Wondering how you can make the right decision when it comes to toys? In this article, we’ll look at how to select preschool classroom toys that are age appropriate, safe and geared towards helping toddlers’ development.
Choosing the right type of toys for your preschool can be challenging, especially given the broad number of choices available in today’s market, each claiming to be the latest and greatest to assist in child development. This leaves early childhood educators wondering which ones are the best to choose for their classroom. Often there are a lack of resources and funding available for teachers, making it that much more important to choose the right preschool classroom toys that will be useful for long periods of time, holding toddlers’ interest and withstanding daily use.
Age Appropriate Toys
Before you choose new toys for your preschool, consider the age range of children in your care. Infants need very different toys than energetic toddlers or children who may be approaching school age. For instance, young infants are typically more interested in toys they can hold onto, with different textures, shapes and colours. Older infants have a greater range of movement, and like to play with building toys, dolls, vehicles and larger toys they can move around with.
Toddlers, on the other hand, can begin to experiment with craft supplies, puzzles, different sized balls and other kinds of toys that require more hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Depending on the makeup of your classroom, you should choose age appropriate toys that can be used by all children in your preschool.
When choosing preschool classroom toys, always choose items that are large enough so they cannot be easily swallowed or become lodged in a child’s windpipe. Young children often want to explore toys thoroughly, and that sometimes means putting them in their mouths! Whether your classroom ranges in age from infant to pre-k, it’s a good general rule to opt for larger-sized toys and components just to be safe.
You’ll also want to look for toys that can be easily washed or cleaned. Some plastic toys are dishwasher safe, while others must be washed or wiped down by hand using a mild detergent and sanitizer. Consider the ease of cleaning a toy when choosing to include it in your classroom to limit the spread of dirt and bacteria.
It is a good idea to carefully select a wide range of preschool classroom toys that encourage and support child development in several areas. Pick out toys that will help develop fine motor skills, social skills, critical thinking skills and large motor skills.
You may also want to consider what your preschool students are interested in right now. Choose toys that align with their current interests – zoo animals, for example – to support an emergent curriculum that moves according to where the students want to go.
Keep in mind that the toys you choose do not have to be complicated or expensive to help support healthy development. For more preschool classroom management tips be sure to subscribe to the HiMama newsletter to get the latest advice direct to your inbox!