5 Reasons Why Your Toddler Throws Toys Instead of Playing with Them

Being a mom or dad of a toddler can be incredibly fulfilling while also being mercilessly tiring.

Either way, a new parent needs to pay attention to the actions of their toddler because even seemingly little things might mean a lot in their development.

One such action is a toddler throwing toys instead of playing with them. This very common toddler behavior has a lot of reasons behind it and might even give the parents a thing or two to work on.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why your toddler throws toys instead of playing with them:

5 Reasons Why Your Toddler Throws Toys

Why Does Your Toddler Throws Toys?

Toddlers throwing things around is a significant milestone in their development.

When a baby reaches the age of 12 months, you will observe new and different behavioral patterns, and throwing things is one of them.

Why is your toddler throwing toys? You might ask. Well, here is why:

Experimentation and Exploration

At 8-12 months, a toddler’s brain will be filled with a thousand questions, and they will try to find the answers themselves.

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For example, your toddler might wonder if their doll cries if thrown at the wall.

That is why a baby might be inquisitive about throwing things. They want to observe what happens when an object hits the wall or the floor. Cause and effect, a crucial development skill, is learned through this.

So, your 12 months old might throw around toys to learn and understand the toy and how it interacts with its surroundings.

Because It’s Enjoyable

Did you consider that throwing toys might be a way for your child to play with them?

Toddlers get quickly bored with the same activities and toys repeatedly. As a result, they may experiment with various methods of utilizing the same things or interacting with the same toys.

A toddler’s way of thinking will vary vastly from ours, and they will want to break patterns and innovate new ways of playing. Due to this, an old toy will bring a whole new wave of enjoyment if they have fun throwing it.

If they find throwing a toy fun, they are more likely to repeat this behavior.

Toddlers throw toys because they find it funny! But, at least, I am sure that is why my toddlers threw their toys at me.

Expressing Emotions

toddler showing emotions

Expressing feelings through words is a skill learned a lot later in life. For example, a toddler will choose another way to convey happiness, distress, fear, sadness, or disgust.

As human beings, frustration, distress, or anger are common emotions that we experience as early as infancy, and we all want a window to express these negative emotions.

Throwing items might be a way of expressing anger, grief, or frustration for various reasons, such as discomfort or hunger.

Your toddler will throw toys due to a lack of other methods to display anger or get their frustration out. Consider buying calming toys and running through some strategies for helping your toddler express their emotions better.

Wanting Attention

Tying into the last reason, a child of the age 1 or 2 will want a lot of attention without knowing any methods of asking for it.

We also learn early on that throwing a tantrum gets attention (be it negative), unlike anything else.

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Things being thrown is one of the behaviors that will get your attention. If they see that it is working, they will repeat it.

This is a tactic a child may use while their parent is preoccupied with work or conversing with another person.

Kids Being Kids

Because your toddler is too young to realize the proper use of items, they may toss them due to a lack of understanding.

They may also do so due to seeing someone else do the action. For example, suppose they saw an older kid throw a frisbee, and then when the baby is presented with any round item, they promptly toss it out of the window.

A toddler is too young to identify different objects correctly, and they will only learn through trial and error.

Is Throwing Toys a Problem?

problem question mark

As it is, occasionally throwing toys is not a problem. Sometimes it is just a phase that your child will grow out of.

However, if this behavior persists for a long time or even when your child is older than 18-24 months, you should consult your pediatrician immediately.

If you are wondering what problems might show up in your child in the long run, are, this is what we have:

Violent or Unruly Personality

Their bad behaviors might shape a child’s personality if they aren’t changed. For example, the child will start believing that throwing items is an acceptable way to express anger or dissatisfaction.

For example, your toddler might start tossing around everything they find in a gathering or daycare, creating an embarrassing situation for everyone involved.

There’s a chance that the habit will continue into the toddler’s adolescent years, and dealing with a raging hormonal teenager will prove to be quite a challenge for any parent.

How to Improve this Behavior?

It’s important to intervene when your kid is misbehaving, whether tossing toys or acting out in other ways.

Here are a few handy ways to help your child improve their behavior:

1. Explain

mom explaining to toddler

Teach your child the consequences of throwing things. Explain how things might shatter or malfunction if tossed.

Use basic language and a kind tone.

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This is all part of setting boundaries for your toddler. They need to be aware of what they can and cannot do.

2. Set Example

mom setting example

Toddlers learn by copying adults. If your kid sees you tossing objects when you’re furious, they’ll copy you.

So, if you wish to modify your child’s behaviors, you must lead by example.

3. Give Alternatives

the word alternative

You may provide a ball or a Frisbee to toss when your child needs to vent. It will also teach the toddler to distinguish between things they can throw and those that cannot.

Ring toss is a great game for toddlers who love to throw things. It will get your toddler playing, but it is an excellent way of getting your toddler to interact with you as they play!

4. Be Calm

mom being calm

Face the child’s conduct calmly. If you can’t manage your anger right now, find some peace and talk to your kid later.

Excessive force and rage may cause a child to throw tantrums.

5. Reward

the word reward (1)

When your child or toddler shows acceptable behavior regarding anything, always remember to reward them, be it by verbal praise or gifts.


Now you know why your toddler throws toys instead of playing with them. As you see, it’s nothing serious, so you shouldn’t worry about that much.

When your child throws things, including toys, stay calm and redirect if it gets too much of an issue. I usually find redirecting my toddler son works when he is doing something I don’t want him to do.

Put together a list of more appropriate behavior and as soon as you see your toddler throw things or toys, go back to that list and make them do that instead.

The toddler years can be challenging, but you will miss them when it’s gone.

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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