Cultivate Creativity Through Play: Selecting the Best Toys
for Toddler Right-Brain Development

Right-brain toys

The toddler stage is a critical period in a child’s development, marked by rapid brain growth and heightened curiosity. During this time, the right brain undergoes significant development. Therefore, choosing the appropriate toys for toddlers becomes an important aspect of nurturing this creative side of their brain. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of right brain development in toddlers and offer insights into selecting toys that can ignite right brain functions.

Understanding the significance of right-brain development in toddlers

During the toddler years, the development of the right hemisphere of the brain holds immense significance as it shapes crucial aspects of a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social growth. This period is marked by the rapid formation of neural connections, particularly within the right hemisphere, which plays a vital role in various developmental areas.

One of the key functions of the right hemisphere is the processing of emotions. Toddlers rely on this hemisphere to recognise facial expressions, interpret non-verbal cues, and empathise with others. These abilities are essential as they navigate their social environment, helping them build healthy relationships and develop strong social skills.

Furthermore, the right hemisphere contributes significantly to spatial awareness, visual processing, and pattern recognition. These skills are fundamental for everyday tasks such as navigating physical spaces, understanding spatial relationships, and interpreting visual information. As toddlers interact with their environment and partake in sensory experiences, the right hemisphere helps them process and make sense of the world around them.

In addition to these functions, the right hemisphere is also closely related to creativity and imagination. It empowers toddlers to engage in imaginative play, think beyond the constraints of reality, and explore novel ideas. This kind of creative thinking is crucial for fostering innovation and problem-solving abilities, while also nurturing a sense of curiosity and wonder in young children.

Research has shown that early experiences and stimuli greatly impact brain development. Therefore, creating environments rich in sensory and creative opportunities can significantly enhance the formation of neural connections in the right hemisphere. By offering toddlers appropriate toys and activities, parents can effectively boost their right brain development. This will not only help children meet developmental milestones but also prepare them for future learning and solving more complex problems.

Selecting Toys: The role of toys in right brain stimulation

Learn and explore

Now that we’ve delved into the significance of right brain development, it’s time to discuss selecting the perfect toys to enhance it. But before we dive in, let’s address a common question: Do toys truly benefit our children? The answer is a resounding yes!

Toys serve as powerful tools for stimulating various aspects of a child’s development. When it comes to enhancing right-brain development, certain types of toys are particularly effective. These toys are designed to engage toddlers in activities that promote creativity, imagination, and emotional expression. If you’re curious about which toys are appropriate for nurturing your child’s right-brain development at home, here are some suggestions for you!

  1. Building Blocks
Building Blocks

Building blocks are toys that can be played with in multiple ways. It does not have a fixed purpose or prescribed use. Building structures and creating shapes provide opportunities for open-ended play which encourages toddlers to use their imagination and creativity to explore various possibilities, experiment and problem-solve, fostering right brain development. Additionally, it also involves tactile engagement that helps children develop fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination. Some examples of building blocks include lego blocks, wooden blocks, and magnetic tiles.

2. Sensory Play

Sensory Play

In essence, sensory play includes play that engages any of your child’s senses such as touch, smell, sight, sound and taste. Each new sensory experience they have with a different sense stimulates neural pathways and encourages creative thinking. This type of play fosters a deeper understanding of the surrounding world, enhances problem-solving skills, and nurtures imaginative thinking, all contributing to the holistic development of the right hemisphere of the brain.

Examples of toys for sensory play include:

  • Play dough and kinetic sand 

Manipulating play dough and kinetic sand allows children to create shapes, figures, and structures, fostering creativity and imaginative play. Moreover, through tactile play that focuses on building, pouring, and mixing like these two activities, helps your child build on their ability to use small muscle groups and coordinate movements.

