Let's be clear, preparing for a foster placement of any age requires much more than buying a bunch of stuff. But for those who are past their training and education and are ready for the shopping, here are my suggestions for ages 2-4. (This post contains affiliate links, but these are all products I love!)
1. Toddler Bed - Kids this age can easily climb out of cribs, making them unsafe. On the flipside, standard height beds may be a hazard because kids this age fall out of bed easily. This is why toddler beds were created, no doubt. Don't forget the mattress if you don't have a crib mattress handy.
2. Plates/Cups/Utensils - There are many options out there but honestly I say go basic unless/until you know they need something specific. For plates, these are simple, BPA-free, and dishwasher and microwave safe. On cups, if kids are developmentally on target, they should be able to drink out of an open cup like this one. In case they're not, it may be good to have a closed-top cup on hand like this one; these are also great for car rides. While some kids this age will be totally ready to handle standard forks and spoons, it's probably good to have a set of toddler sized utensils, like these, on hand for those still learning.
3. Potty Seat - My suggestion for potty seats is to keep it simple. It's personal preference, but I don't necessarily want something bulky in my bathroom that would be hard to tuck away when a non-toddler needed to use that bathroom. This one worked great for us while our guys were potty training.
4. Pull Ups - This age is fairly likely to still need diapers, at minimum for over-night. Have a good gender-neutral option like these (2-3T here and 4-5T here) on hand to cover you for at least the first few weeks.
5. Night Lights - Kids this age are likely to not be big fans of the dark, so a night light or two like these in their room would likely be helpful. You can also put one in the hallway in case they wake up in the middle of the night.
6. Books - Our favorites for this age group are:
- There's A Bear in My Chair
- Bear on a Bike
- My First Book of Emotions
- Leap Frog Learning Books
7. Magnetic Tiles - These tiles can keep kids, and maybe even you, entertained for hours. I would dare to say they are this generation's legos. And you don't need the name brand version to get good quality; I've used both the expensive version and a lower-cost version and I didn't notice one bit of difference.
8. Animal Figurines - These animal figurines are durable, fun and great for pretend play. We've had them for over two years, and those that haven't been left behind at Grandma's house, are still in great shape and something our kids love to play with.
9. Cars - These mini cars will spark any wheel-lovers imagination. Add a piece of cardboard to make a ramp and they'll be amazed at what these can do.
10. A few stuffed animals and a soft blankie - Kids this age love something soft to cuddle with. Get Elmo, or other recognizable and/or cute stuffed animals. And atoddler-sized blanket like this one and you'll be set.
I'm a foster mom, bio mom, working mom, special needs mom, busy mom. I'm also married to my high school sweetheart, I'm a proud 23-year childhood cancer survivor, and I'm passionate about serving my community.
More from FosterMama