Have you noticed that toddlers love to take their toys and stuffed animals and organize them in their way? There’s a very good reason for that.
Lots of toddlers love to do it. Maybe you even remember that you did it, too. Some of our pals here do remember so.
This is often more than just play for the toddler. It’s a way he or she sees the world, child and adolescent psychiatrist Anna Shier tells Popsugar.
“For some kids, lining up toys and arranging things can be fun because it is their way of seeing how their actions impact the world around them. Toddlers are at a stage where mastering things in their environment is something that they enjoy because it gives them a sense of control and power over their surroundings where just months before there were unable to scoot, crawl, or walk around independently”, she says.
Shier adds: “That being said, this is also the time for exploration of their environment, so if the lining up and arranging of toys is limiting a child from playing with new things, this is something that could be of concern,” Dr. Shier explained. “Most kids may do some arranging of toys, but if that is the majority of the play that you see your child do, that would be cause for concern.”
But not everyone shares these thoughts. Jacquelyn Smith, a special education administrator with a background in school psychology says this is a natural way for toddlers to learn sorting and organizing skills.
“Organizing and sorting are important since they are foundational math skills. Sorting teaches number sense, patterns, and problem-solving skills and leads to analysis of objects,” she told POPSUGAR. “Teaching them more analytical skills at a younger age prepares them for what they will see and do in an early elementary curriculum.”
She even encourages this play. So, as long as the toddler doesn’t obsess over this practice, it’s totally normal. It’s like with almost everything else – if it’s done with balance and moderation it’s good.