No Toys For This Tot

Hearing a resounding crash that seemed endless and louder than thunder, I leaped out of bed and slammed right into DH who was racing out of the bathroom towards our toddler’s bedroom. My heart was beating a mile a minute but I stepped aside to let him go ahead of me, knowing he was much faster and would get to our child quicker. I realized that there were no screams or cries that followed the loudest crash I’ve ever heard. My mind raced with possible scenarios, one of which included that the entire cupboard in her bedroom fell on her and she could not longer scream.

We got to her doorway in seconds and quickly took in the scene. Like snapshots, I registered the swaying of our glider’s ottoman, the puzzle pieces scattered across the floor, the Melissa & Doug Pizza Party and Birthday Party upended and strewn across the floor, and our little toddler blissfully unaware that her climbing expedition could have ended disastrously. She was too busy on the floor, putting together the slabs of birthday cake, holding tight to the velcro bottomed candles.

I’m absolutely shocked that my water did not break. My husband started to disciplined Baby J., letting her know that climbing was dangerous, while I picked up the still moving ottomon, turned it over and placed it upside down in the glider. I said a quick little prayer that she was not hurt, and then went back to bed. Eyes wide opened, I couldn’t settle down and go back to sleep.

I hadn’t even realized that Baby J. knew where I had “hid” these two toys. We bought them for her as Chanukah presents but quickly realized that the warning label made sense, especially when she tried to eat a piece of wooden pepperoni. As soon as the new cupboard was installed, I placed it on one of the higher shelves, and planned on leaving it there until she was old enough to play with it properly.

So, you may wonder, why would I ever buy her a toy that wasn’t in her age group? What was I possibly thinking!

If you have a 2 year old at home, you are probably as frustrated as I am with the absolute lack of toys for toddlers! Last week, we went to the toys store to load up on toddler presents for when the baby please g-d arrives. My friends in the States insisted that I should get at least one present for every single day I’ll be in the hospital and, since I’m already scheduled for a C-section, that’s 5 days of gifts.

It was an absolute toddler toys wasteland and I wandered up and down the aisles, frustration mounting quickly. The section for infants were chock full of great toys, but they were all too young for her. The section for 3 and up, meanwhile, took up more than three aisles! There were puzzles and blocks, dolls and play kitchens, wooden toys and plastic toys, play phones and play computers, ALL bearing the warning label that the toy wasn’t appropriate for anyone below the age of 3.

When I asked for help, and specifically to be shown the section with educational and exciting toys for toddler two’s, I was extremely disappointed in what was on the shelves. In the end, I loaded up on stickers, coloring books, markers, and a puzzle that has 6 pieces and is also marked ages 3 and up, and headed out the door.

Thinking that this must be an Israel problem, in that our little Country just doesn’t import better toys, I called my sister in the States and asked her advice. If need be, I was willing to buy in the States and ask my parents to bring them to us when they come and visit. With our daughter’s only a month a part, I thought she would have an impressive list of the toys we are missing out on here in the Middle East.

Listening to my sister complain about the lack of appropriate toys for ages 2-3, I realized how wrong I have been! It looks like there just aren’t great toys for toddler two’s, which is such a shame! Either the toys are too immature for them, or they are too old for them, but nothing that’s great that’s also a perfect fit agewise.

It turns out that I’m not the only parent willing to play the odds with the warning labels and, as long as the pieces aren’t too small, I guess I’m going to be purchasing toys that are good for ages 3+. While I believe that these warning labels are there for a reason – case in point with my daughter and the Melissa & Doug toys – what other choices do I have?

Do you have a toddler toy problem? Are you currently buying toys appropriate for ages 3+ but letting your 2 and 2 1/2 year old play with them? Got any recommendations for toys that are good for toddler 2’s? If so, please comment below!

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5 Responses to No Toys For This Tot

  1. Here are our favourite toys for a 2-year-old:
    1. Was impressed to see that DD is beginning to piece together simple puzzles – the jigsaw kind, not shapes in a wooden frame.
    2. Stickers and paper. Hours of entertainment if you are generous with handing out the stickers. Buy packets of 30 sheets of coloured shapes (all the same) etc… from Office Depot.
    3. Figures of film characters e.g. Winnie the Pooh and Snow White etc… DD lines them up and gives each one a crayon (what for?).
    4. Colouring books with crayons and stickers.
    5. Soft balls
    Hope this is helpful.

    • holylandhipstermom says:

      We definitely need to buy more balls in this house as Baby J. needs to sleep with at least one of them, and likes to tote one around the house at all times!

  2. I was reading a parenting book that says the best toys for 2-year-olds are books and balls, but it didn’t really give options beyond that. In our experience, other good toys for this age group include Mr./Mrs. Potato Head, a play doctor set, blocks/legos, and stickers, stickers, stickers. A magna doodle is also a great toy, as are just regular crayons and markers.

    I recently posted 2 posts on toys: http://www.babythingsiwant.com/2010/01/mrs-potato-head.html AND http://www.babythingsiwant.com/2011/01/educational-and-fun-toys.html.

    If you come up with more, i’d love for you to guest post with some of your suggestions!

    And thank god baby J wasn’t hurt.

    • holylandhipstermom says:

      I’ll definitely think about some other suggestions and will let you know about guest posting! I hadn’t thought about Mr. Potato head though, will check our your post to see if we can buy them in Israel!

      BTW – the folks over at Melissa & Doug responding to my tweet about this blog post and agreed that there is a significant lack of toys for the 2 year old. No word on whether or not they’re going to try to rectify that problem though.

  3. I’m so glad Baby J is okay! That sounds terrifying.

    You’re onto something about the lack of toys. It also depends on the child, and how likely they are to put things in their mouth, I suppose. I think you’re fine to purchase 3+ toys, as long as you keep an eye on how your toddler is playing with them, you know?

    I try to rotate our toys to keep them interesting. The toys he mainly plays with are Quatro blocks (twice as big as Duplo), wooden blocks, a toy kitchen (he likes to toss the toys, oh well), My Little Ponies (they were mine from when I was a child!), toy cars, a dump truck, balls, waterproof markers and stickers. Then we have a few “noisy” toys that are educational – teaching Alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc.

    G-d willing, when you have the baby, Baby J will be plenty entertained by her new sibling.

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