15 best toys for independent play that will keep your kids busy for hours

By |Published On: January 28th, 2021|0 Comments|

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Best toys for independent play

Independent play time is one of my favorite parenting tools.

Just imagine having a child that is happy playing on their own while you can get things done around the house or just simply take a minute to relax.

With independent play you can.

For some kids, it comes natural to entertain themselves. For most, though, solo play has to be taught. And that’s where toys for independent play come in.

In this post, I’ve listed my favorite independent play toys for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers to help you get started.

Benefits of independent play

Independent play is great for several reasons. For starters, it’s when kids learn to be resourceful, to solve problems on their own, to engage their imaginations and build their own worlds and stories.

It’s during independent play that their imaginations take over and they get to flex their creative muscles. They build things with their minds and their hands. For this reason, knowing how to encourage independent play is vital for their development.

How to encourage independent play

The best way we can encourage independent play is to provide our kids with a safe, comfortable space where they feel warm and encouraged to play alone and let their imagination take over.

We can do this by removing screens and other distractions, and by providing them with the best toys for independent play to flourish and engage their hands, eyes, and brains.

Discover the best toys for independent play that will keep your kids busy for hours. Let them have kids activities with these open ended toys for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

BEST TOYS

Babies (0-12 months)

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Activity stand

An activity stand is one of – if not THE – best baby toys for independent play. Lie your little one on their back and let them grab, bat, and bite the soft and smooth toys hanging from the activity stand. The wooden rings and soft clouds all provide different textures for your baby to explore.

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Mirrors

Mirrors are fantastic toys for independent play as they allow your baby to recognise, understand, and read facial expressions, especially their own. We’ve hung ours over the changing table and it fits right in.

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Water mat

Very simple but brilliantly effective. This water mat helps to build your little one’s motor skills and even their muscle development. Filled with water and completely leak proof, this water mat has a fascinating texture and is decorated with bright, beautiful sea creatures, encouraging early development of their imagination.

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toys for independent playtoys for independent play

Teether

We love Sophie the Giraffe; both our boys have had one. It’s perfect for teething and it also encourages independent play. Shaped like a giraffe, it helps your baby to explore their imagination and even develop facial recognition. The fact that it can be used as a teether is a bonus and your baby will love to chew on it as much as they will to hold it tight.

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Ball

Another favorite in our house is the Oball. Holding, rolling, throwing, and catching a ball provides hours of play and important development of a child’s motor skills. This ball is unique thanks to the finger holes which allow it to be easily held by even the youngest baby.

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Puppet book

While independent play is, as the name suggests, independent, you can still be a part of it. One great way to do that is by using a puppet. This fantastic Curious George puppet book allows you to read your little one a story while also bringing that story to life with an adorable puppet, sparking your baby’s imagination.

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Brio toddler wobbler

As your baby starts to literally walk into toddlerhood, a toddler wobbler is the perfect toy to encourage independent play. With this, they can get around a lot more freely and easily by themselves. There’s nothing more independent than that. As a bonus, this toddler wobbler allows your little one to bring their favourite toys along for the journey.

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BEST TOYS

Toddlers (1-3 years)

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Blocks

Blocks of all kinds are some of the very best toys for toddlers independent play. Especially these blocks, which come in a variety of colours and shapes. They are fantastic for building your toddler’s hand-eye coordination, their dexterity, and especially their puzzle-solving. The ideal independent play is something that fully engages their problem-solving skills, and these blocks provide exactly that.

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toys for independent playtoys for independent play

Hopper ball

Our son has been jumping around on a hopper ball since he was 2.5 years old. It’s a fun way to get around and has strengthened his balance and coordination skills. I highly recommend it.

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toys for independent playtoys for independent play

Puzzle

Jigsaw puzzles are some of the best toys for independent play that you can get for your toddler. Puzzles help to develop their dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and, of course, their puzzle-solving skills. This Peppa Pig puzzle is perfectly suited to a toddler’s age.

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toys for independent playtoys for independent play

Musical instruments

Percussion instruments are has been our toddler’s best friend. This set includes a xylophone, maracas, and a tambourine. They’re bright, colourful, and full of joy. With the endless discovery and creativity that making music provides, there are no limits to the independent play that is possible with a set of musical instruments like this one.

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toys for independent playtoys for independent play

Wheely bug

Cow, hedgehog, ladybug, tiger — all different designs available for your little one to choose from as they hop on their first vehicle. Independent play means giving your toddler some responsibility and a wheely bug certainly embodies that.

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BEST TOYS

Pre-schoolers (3-5 years)

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Play kitchen

With a play kitchen — especially one this realistic and detailed — your child learns personal responsibilities and social skills even while engaging in independent play.

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toys for independent playtoys for independent play

Play-Doh

Like Lego, Play-Doh offers limitless opportunities. Whatever your little pre-schooler can think up, they can mould and shape with Play-Doh. Safe, soft, textured, and colourful, Play-Doh is one of the best toys for independent play.

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toys for independent playtoys for independent play

Lego Duplo

Duplo is simply themed Lego. With Duplo sets, your toddler can build a themed world of their own that they can populate with people and stories and rules of their own. One of the most perfect toys for independent play.

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About the Author: Mama Miri

toys for independent play
I’m a mama of two boys, and I'll help you be the mom you want to be. Parenting is hard enough without all the guilt. So let’s stop trying to be perfect moms and just be real ones.

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