Although the coronavirus vaccine is already being distributed in states across the nation, it appears that much of the American workforce will continue to work from home for a large portion of 2021. And if you happen to be the parent of a toddler, that is both a blessing and a curse. It’s no secret that toddlers are like balls of energy, which means keeping them entertained (and out of trouble) during the remote workday is a full-time job in itself.
While technological devices such as tablets and smartphones do a great job of keeping children occupied, at least temporarily, they are not the best way to fill a toddler’s day. Further, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers receive limited amounts of daily screentime. Too much screentime has been linked to slower brain development in toddlers.
We all want to see our kids thrive and develop at an appropriate pace — pandemic or not — but keeping them intellectually engaged throughout the remote workday can feel virtually impossible some days. However, there is hope. Toddlers learn through play, which means that if you’re purchasing the right toys, you can encourage independent play while simultaneously promoting learning in your home. It also means that your kid is occupied so that you can fit in some uninterrupted work time.
If you’ll be working from home with a toddler in 2021, here are 10 toys and activities you may want to consider adding to the rotation.
Mickey Mouse Indoor Outdoor Playhouse
The Mickey Mouse Indoor/Outdoor Playhouse by Delta Children is great because it can be utilized inside of your home as well as in your backyard. It encourages development through imaginative play and can keep children entertained for hours — especially if you have more than one child.
Slotic Wooden Puzzles
The Slotic Wooded Puzzle Set checks all of the boxes for toddler development. Each puzzle is well-crafted, large, and colorful. It assists with color recognition, shape recognition, hand-eye coordination, and critical thinking skills. Depending on the age of your child, they may not be able to successfully assemble the puzzles by themselves at first, but it’s a toy that they can grow into over time.
Minnie Mouse Wooden Activity Easel
The Minnie Mouse Wooden Activity Easel by Delta Children is a 3-in-1 toy that can grow with your child. One side is a magnetic dry erase board and the other, a chalkboard. It comes with ABC magnets that toddlers will enjoy removing and reapplying as well as a magnetic Minnie Mouse puzzle.
Kidkraft Ultimate Corner Kitchen
The KidKraft Ultimate Corner Kitchen is the Mercedes Benz of play kitchens. This well-crafted wooden kitchen comes complete with realistic-sounding burners and an icemaker. With the right play food accessories and toy dishes, which are unfortunately sold separately, your tot can entertain herself for 20-30 minutes at a time.
My Best Toddler Coloring Book
Coloring is always a fun activity that most toddlers can appreciate working on independently. The My Best Toddler Coloring Book by Happy Toddlerz is a great coloring book that helps to support number, shape, letter, color, and animal recognition. The best part of this coloring book is that the images are largely printed, which makes coloring easier for toddlers.
Shuttle Art Water-Based Gel Crayons
Speaking of coloring, no coloring book is complete without the right set of crayons. The water-based gel crayon set from Shutter Art is perfect because the crayons are non-toxic and the plastic discourages toddlers from eating them. The colors and extremely vibrant and the crayons come in a wide range.
Babe Rock Shape Sorter
Shape sorters are a must-have for parents of toddlers and the Babe Rock Shape Sorter is one of the best. They help to strengthen hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and shape and color recognition. The wooden pieces are bright and painted with non-toxic water-based paint, so you don’t have to worry when your toddler inevitably puts them in her mouth.
GEMEM Alphabet and Number Puzzles
When you have a toddler, there’s no such thing as too many puzzles. And the GEMEM alphabet and number puzzle is a great addition to any collection. It offers all of the regular benefits of puzzles plus number and letter recognition. Younger tots won’t be able to successfully put the letters and numbers in the appropriate slots initially, but they will have fun trying.
An oldie, but goodie. Play-Doh never goes out of style when it comes to preschoolers. It helps to promote fine motor skills, creativity, and hand-eye coordination. It’s a great sensory toy that can be used to help highly energetic toddlers wind down due to its calming properties. Play-Doh can easily offer 20-30 minutes of independent play, which means more uninterrupted work time for parents.
Olefun Dinosaur Toys PlayBox
I have yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t love dinosaurs, which is why the Olefun Dinosaur PlayBox, which comes with a dinosaur sound book and dinosaur figurines are the perfect gift. Children will enjoy the vivid and colorful imagery in the books, hearing dino sounds, and playing with the figurines.