Safe & Edible Toys for Tots

Safe & Edible Toys for Tots

When new parents start to purchase toys, the importance of safety starts to really set in mostly because of choking hazards.  It is common to see warnings on toys that have small parts because typically children under three years old and especially babies are not able to differentiate between edible and inedible objects.  Small children like to mouth objects as a normal part of their exploration and play skills.  This is how they learn and understand concepts like size and textures.  So as parents, you need to be careful and aware of what comes in the reach of a small child.  You also don’t want to completely avoid exposing your children to small things because they also need to develop hand skills for grasping objects and coordinating the use of both hands.

Here are some simple activities to practice with a toddler to encourage sensory and fine motor play:

  1. Picking up and holding pieces of dried fruit like apricots.
  2. Sliding chopsticks through strawberries.
  3. Picking out marshmallows from a container of dry pasta spirals.
  4. Stringing cheerios onto a pipe cleaner.
  5. Putting crackers into a small open jar or bottle.

Remember to consult with your pediatrician if your child continues to try to eat or mouth inedible objects after age three.  Have a playful day!

Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L

Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning author, and founder of Playapy. For more information, visit or email [email protected].