The answer to this question is invariably YES. Children’s toy makers have learned over the years that products designed and created for preschool-aged children are not always safe or appropriate for younger children (Remember the play telephone with the long cord?). Over the years, the development of infant and toddler toys has become big business for toy companies because parents and programs often invest in 2 versions of the same product; once when their children are very young and then again later, when they are older.
This month, we are going to explore manipulatives that have versions developed specifically for infants and toddlers. The materials used to create the products are usually different (softer or easier to clean) than the version for older children with no small parts that could create a choking hazard. Thought is given to small and large motor development and durability, so they can withstand the level of use and abuse from smaller people.
As a wrap up to last month’s look at insects and bugs, this sorting toy is specifically created for very young children. The insects are soft and light and have a variety of materials inside that make crinkly or squeaky noises when handled.
The set also comes with big, beautiful flowers that come in pairs of matching colors. When the pails are filled, they can be carried around by the large handle. Children won’t get hurt if a bug is thrown or the pail is hurled across the table. Nothing will break if it falls off the table. The children won’t choke on the insects or the flowers. If they end up in a few mouths – no problem, it can all get thrown into the washing machine. You can see how the entire production of this manipulative considers all the areas of development of infants and toddlers.