Plushies
There are so many ways to play with plush toys besides just hugging them to sleep.
Your toddler can play pretend with them whether it is role acting in having tea parties or putting on bandages because they have a boo-boo, the options are endless.
My toddler used to not care so much for them when she was younger, but as she got a little older, she really like imitating what she sees in real life with them. This includes checking their temperature as a doctor, putting stickers on them as bandages, or putting them on the couch to nap after taking a shower in the play kitchen sink.
You can let them be creative with how they would like to play with them, as in child-led play. Or, you can also explain a concept to them using these plush toys such as behavior or math concepts such as arranging them from smallest to biggest in size.
If you would like to get a personalized plush toy, Etsy is a great place to check out the different designs out there.
5. Water and Sand Toys
Toddlers love playing with water and sand (mostly). There is something about the texture and exploring the different ways water and sand move that fascinates them. Also, it can really occupy their time which gives you some time to do the things you need to.
In the winter, we were able to take out these toys and build snow castles. It worked out so well. Though it may be unconventional, we had a lot of fun with it. I took snow from our backyard and put them in our water and sand table while we’re indoors. We were able to stay warm and my toddler could play with snow while wearing gloves.
In the spring, we took out our kinetic sand and pour them in our water and sand table. Using the shovels and other cups from the set (similar set here), my toddler can enjoy the sand using the same set of toys as in the winter but with sand.
I would recommend you to get some water and sand toys along with the water table so that your toddler can be entertained throughout the different seasons.
6. Craft Supplies
Creating crafts with a toddler can be so messy, but so much fun!
It’s not technically a toy, but could be used to create toys. Remember that toys does not have to be pre-made, it can be anything they enjoy playing with.
It could even be with a toilet paper roll, a balloon, and some pom poms as in my blog post here.
Pinterest is a great place to check out for ideas. What I like to do is to see what special events are coming up, and plan to make crafts with my toddler.
Depending on the interest of your toddler, you can search out different things you can create together and play.
7. Old everyday household items
Do you realize that sometimes your toddler would rather play with your spatula or something he/she finds in your cupboards?
Sometimes I say to my husband, why buy her all these toys when she is going to play with the box or with the house keys.
If you have any household items that you can part with that is also safe for your toddler to play with, they might really love it. They might imitate you as how you would use the item.
Kids are pretty creative and you’ll be surprised to see what they come up with even with old everyday house items.
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