Play stages for Toddlers

18 - 24 months: 

With movement now at the top of the things-to-do list, your toddler will now be refining both gross motor (running, jumping, climbing) and fine motor (scribbling, threading, holding and carrying) skills - so the best toys are those that encourage this development. 

At this stage, introduce:

  • Craft

    Your toddler will begin to be interested in scribbling with large crayons, squeezing playdoh between her fingers and finger painting. 
  • Role playing games

    Your toddler has been watching you for her whole life and at this stage she will begin to play imagination games that mirror home life. Let her play house with a tea set, a toy stroller, a telephone, a doll's bed and a teddy bear and watch the magic happen. 
  • Books

    Now that your toddler has a little more independence, she'll really enjoy picking the books you read, turning the pages and pointing out interesting things on the page. Don't be surprised though if she picks the same book every night - toddlers learn through repetition. 

2 - 3 years: 

In the third year of life, your toddler will begin to move from playing side-by-side with other children to interacting more directly, and as a consequence, the games he likes to play will become more socially oriented. While there will inevitably be issues about sharing and turn-taking, he will enjoy being involved in peer-led play.

At this stage, introduce: 

  • Simple puzzles

    Your toddler now has the fine motor skills and the understanding needed to do simple puzzles. These will encourage him to learn how to problem-solve and strategise. He will also love the sense of achievement that comes from slotting in that last piece! 
  • Sports games

    With all that energy to burn and physical skills to hone, ball games are very popular at this age. Whether he's kicking a ball, using a set of golf clubs, or learning to hit a ball with a bat, sports games are also a wonderful way to learn social skills - taking turns, ideas of fair play, and losing gracefully. 
  • Shops

    A cash register, play money, a shopping basket and some empty cereal boxes is all it will take for your toddler to set up his own shop. Playing shops teaches your toddler how to interact with others peacefully and helps him to understand his world.

Toddler » Play

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