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We all know that we need to limit screen time. But most people don’t know that we should be limiting the tech in our toys too. Why is that? Because electronic/battery operated toys do a lot of the thinking, talking, and problem-solving for our kids. Why make animal sounds if the toy will make it for you? Of course, this isn’t to say that all toys with batteries are bad. I just want to encourage you to incorporate more battery-free toys into playtime.
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Our Favorite Battery Free Toys
Soft but stackable, this type of block is great for the younger toddler. I love that they are soft so I didn’t have to worry if my younger toddler tried chewing on them. They also have texture which is great for sensory play. We use these blocks to help with stacking, sorting, learning colors, and more.
We love the Melissa & Doug Knob Puzzles. The puzzles help with fine motor and visual perception skills. I particularly like the house puzzle because it teaches colors, shapes, and objects. All of that in just one puzzle!
It took my kids a bit to get interested in music. They still aren’t nuts about it like some kids are but I make sure music and singing are part of our daily routine. We have this really cute set that I picked up on a whim at Target. Melissa & Doug offer a variety of musical toys too.
I don’t know any kids that don’t like to push around cars and trucks. We have an assortment of vehicles that don’t make any sound and they still get played with all the time. I like to purchase the Green Toys vehicles which is like doing two good things at once. Battat also makes some really great ones two.
In our house, we have a ton of dinosaur figures. My oldest can name everyone from Diplodocus to Spinosaurus. Your kids might be more interested in farm animals or safari animals. You can find all sorts of animal figures from the very realistic to the creative. My boys will make dino sounds, they will sort the dinos, they fight the dinos, and they even act as caretakers for the dinos.
We have a giant plastic bucket of Mega Bloks that the boys just love. I didn’t pick Mega Block over Duplo. We were given the Megan Bloks and it just made sense to stick with them. Regardless of brand, these open-ended blocks are great for development. They teach fine motor skills, problem-solving, and creative thinking.
These can be floor puzzles or a square puzzle with large pieces. For my 3- year-old we try to stick to puzzles in the 24-36 piece range. It makes it difficult but not overwhelming. My mother bought a 4-foot fire truck floor puzzle that the boys just love. If you are short on space, we also love the jumbo puzzles from Mudpuppy.
Now that you have all of the best toys, it is time to play. Not only do your children need battery-free toys, but they need you to sit on the floor and play too.