  • Spice jars

Yes, even spice jars can be toys too! Smelling different spices helps develop the sense of smell (olfactory) and can enhance memory and associative learning, as certain smells can trigger specific memories or emotions. Not only that, identifying and categorising different spices by smell or appearance can enhance cognitive skills such as sorting, classification, and memory. In addition, this activity also fosters a sense of exploration and curiosity. Exploring different spices can stimulate curiosity and encourage scientific thinking, as children learn about various plants, herbs, and their uses, making it an enjoyable experience! Gather a variety of spices, clear out the jars, and have your children smell them. If there are any spices they like the smell of, add a little to some plain yoghurt so they can know how they taste too!

3. Art Supplies

Art Supplies

Drawing, painting, and crafting activities are excellent for nurturing creativity in toddlers. Engaging in art activities provides sensory stimulation through the tactile experience of different textures, colours, and materials. This sensory input supports sensory processing and cognitive development. Furthermore, art also allows toddlers to express their emotions, whether joy, frustration, or excitement, in a safe and constructive way. It can also help them learn to regulate their emotions as they engage in calming activities like colouring or painting. Art isn’t just about pretty pictures; it’s about unleashing the right brain’s visual prowess. So provide your child with art supplies such as crayons, coloured pencils, as well as introduce finger paints to encourage their creativity and develop their artistic skills

4. Pretend-play Toys

Pretend-play Toy

Pretend play is not just a game; it’s a journey into the limitless world of imagination. This activity involves interaction with others, whether peers or adults. Through role-playing, children learn important social skills such as cooperation, negotiation, empathy, and perspective-taking. They also explore and express emotions within the safe context of play, promoting emotional intelligence and self-awareness. So one can say that pretend play serves as a gateway to creativity, social skills, and emotional intelligence! Some examples of toys that facilitate role-playing during pretend play include kitchen sets, dolls, dress-up clothes, puppets.

5. Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

Musical activities stimulate the right brain hemisphere by involving elements such as rhythm, melody, and tone. Consider rhythm, for instance. As toddlers tap along with a beat or create rhythmic patterns, they’re honing their ability to perceive and synchronise with the musical pulse. This rhythmic engagement stimulates the right hemisphere, which excels in processing complex patterns and sequences. So, when you encourage your toddlers to create music using instruments like bells, xylophone, shakers, tambourines, and keyboards, you’re not just fostering musical skills—you’re nurturing their right hemisphere development. And don’t worry if you don’t have fancy instruments; even everyday objects like pans and spoons can spark creativity and provide budget-friendly musical fun!

Selecting Toys: Guidelines for the right choice

When selecting toys for toddlers, it’s essential to keep certain guidelines in mind to ensure they effectively contribute to right brain development:

  1. Safety First
    Prioritise safety when choosing toys for toddlers. Ensure that toys are free from small parts that could pose a choking hazard and are made from non-toxic materials. Additionally, check for age-appropriate recommendations on toy packaging.  
  2. Sensory Stimulation
    Opt for toys that engage multiple senses. Toys with various textures, colours, and sounds provide sensory stimulation, contributing to holistic brain development. Sensory experiences play a crucial role in enhancing right brain function.


  3. Encourage Exploration
    Choose toys that encourage exploration and experimentation. Toys that allow toddlers to manipulate, build, and create help develop problem-solving skills and foster creativity. Look for toys that can be used in different ways, promoting open-ended play.


  4. Age-Appropriate Challenges
    Consider the developmental stage of the child when selecting toys. Choose toys that present age-appropriate challenges to promote growth without causing frustration. Toys that are too complex may discourage play, while those that are too simple may not provide enough stimulation.

Selecting the right toys for toddlers is a thoughtful and significant aspect of nurturing their cognitive development, particularly in the realm of right brain function. As parents, your choices can shape a child’s early experiences, influencing their lifelong learning journey. By embracing the importance of open-ended play, artistic expression, and imaginative exploration, you can provide toddlers with the tools they need to nurture their right brain development, fostering a love for creativity that will last a lifetime.

Want to improve your child’s right-brain development further? Come and join Heguru! The Heguru method is an effective and proven right brain training and whole brain development programme that is developed by Heguru Japan over 30 years of extensive research and practicum. Our curriculum emphasises imaginative exploration and critical thinking in a fun-filled learning environment. Interested to know more? Contact us now!