Toys and Materials in Child Care

Shelf of toys

When picking out toys and materials for your child care program, there are some things to remember. The best toys are ones that help children play and learn in many different ways. Toys that have only one way to be used typically don’t hold children’s interest.

  • Make a list of toys that you have. Make a wish list too. Often it works better to buy or acquire materials and equipment gradually than to go out and purchase everything at once. Focus first on getting a few of the basics and learn what works best for you.
  • Stock, restock, and restock again. Remember to set aside funds to purchase paper, crayons, markers, glue, and other items that children need to be creative. Children use up these items quickly, so this will be an ongoing expense.
  • Choose the right toy for the right age child. The toys you choose for child care will depend a great deal on the needs and interests of the children in your care.
  • Remember that some materials you have at home make great toys. For instance, stacking toys or nesting cups teach relationships, shapes, or size concepts. A set of plastic measuring cups from your own kitchen cabinet can teach the same thing.

Good-quality toys, books, and equipment can make child care much easier to manage. But knowing what works best and deciding what to buy can be challenging. Before you head off to the store or local yard sale, decide what items you really need. You’ll invest your money more wisely and be less likely to wind up with unsafe or unusable equipment. For more information on these topics, see the following articles.

Photo by Diane Bales / CC BY