When kids enter their toddler years many take a liking to different types of toys and get very interested in playing with all types of toys that have to do with that subject. A popular interest in toddlers is farm animals. It might be the cows, the pigs, or even the horses, but they really seem to captivate their interest. Farm animals that have been designed for this age group are perfect for interactive play and solo play. Each of the playsets offers different types of animals, but the key to getting their interest is handheld toys that they are able to move around and use their imagination to create scenes. We have created a list of the best farm animal toys for toddlers. This list contains the best sets that your little farmer in training will enjoy.
The Best Farm Animal Toys and Sets
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Farm Animal Toys & Sets for Toddlers
The developmental path of any toddler is a steep one: From the moment your child reaches the ambulatory phase, they are growing and learning so readily that your real struggle as a parent is finding enough new information to put in front of them. Names, faces, and new animals are constantly being cataloged away in the emerging structures within your toddler’s mind. We can use toys to expand the vocabulary and cognitive functions of burgeoning young brains and to introduce them to new worlds of discovery and learning. Now look to the farm, a veritable library of new information that will be invaluable in creating pathways to speech and imaginative play for your child.
When you give a toy farm animal or tractor to your toddler, it’s natural and highly instructive to start their play with imitation: helping them learn and recreate the sound of a cow mooing as they help it eat hay, or the rumble of a tractor’s engine as they push it through their sandbox. These sorts of tangible connections between the objects that they interact with at play will translate to their perception of the world around them, and help them begin to put the names to things. You can, for example, say the names of certain animals and have your toddler point to or retrieve the proper toy, a simple game that will have your child repeating and using the names themselves in no time. These sorts of open-ended questions in play also improve receptive vocabulary, fostering a deeper connection with the purpose of speech and forming a concrete bond between words and their associated meanings. Communication is the most important aspect of any relationship, and the sooner you can clearly speak to your child, the better you can care for them.
Your child’s first sensory experience came before they were even born, through touch, and the importance of hands-on learning for your toddler is still just as important. When they have a toy chicken present, they learn to identify the real chicken with much more ease, and even create new experiences for the toy chicken from behavior observed in the real chicken. This is a fundamental first step in building your child’s ability to play through imagination, which will help them communicate and relate to you and the other children around them in constructive ways. In today’s world, it isn’t uncommon for games on computers or mobile devices to quickly overtake play with tactile, physical objects. Research into the effects of overexposure to screens on children, however, would suggest that this substitute hasn’t yet produced the same sorts of benefits as tactile experience with actual objects.
As previously mentioned, farm animal toys provide a basis for forming connections between objects and the words we use to identify them. Beyond this, these analogs will help your child identify and categorize new animals and objects based on the variety of animal stereotypes provided within the farm community. For example, a goose will be immediately distinguishable from a chicken, but not so different as a goat. The goose and chicken will soon become identifiable as birds, and the goats and cows as mammals, all because of the similarities and differences observed between them.
This sort of formulation in your child’s mind is not only a great wonder to behold, but also a key to their future comprehension of new things in their world. When you play with your child, you help teach them to play with others, and when your child plays with other children, they begin building whole new realms and concepts of play that will ready them for the next steps in their growth.
The growth of a child is a miracle, and an opportunity to nurture the best aspects of ourselves while building the necessary mechanisms for resisting the worst. Toddlers display a most profound love in discovery: seeing, smelling, touching anything that crosses their paths with all the interest of a devoted scholar. It is our job as parents to facilitate a safe and optimal environment for this discovery, and to provide them with the attention that they will need for encouragement as they make their steady way to adulthood.
Toys have played an incremental part in the development of children for the entirety of recorded history, from miniature bows in ancient Mesopotamia to game apps on your cell phone. Consistently, animals and farm animals, in particular, hold an important role for small children. This connection, between children separated by millennia, can be utilized today to help start your child on the proper path to social development.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are any of these items a choking hazard?
A: No, these items are all designed for young toddlers. Most of the items are oversized and rounded in their features, making them gentle on soft hands but also impossible to swallow.
Q: Just how tough are these toys?
A: This actually varies somewhat; the plastic farm animals and toy tractors are relatively indestructible to a toddler, with the exception of the axles on rolling toys. The wheels can be made to roll unevenly or fall off through extensive use. The wood product toys should be structurally secure for some time, but there are some reports of chipping paint with these products.
Q: What age should my toddler be starting to associate animals with their sounds?
A: There’s no perfect answer to questions like this, as all toddlers will have different learning curves. If your child isn’t quite matching up with the standard timeline set, don’t panic. Do keep an eye on their development, try to work on areas that they struggle in, and consult a professional if you feel like there may be underlying issues. Typically speaking, toddlers will start to assign animals and noises between 12 and 18 months. If you want to help them with this skill set, try investing in books and toys that will allow you a visual and aural representation for children to familiarize themselves with.
Q: Batteries included?
A: For the most part, batteries aren’t even necessary for these toys. The John Deere Animal Sounds Hayride does require AAA batteries, however, which are included.
Q: How does playing with small toys like these farm toys help promote fine motor skill development?
A:Encouraging your toddler to play with farm animals is a great way to develop their fine motor skills. The grasping of the toys with their hand, the moving of the animals with their fingertips, and picking up the toys while moving their wrist creates the fine motor skills that help develop the skill set needed to write with a pencil, use scissors, and even grasp a spoon. This skill set is vital to their development.
Q: Are small toys like the farm toys listed on this page safe for my three year old to play with?
A: When children are three years old they move away from exploring items with their mouths and learn to use their other senses. It is less likely that they will put the items in their mouth at this stage, but always review the package to better understand the age requirements of each item. Age restrictions are always placed on the packaging and are required by law.
Q: Are these toys all interactive?
A: No, not every toy has an interactive feature. While features such as lights and sounds can often hold the attention of your child longer, sometimes it’s better if play time is left up to their own imagination. Interactive toys can be fun and improve sensory skills, but imaginative play increases creativity and allows children to really think and use logic and reasoning as well. A good mix of both toys makes for some great play options.
Q: My child finds these boring. What can I do?
A: Not every child will find barns and farms fun to play with, but a good thing to try is adding other toys to the mix. Let them know that it’s okay to play with their favorite action figure inside their barn playset. You could also try encouraging this type of play in a group, since many kids just may not know how to start out with their own imaginative play. In a group, or even with siblings or cousins, they have access to more ideas and more kids to play with and overall, that will drive up their interest.
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