As parents we feel like we have to be involved with our children 24/7, but that's really not true. Parents don't have to play with their children at all times. The benefits of unstructured, independent play are crucial to a child's development. It encourages them to use their imagination, problem solve and occupy themselves. As a parent you want to encourage your twins to play together, as well as independently to give you some free time. It keeps them busy and out of your hair for a bit, so maybe you can fold those clothes you have been avoiding. Encouraging your children to play on their own can be a win-win situation for everyone. Here are 15 awesome toys to encourage independent play.
Lewo Wooden Magnetic Easel with Double Side Dry Erase and Chalk Board Puzzle – This set is a clean, fun way for your little ones to be creative and use their imagination. It has both a chalk and white board to help practice their writing skills. They will have so much fun with all the colorful magnets and it has everything you need to keep your kids entertained for a long time. They will discover something new everytime they play with it. It is also a great toy to bring in the car for road trips!
Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm – This set includes the farm house, a farmer, chicken, duck, pig, horse and a cow and there is virtually no assembly required. It will be a hit the moment they open the box. It is big enough that both of your twinnies will be able to play without fighting over who is doing what activity with the farmer or the animals. They will love ringing the bell and turning the silo to watch the feed move round and round. This will surely keep them busy for hours.
Cra-Z-Art Original Magna Doodle – This cool toy is very universal and can be used for learning purposes, or just for fun. It can be used at home, or they can use it in the car on long trips to keep occupied. They will have so much fun drawing and creating unique designs and then hurrying up and erasing it with the eraser, and doing it all over again. The possibilities are endless and there's no clean-up involved! What's better than that?
Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pads Set – These might be the only stickers you'll ever need to buy. These are not just any ordinary stickers. They don't have a sticky back, but rather are made of a reusable vinyl that adheres to the pages, but easily comes off. They're also pretty thick so a toddler would have to work hard to rip them. The colors are vibrant and the quality is excellent. You can use this as a teaching tool or just for hours of entertainment. Plus there are 2 in this pack! Perfect for twins!
Manhattan Toy Jurassic Adventure Playset – Your kids will love this prehistoric themed toy. It's simple, but so much fun and fosters social skill development through pretend play. They can create all sorts of adventures with the wooden dinosaurs, people, tree and felt pond. The soft volcano doubles as a storage and carrying case so your kids can take this with them wherever they go. There are enough pieces that both of your twins can enjoy playing together, as well as independently if they choose.
LeapFrog LeapStart Interactive Learning System – This is a fun, interactive learning system. All you need is batteries and you are ready to go right out of the box. There are a wide variety of learning books for all ages. You'll love that your kids are learning different skills that will help to prepare them for preschool while still enjoying hours of play. The books sit right on the inside of the cover and the pen does all the work.
Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center – This is a really neat set with a simple concept – just slide one of the included activity sheets under the clear plastic (used as the “dry erase” surface) and enjoy. Your kids will be engaged for long periods of time while they write over and over again without running out of paper. It comes with several activity sheets, but Crayola has downloads online so you can print other activities at home. It also comes with 4 colored dry-erase markers, but you can also use dry erase crayons. They are not as messy and there are no caps to lose.
LEGO DuploAll-In-One-Box-of-Fun – Gotta love Lego! This is the perfect starter set for your kids. It is versatile, and allows for a lot of creativity as there are 65 pieces. Not only does it encourage their imagination to grow, it also helps with hand eye coordination. The LEGO DuploAll-In-One-Box-of-Fun is an awesome toy with unending hours of playtime possibilities. It actually may become your kids favorite toy!
Manhattan Toy MiO Modular Wooden Building Set Playset – The entire Mio line is adorable and this set is no different! You will love watching your little ones' imaginations bloom as the Mio characters and other little special toys all interact together. This is the absolute ideal beginners dollhouse. There are just enough pieces to do interesting things, but not too many to loose. There's nothing that mom needs to come and fix or arrange, and nothing that can break. You will love the bright colors, the soft blankets and pillows, and the adorable squishy beanbag people that stay where you put them. There are all sorts of new combinations that can be made with the structures and lots of role playing to enact. Hours of fun for sure!
Step2 LifeStyle Custom Kitchen Playset – What's cooking? If your kids are not ones to play independently, this play kitchen will change that. The sounds made by the various appliances will excite them and make them want to play for hours. This kitchen enhances interactive play and encourages your kids to develop their social skills as they share the kitchen appliances and accessories. It has plenty of storage and is beautifully realistic with gender neutral colors that any child will enjoy.
KidKraft Bucket Top Mountain Train Set – Your kids are going to say that this is the best train set ever! This set includes an airport (with control tower, plane and runway), a helipad and helicopter, trees, buildings, trains, cars and road signs. The wooden rails make for an endless variety of track layouts. They will spend hours playing with all the different options. It's also a nice size and can fit on top of a large coffee table. And theres a bucket that comes with it for easily, quick clean-ups as a bonus. This set is the best bang for your buck, no doubt.
RESCUE Costumes – These costumes will bring your kids' imaginations and pretend play to the next level. Your children will love stepping into these rescue costumes and taking calls on their realistic radios and be on their way to being a real doctor, fireman and police officer. Each costume comes with accessories to make the outfit complete. The craftsmanship is fantastic and they all come with Velcro closures so your kids can dress and undress themselves.
Toddler Percussion Toy Rhythm Band Set – If you are a musical family, or just enjoy music, it might be important to you to introduce instruments to your kids. And what better way to start than with a percussion set? This set has a wide range of musical instruments to keep your kids occupied making all sorts of sounds for a long time. It also comes with a carrying case as it to makes clean-up easy. For some added decorative flare, maybe get some fun colorful ribbon sticks and get them to dance around and burn off some energy.
Play-Doh Toy – Fun Factory Deluxe Playset – How do you get kid to sit down quietly for almost two hours? Play-Doh! Not only is Play-Doh a great classic toy that can be used for imaginative and independent play, it also helps to develop fine motor skills and stress-relief. Just open this set up and the amount of open-ended play times will be endless. With this set your kids will have everything they need to keep busy for hour without getting bored. Lots of different colors, shape cutters and activities.
LITTLE DOVE Kid's Foldable Teepee Play Tent – Whether they want to use it as a club house or a reading nook, this adorable teepee is the perfect spot for hours of enjoyment. There are pockets on both the inside and outside so they can stash away books, toys or anything they need while playing. You will love the strong canvas material and easy set-up.