Motherhood + Our Favorite Educational Toys + Games
My favorite part about motherhood lately is watching Tad beginning to truly grasp onto new concepts, ideas, words, activities, and all things that pertain to him growing into a more comprehensive human being. It's exciting and always, somehow, shocking and breathtaking at the same time. I try really hard to not compare his development to other children, and because of that we can enjoy the stages he is at without wondering where he should be. In my opinion, I think we're at a really good place. Right now he's beginning to form small sentences, loves putting together puzzles, can match up animals/objects to their names and noises when asked, and can perform most tasks that we ask him to (if he wants! ha!).
After Christmas, we brought his new toys home and swapped out some of the old ones. To be honest, I didn't buy Tad any new toys this year. He doesn't really need them! When it comes to toys, I believe less is more and that he plays so much better when there are less choices. Right now we have about 10 choices for things to play with, and they occupy him perfectly. I wanted to share some of our personal favorite for toys and games that are not only fun but engage his little mind as well!
Rainbow Stacking Toy by WoodenStory
I love this toy! It is beautifully crafted and made with so much careful thought. I won this toy in a giveaway on Instagram and am so glad that I did! This company is really unique, and I would be happy to purchase something from them in the future. All natural, non toxic, and made with the forest in mind - so cool! Obviously, it passed the test on my end... but I wasn't sure if it would really catch Tad's interest. I was pleasantly surprised! This toy has been great to enjoy together. We begin by placing each color on a separate peg, and then I ask him to match up the other color blocks accordingly. It's actually worked really well to help him learn which colors are which! I like learning them this way rather than in a color matching book - it's hands on, the little blocks are the perfect size for toddler hands, and he feels like he's completed something really interesting at the end!
ABC Puzzle by The Learning Journey
This puzzle really surprised me! We have a few other puzzle choices that include animals and cars, which Tad has now completed again and again. Those were easy because he could recognize the matching photos. I thought that this one might be a bit too difficult for him, as it was more about matching shapes. Again, pleasantly surprised to find that he loves this puzzle! The best part? There are little pictures on the board to help matching which letters go where. For instance, you can see above that the letter "H" has a hat picture to go with it. I can ask him where the hat is and he know that the "H" goes there! He always gets excited when we pull this puzzle off the shelf; it's a little challenging and we get to spend time together working on it.
Clever Matching Game by Eeboo
When my mom picked this game up for Tad, I thought it was going to be too difficult for him to use. I have to keep telling my rule following mind to not be hindered by the recommended age! We play the game a bit differently right now; we place all the cards out with the pictures facing up, mixed up of course, and then he finds the matching images. We celebrate and then place the matched cards off to the side until he can find them all. The little pictures are so sweet!!
Wooden Camera by Bannor Toys
This toy definitely plays more with Tad's creative side! My job has me working quite a bit with a camera. Tad's attitude definitely shifts when it comes to the camera being out - he either wants nothing to do with it, or he is desperately trying to play with mine. I love this toy because he can feel like he's helping me and also get a little creative rush out of it as well. For now, there's just lots of copying motions like mama. I hope that soon he'll realize he can "take photos" with his camera as well! Eventually, we'll move into a little disposable camera that he can actually use!
Wooden Emergency Vehicles by Melissa and Doug
Tad's favorite toys of all time - his cars! I'm sharing this toy more so for fun than for educational purposes. As you can see, this toy has been loved on quite a bit. I love wooden toys - they look classic and are built to last. They just look better with age! This little set of cars comes with four emergency vehicles: a firetruck, police car, ambulance, and medical helicopter. They also come with four little wooden driver (though we've misplaced a few of those now and again). As soon as he wakes up in the morning, these are his go to choices, and I am so happy that I bought them! They're the perfect size for little hands, sturdy, and just plain adorable. Melissa and Doug is my favorite toy brand, and I think any of their toys are perfect for toddlers!
Looking for book ideas? Tad loves anything that comes in the form of a child's encyclopedia! I wonder where he gets that from... LOL. This big book of trucks and cars has been great for teaching him the names of each vehicle, and it is also the bane of my existence. I often find myself hiding them (he has another with animals) after a long day. We spend a lot of time pointing and matching. "Tractor. Tractor. Tractor. Okay, it's a tractor." But in hindsight, it's a great learning tool! My favorite part is when we switch it up, and I get to ask what each of the different vehicles are.
And those are our favorite toys + games! I hope you found some new ideas for your little ones. Do you have any favorites that you think I might like? Feel free to leave a comment!