You know that mini toys are a major hazard when it comes to small children. Most of the tiniest ones have a warning to kids under about age six, with the biggest risk factors for kids under three. However, toddlers love small objects. This presents a problem that many parents struggle to overcome.
Why Toddlers Love Mini Toys
Imagine being a couple of feet tall and experiencing everything around you for the first time. It is likely exciting, fast-paced, and a lot overwhelming. Welcome to early toddlerhood.
Sometime between late infancy and early toddlerhood, kids enter a time where their attention is finely tuned to little details. This sensitive period to small objects is where they learn boundaries (what is safe to touch,eat, smell, hold, etc.) and key differences between things that lie in the details.
4 Fun Ways To Encourage Safe Play
While small objects pose a choking hazard, some mini toys can be part of safe play for younger children. Keep in mind that it requires a little extra planning and very careful supervision. The following seven activities are awesome ways to encourage your toddler’s love of fine details without compromising safety.
1. Roll the Dice
If you have older kids, there are probably a few odd dice rolling around the house somewhere, long separated from their fellow game pieces. Collect these in a bin and turn them into a fun activity. Younger kids can learn sorting, number order, and counting by playing with them under close supervision.
2. Create a Wildlife Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are excellent tools for so many reasons. They allow kids to explore the environment, experiment with textures and temperatures, and connect multiple senses in a fun way. Add a few mini toys into a bin filled with rice, sand, or shaving cream, and let your toddler dive in.
3. Make Salt Dough Stamps
Salt dough is safe, non-toxic, and easy to whip up with a few basic ingredients you probably have in the house. It also gives kids something safe and not too tasty to put in their mouths to discourage mouthing small toys.
Grab a favorite salt dough recipe and start making ornaments, animal figurines, and sculptures. Then, you can add some small objects, such as marbles, glitter, or pebbles to dress them up.
4. Build a Miniature City
Simple blocks, legos, and magnetic tiles are all excellent tools for building kid-friendly backgrounds for hours of adventure. Get creative and build a farm where your toddler’s favorite mini animals can roam.
Tips for Safe Play
As with any other activities your toddlers undertake, careful observation is crucial for a safe play environment. You should also consider your child’s personality, abilities, and tendencies. For example, if she cannot go more than a minute or two without popping something into her mouth, she may not be ready to try these activities. However, if she can play for 10 or 15 minutes without mouthing a toy, it may be time to consider some safe activities utilizing mini toys.
Toddlers have a natural love of fine details and small things. You can take advantage of this by encouraging safe, creative play with mini toys. Shop online for safe toys that promote imaginative exploration of the surrounding world.