For the toddler age is especially true: everyday and household objects are usually much more interesting than toys that can be bought!
Every child is different and has its own preferences. The following ideas for games and toys are therefore only intended as suggestions. Always base your choice of games and toys on your child’s interests and stage of development. And it’s not hard at all: Just watch your child play – he or she will show you what he or she likes to do and what he or she finds exciting!
Toys for toddlers that cost nothing
- Boxes with contents to put in and take out,
- cups, pots and plastic bowls,
- mixing spoons and whisks,
- non-fluffy cotton cloths,
- a large cardboard box – you can cut out windows and doors with a knife (preferably so that you can still open and close them), and the house is ready,
- Bicycle bell, short time alarm clock,
- Handbag with contents to put in and take out,
- pocket mirror,
- corks and egg cartons,
- water, sand,
- Leaves, chestnuts, acorns, stones, pieces of wood, shells,
- Salt dough (2 parts flour, 1 part salt, a little oil or water as needed); can also be colored with food coloring,
- homemade giant picture books: glue colorful pictures on large pieces of an old cardboard. Punch holes in the sides of the cardboard, pull a cord through the two holes and knot the ends of the cord together.
Toys for toddlers to buy and give away
- Anything that can be pulled, rolled or pushed is suitable: a pull-along toy (with wide axles), a large car with a load floor and wide wheels to sit on and load, perhaps with a trailer,
- a large car to sit on and drive around, perhaps with a trailer,
- a large stuffed animal or soft doll to cuddle and love,
- large building blocks in different colors and shapes,
- toys made of pieces that can be put together, such as cup pyramids or ring pyramids,
- simple picture books, preferably tear-proof (for slightly older children, “giant picture books” are particularly interesting because there is a vast amount to discover and look at on the poster-sized pages),
- toys for the sandbox,
- a drum,
- a soft ball or foam cube,
- a wooden train set with several cars,
- smaller cars,
- a xylophone,
- simple plug-in games with large pieces,
- wax crayons, finger paints (are also suitable for printing with potato stamps),
- toy telephone,
- cassettes or CDs with children’s songs,
- large wooden beads for threading,
- first large puzzles with large pieces.
What your toddler can occupy himself with alone
- Putting things in and out, putting things together, taking things apart (for example, shoe cabinet, drawer with dish towels, etc., but don’t leave sharp objects to play with!).
- Climbing outdoors, playing with larger rocks, sand, mud, water, and branches,
- build with building blocks,
- drive cars and locomotives,
- play with dolls,
- Making noise, drumming,
- draw first pictures,
- observing and imitating animals and people.
What your child loves to play with you
- Hide and seek games: Hiding people and objects and “conjuring them back up”.
- Sound games: Drumming with cardboard tubes, making paper rustle, drumming with a piece of wood on different objects.
- Building something together, looking at picture books or photos, singing.
- Jumping down from something and letting you catch them,
- run into your arms and let you spin them in circles,
- Crawl under you and climb over you or climb up you.
- Riding game: you are the horse, your child rides.
- Wheelbarrow ride: You lift the child’s legs up, the child walks on your hands.
- Test of strength: you let your child push you and push you back. The child wins – you fall over.
- Imitate the movements of animals: this is how the duck waddles, this is how the cat creeps, this is how the frog hops.
- Balance on the wall.
- Romping around, pillow fights, paper fights, playing tag, ball games.
- “Please-thank-you” games, that is, fetching or carrying away something when asked,
- Helping around the house.
- Play with simple hand puppets or finger puppets.
- Reading aloud and telling stories, especially small, everyday stories in which the child himself appears.
But surely you yourself invent many other games that just come up!