These days my toddler is in love with taking apart every thing he can find – he pulls the wheels off his toy cars, pretends to unscrew every screw he sees, and pulled apart the pieces of our last KiwiCo kit in about 3 seconds.
Although it’s not necessarily a bad thing for your toddler to take things apart (it’s great for their curiosity!), it can be really frustrating when they’re taking apart things that aren’t really meant to be pulled apart day after day.
Luckily, I’ve put together a list of my favorite types of toys and examples of specific toys that are perfect for channeling your toddler’s desire to pull things apart without making you pull out your hair in the process. 😉
Toddlers like to take toys apart because it encourages their curiosity and helps them understand how things work. If your toddler loves taking things apart, look for toys open-ended toys that promote building, demolishing, and organizing.
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🤔 Why do toddlers like to take things apart? 😱 Is it dangerous for my toddler to take things apart? ❤️ Our favorite toys for toddlers who love to tinker and take things apart 🚧 1. Building blocks 🔨 2. Assembly toys 📦 3. Toys that need organizing 🔧 4. STEM toys 💭 Final Thoughts
Why do toddlers like to take things apart?
For some kids, the urge to take things apart is hard to resist! And although it can be annoying at times, remember that this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Taking things apart shows a natural curiosity for how things work.
It shows that you toddler is interested in how things go together.
And if your toddler likes to put their toys back together again, that’s even better. It stimulates even more curiosity, better helps your toddler understand how the world works, and shows that you may have a future designer, builder, or engineer on your hands.
Is it dangerous for my toddler to take things apart?
If your toddler naturally tinkers with everything in sights, odds are you’ve wondered this before.
Heck, odds are your toddler has taken something apart that you knew wasn’t safe as soon as you caught them (mine likes pulling the wheels off his hot wheels and then sucking on them 😳)
So yes, taking things apart at this age has its risks.
If your toddler loves to put things in their mouth too (and most do!) then you need to be very careful when they’re taking toys apart. Anything that’s can fit through a toilet paper roll could be a choking hazard and you want to keep a very close eye on where your toddler is putting these pieces.
Luckily, you can strategically pick what your toddler is playing with to make taking toys apart even safer.
Choosing toys that are safe to pull apart is perfect for your curious toddler because this allows you to proactively present play opportunities that you know will be safe.
Then you can sit back and watch your toddler play and your toddler can enjoy the freedom to truly dive into playtime and let their curiosity take them wherever they want without constantly being redirected or hearing no every time they try to play.
Here’s our favorite types of toys for toddlers who love to tinker and take things apart:
1. Building Blocks:
Building blocks are my number one choice when I’m choosing a toy for a toddler because they’re an open-ended toy that can create so many different play opportunities for your toddler.
Here's just a few of the HUNDREDS of ways your toddler can play with blocks: ⭐ Make a tower, knock it down again. ⭐ Build it up high and push it on over. ⭐ Use the blocks to make an animal or creature, then pull it apart and start again. ⭐ Make an obstacle course and build a house piece-by-piece and then take it apart piece-by-piece.
If your toddler loves to take things apart, blocks are the perfect choice for them.
They’re easy for little fingers to handle and they go together nicely without needing adult help. They’re easy to dismantle (either carefully or with a mighty crash!) and they’re safe.
You know that there will be no small parts flying off, no sharp edges, and no broken pieces.
Here’s a few building blocks for your tinkering toddler:
These large foam blocks are perfect for a busy day of toddler play. Your toddler can stack them up to make forts and castles, line them up to make a walk way, or throw them like snowballs.
This block set from Lovevery is super versatile and promotes lots of play opportunities from sorting, building, and stacking.
These magnetic blocks are so smart. Because they’re magnetic, they’re sturdier and great for toddlers who become frustrated when their tower falls over before they’re ready to take it apart.
2. Assembly Toys
Your toddler might not be up to putting together a huge project just yet, but it’s never too early to get them started on some simple assembly toys.
These are a hit with toddlers who love taking things apart because they’re the perfect toys to deeply stimulate their curiosity. As an added perk, once they’ve put these toys together, they can pull them apart and start again.
Keep it simple though.
We’re talking about things like a vehicle with a small number of chunky parts. Or a set of animals where they have to put their arms, legs, and tails on. Even something like a simple Mr. Potato Head.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s designed to be pulled apart again when they’re done. Putting it together and keeping it that way isn’t half as much fun!
Here’s a few assembly toys for your tinkering toddler:
This peg toy is a favorite for our toddler at day care and it’s great for improving fine motor skills as you carefully fit the pieces together.
This cute interlocking toys are perfect to line up and match by color or animal and fun for your toddler to carefully link them together and then pull them apart again.
This is another favorite day care toy for my toddler. The threading keeps him busy for hours as he carefully tries to put together all of the nuts and bolts and then race to pull them apart as quickly as he can.
Challenge your toddler and keep them busy with these lacing beads. Then make it a game to pull it apart and catch all of the piece in a bowl.
3. Toys that Need Organizing
If your loves loves to take things apart, they may also be a fan of organizing their toys. This helps them to make sense and organize their world and also stimulate that natural curiosity that’s part of their personality.
There are plenty of toys on the market that are perfectly designed to stimulate and satisfy your toddler’s desire to organize things.
Check out our favorite toys that encourage organizing and sorting, or just look around your house a bit and find a handful of supplies you can throw together for your toddler to organize.
Here’s a few organization toys to test out with your toddler:
This kit will keep your toddler busy sorting and matching all of the bears. As your little one gets older, show them how to use the tongs to pick up and sort the bears while working on fine motor skills.
This game is super cute! Your toddler can match the bees to the colors in the beehive for ages of fun. Feel free to add in a layer of fun by having them put together the beehive and then take it apart by following a certain pattern or looking for specific colors.
This play set stimulates your toddlers curiosity and is create for promoting pretend play. They can build up their garden and then take it apart, rearrange things, and start all over again.
4. STEM Toys
STEM toys are a great choice if your toddler has a special interest in taking things apart.
Engineering and constructing (and of course deconstructing!) are a focus areas in STEM education, so encourage your little one’s interest with some quality educational toys.
Look for STEM toys that develop problem-solving skills and exploration. Anything that involves building and creating is a good thing.
Remember though, at this age, it’s all about playing and having fun. Don’t focus too much on the outcome or your toddler is more likely to lose interest.
Here’s a few STEM toys are great for toddlers who love taking things apart:
Your toddler can create endless combinations with these pipes, spouts, and joints.
Encourage your toddler to get as creative as possible and make new creations every time you play with this disc set.
This is another fun set to spark your toddler’s creativity. Put together a masterpiece and then tear it down and start again.
Having a toddler who takes everything apart can be frustrating, especially when they keep taking apart things you don’t want to constantly put back together.
Stay calm though – it’s for the greater good!
Keep in mind that while your toddler is pulling things apart (and hopefully putting them back together sometimes), they’re learning lots of important things.
They’re developing their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, practicing problem-solving skills and fostering their cognitive abilities, and figuring out how things go together and what makes them work.
Look for building blocks, assembly toys, toys that need organizing, and STEM toys to channel your toddlers interest in pulling things apart into playtime that will keep your toddler busy for hours.
The next time your toddler is busy tearing things apart, channel it into play into something more productive and remember that there’s a lot of educational benefits to be gained from this play. Remember that taking things apart today may help them discover their passions and lead to their dream career when they’re older!