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We moved into our townhouse just about two years ago, and I thought it was perfect.
That was before I knew how much stuff kids come with.
Right now while I’m writing this post, I am looking at a bike, a car, a slide, a basketball hoop, and three buckets full of toys all sitting in my living room. Our house doesn’t have a playroom, so all of the toys end up in our main living space, which means it’s almost always a mess. Because we don’t have a playroom, I’ve had to start being choosy about what toys I buy for K. We just don’t have room for everything, so only the best toys make the cut. And my new go-to place for awesome toys is the new Target Toy Emporium that is only available on Target.com. I love Target and #TargetToys.
As a mom, I look for toys that get K up and moving (aka toys that make him sleep better) and toys that help him learn developmental skills that he needs. He’s just so much happier after a day full of being outdoors and crazy playing like this.
And as I’ve watched K grow and start really playing with toys, I’ve quickly learned that the toys he and all of his little toddler friends like and play with most fall into one of four categories – toys that stack, toys that move, toys with lots of colors/textures, and animals. So when I’m choosing toys, I make sure that they fall into one of those four categories AND meet my needs as a mom.
Here’s a little shopping cheat sheet for next time you want to buy your toddler a toy. K loves all of these so I’m betting your toddler will too.
1 – Toys that Stack
I wrote about this previously with my tissue box activities, but it’s so true. Toddlers love to stack things and knock them down. And bonus, it helps them develop those fine motor skills!
Our Favorite Toy: KidKraft Wooden Block Set
Why We Love It: These are no ordinary blocks. The set of 100 blocks comes with various shapes and colors, which is perfect for K who is currently working on his shapes. I also love the bright bold colors that are so different from your typical wood block set.
2 – Toys that Move
K loves cars, bikes, balls, trucks, and anything else that will move when he pushes it. There’s just something more fun about a toy that moves, especially if it’s like the Radio Flyer toys that move with you on them.
Our Favorite Toy: Radio Flyer Red Spin N Saucer
Why We Love It: K loves his little car, but he really needs someone to push him around in it. The Spin N Saucer is designed specially for toddlers to be able to move themselves back and forth using their feet, which means I don’t have to push K, and that makes us both happy.
3 – Toys that Have Cool Colors and/or Textures
If I give K the option of a plain wood block or a blue block, he always picks the blue one. And if I give him the option of a book with colorful and bright pictures or a book with very simple and boring pictures, again, he always picks the more interesting one. Skip the boring and go for the toy that has bright and fun colors and textures. And as a bonus, anything with colors can be used once they’re old enough to work on colors, sorting, etc.
Our Favorite Toy: Melissa & Doug Activity Cones
Why We Love Them: These actually hit a number of the different categories. They come in four different colors with all sorts of textures, so they’re perfect for teaching colors and playing games. They’re also great for stacking on top of each other and apparently on top of our slide. As K gets older and understands cones a little better, I’m also planning to use them for fun obstacle courses in the yard!
4 – Animals
Most toddlers love animals, and K is no exception. He absolutely adores them and points them out everywhere we go whether it be on a cereal box in the grocery store or the animals in his favorite books. He’s almost always got his horses or dog in his hands and the only times he doesn’t is because he has food or drink in them.
Our Favorite Toy: Stuffies Baby Digger Dog
Why We Love Him: First off, isn’t he just the cutest. The best part, however, is that he’s not just a regular stuffed animal. His mouth is actually a zipper pocket (to hold K’s binky or blocks), and his feet are magnetic, so I can actually stick him to metal things in the house, which K thinks is hilarious.
You can get all four of these toys on the Target Toy Emporium under the “Move” category, which is full of great toys designed to get kids up and moving, away from technology and boredom.
We played a couple of games on the deck this week with the toys, and he dragged all of those toys from one side of the deck to the other, up and down the slide, and even off the side of the deck for some of them. And all of them survived ready for another day of play tomorrow.
Want more inspiration for ways to play with your kids? Check out all of these other great ideas that promote activity and play.