Pretend Play Just Got Very Useful: These Toy Vacuums Have Real Suction
We know that children learn best by watching us, so we shouldn't be surprised when they try to turn the everyday objects we use around the house into their own toys. This is all good when it comes to pots and pans, but when your toddler tries to grab a dirty mop or an electric appliance, things can get gross at best and dangerous at worst. That's why toy makers were pretty smart when they invented role-playing toys that mimic cleaning tools. And we're here to praise the absolute geniuses who decided to make toy vacuums that really suck.
We mean this in the best possible way: These toy vacuums really suck up dirt, so what you get when you buy something like the Ryan's World Toy Vacuum Cleaner isn't just a fun toy for your little one. Now you've got a tiny helper actually cleaning your floor. We're not in favor of child labor in general as a concept, but child labor when your kid thinks they're just playing is a win-win. (Sorry, that may be a bit of an exaggeration.)
Even though the cordless toy Dyson replicas you can get at Amazon or Pottery Barn Kids have a bit of suction, they're still not real vacuum cleaners, and that's a good thing. You don't want your 2-year-old to start sucking up their older siblings' Lego parts or torturing your pets, after all. We tested the Ryan's World vacuum, and it wasn't even strong enough to pick up bits of paper. But when we opened the compartment, there was real dirt inside—a sign that it was cleaning something, and also that, erm, someone needs to get out the real Dyson in a minute.
It may not be a ton of dirt, but that's enough to teach kids what grown-ups have been doing with those much louder machines. This is far more satisfying than the old Fisher-Price Corn Popper of your youth. Plus, by pushing a toy vacuum around the house, kids learn about cause and effect, and they practice some of those fine and gross motor skills they'll be needing for more than just cleaning the house.
Eventually, your pint-size janitor may want to branch out into other cleaning pursuits. You can go the traditional route and give them the Melissa & Doug broom and mop set (which, incidentally, also work in real life). You could also decide to entrust your child with a real, handheld cordless vacuum. Just, maybe clear away the Barbie shoes and other valuables first.
Below are some options for toy vacuums and other ways for your kids to play house-cleaner.