The truth is that our favourite little people are simply amazing at amusing themselves with even the most seemingly mundane of resources. Toddlers will find shoe boxes fascinating, they’ll spend hours picking up and throwing down balls, they’ll be more interested in climbing all over the chairs and sofa than the piles of toys you’ve so neatly assembled behind them.
Of course, while they are indeed playing, our toddlers are also exploring, getting to grips with the strange and varied universe about them, honing their skills, discovering their new abilities.Imagine what an incredible time they must be having; everything is so new, all the objects that are so ordinary and dull in our daily lives hold them in magical thrall, bewitching them, imploring them to touch, twist turn and, yes, chew.
So just how does one go about choosing a special gift for a beloved baby when so many of the commonplace things that they encounter will offer them so much appeal and value? Here, it pays to learn a little from the little minds about us and be creative. We must tap in to their motivations and allow ourselves to be inspired by our toddlers’ incredible ability to discover, explore and play.
Eating stuff is generally a pastime to which we can all relate, only for toddlers, food and drink is a little different, since everything is so new, strange, wonderful or, on occasion, terrible. Not only are toddlers learning about tastes, smells, textures and flavours, they’re also learning about the mechanics of eating and drinking, how to hold a spoon, pick up crumbs, chew properly on their mouthfuls.
As well as the consumption of food and drink and all that entails, toddlers are beginning to take note of what their parents are up to in the kitchen, with the cooking process also an area of great interest. For all these reasons, great gifts for toddlers include kitchen play sets (which serve the practical purpose of giving them the opportunity to hold and manipulate utensils);personalised bandana bibs; fun-shaped cookie cutters (for the cook, of course); and suction-based plates, which will hold steady as your child scrambles around their dish with a spoon.
The act of placing one thing on top of another thing, before knocking it down, will be exactly how your toddler will spend much of his or her time growing up. The constructions may evolve, taking on more individual components as you child develops, becoming increasingly complex and ambitious, but in the end, no matter how splendid or magnificent the building in question, it is its fate to end, much as it began, as a heap on the floor.
Building stuff helps your child explore their imaginations as they get a grip on the ways of the universe. They get to practice the delicate movements required in order to assemble, balance and construct a structure, and, for reasons as yet determined, take great pleasure in the destruction of their creations. As such, fantastic gifts for toddlers also include not only building blocks, but also toddler starter building sets by Lego, and domino sets, which, as well as being the most fun you can get from knocking something down, are fantastic for perfecting you child’s motor skills.
Your little one doesn’t have to be the next Amadeus Mozart, John Coltrane or Ringo Starr to love music, dancing, singing and banging stuff. If music is a joy for you, imagine just how magical it must be for your toddler, who gets to hear and practise new sounds, melodies and language each time you play or sing a song. Sing-alongs are fun, educational and an amazing way to spend time together. As well as this, music motivates children to improve their tactile handling of tools and instruments as they develop their understanding of tone and rhythm.
Fantastic musical gifts for your toddler include musical instruments, such as xylophones, drums, tambourines, keyboards and recorders; sing-along books; microphones and speakers for kids; and nursery rhyme books, CDs and videos.
You just can’t go wrong with a good story, no matter the age of your audience. The art of storytelling is as old as time itself, and the act of sharing a story experience with your child is educational, social and fun. The more your child gets to hear you tell them stories, the more they can learn from your pronunciation, enunciation and vocabulary. This will help them improve at how they articulate ideas to express themselves, which can in turn have a positive effect on how they control their emotions and deal with challenges. Wonderful gifts include pop-up books, classic tales, movies and, the best gift of all, your precious time together.