Welcome to the first installment of our series on matching outdoor toys to children’s ages.
January is a good time to start planning how you would like to use your garden when the weather improves later in the year.
When you have children, it’s important that the play equipment you make available to them is a good match for their developmental ability. With that in mind this month we will be focusing on the outdoor toys most appropriate for a variety of age ranges:
- 1 & 2 year olds - 3 & 4 year olds - 5 & 6 year olds - 7 & 8 year olds - 9 & 10 year olds - 11 & 12 year olds - 13 years +
And to round off the month, we will finish with a blog post that focuses on toys and equipment that can help siblings with a large age gap play together.
This post is all about catering for the needs of an adventurous toddler.
A Word About Age Ranges
No matter what age your child, you should be guided by the recommended age range, but more heavily rely on your own judgement about what is developmentally appropriate. All children differ in abilities. If you took two children who were exactly the same age what they enjoyed to do, found easy, struggled with, or could master with practice would differ greatly.
When choosing outdoor toys you need to strike a balance between offering a little challenge to keep them engaged but not too much so as to cause frustration. Children this age grow and develop quickly, so what was a fun toy one month may be quickly outgrown the next. For this reason it is probably best to hold off buying expensive toys until their development has levelled out a little.
Many toddlers enjoy being swung back and forth, but are not yet steady enough to sit unaided on a regular swing seat. We sell a range of supportive seats and harnesses that can be used to adapt a children’s swing frame for toddlers.
Climb And Slide
A climb and slide is an American term for plastic play equipment that incorporates a small, shallow slide with a gentle inclined climbing ramp. These are a great first introduction to slides and climbing frames. Even better, depending on the size of your living room, these can be easily moved indoors on wet days.
Sand And Water Play
Toddlers love to play with sand and water as it provides a rich sensory experience for them. When it comes to containers you have two options: a shallow splasher pool on the floor or a raised play table.
Tables are only suitable for toddlers aged 2 years and up who can stand unaided and reliably. Gripping onto the side of the table for balance may cause it to tip, so it’s really important your child is a confident walker.
If your child is a little unsteady on their feet, or likely to attempt to mount the table and get in the sand / water, a shallow splash pool on the ground will probably serve you better.
If your child is an older two year old, big for their age, or a confident climber, take a look at the next installment in this series of posts matching toys to ages.