Cute little girl and boy playing with toys

Toddlers Play and Toys

As toddlers are little explorers, and their attention span is limited, their play needs to focus around new activities and a variety of activities. Anything past 30 minutes and you will probably find they are bored or frustrated at not being able to do what they want to do. They may even have a tantrum, as they are unable to understand the emotion of frustration. This is to be expected so don’t try to keep them focusing on one thing or insist they finish a game or activity.

Try to set up various activities so they can move from one to another at their own pace. When you see the opportunity, explore with them or help them learn something more about the game. When playing with building blocks, they may put one on top of the other. You could show them how to make a bridge, but don’t insist they do it, as this will challenge them and may make your child feel insecure – they may not try the game again. Watch for your child’s reaction, if you can see they understand, and they try to build the bridge, then progress to the next step. If they are looking at you and back at the bridge, but not touching it, then just show them again and then move onto another game or toy.

Play tip: Rotate their toys – put some away for a few weeks or for a rainy day.

Adorable little girl painting Easter eggs


  • Sturdy push along toy, which they can walk behind to gain confidence.
  • Pop-up toys that have buttons and levers they can push.
  • Different size stacking blocks that fit into one another.
  • Jigsaw puzzles (3-4 pieces) and shape-sorters.
  • Thick crayons and paper to scribble on.
  • Water and sand play (with adult supervision).

Play tips

  • Sharing is hard to learn – be patient. It helps if each child has a toy to swap.
  • Rotate their toys – put some away for a few weeks or for a rainy day.
  • Give them their own kitchen cupboard, with plastic bowls, saucepans and wooden spoons.

Related articles