Notice how this toddler is collecting by color, size, shape, and then tone? This is sophisticated stuff! In the short video clip below, this two-year-old is separating the dark colors, such as purple and magenta, from the brightly colored ones. You can already see from the background that she's classified and separated the shapes and colors of the other blocks.
I'm sometimes asked, "What types of toys should I buy for my toddler?" I would say, anything that can be collected. I'd provide a diverse number of objects that lend themselves to collecting like balls or blocks, in addition to a variety of bowls and baskets where these objects can be placed.
Collecting is an important aspect of play for children from 1-3 years old. It starts out simple. At first, children may be interested in collecting "all the balls" or "all the blocks" in a room and place them in a container. Over time, a toddler refines her collection skills and starts to gather objects with increasing complexity. Older toddlers want to compare properties and group items by feature.
The result is a child who has the experience of accomplishing something on her own. This how self-confidence and self-reliance come to be.
** A note about pacifiers: Even though pacis are tempting to use in the face of wanting to soothe or stop a baby from crying, Magda Gerber warned against them. Babies have a perfect paci in the form of their thumbs that can be discovered and used on their own terms. As Gerber said, "The issue is not a preference of pacifier vs. thumb. The real issue is, who is in control?”