When buying toys for your children, there's a lot of things you think about. Will your child like it? Is the price reasonable? Is it loud or noisy? What many parents don't think about, though, is whether a toy will help their child develop.
Many modern toys are created with child development in mind, even if they don't appear to be so. Here's how the toys you give your children can actually aid their development and growth.
Toys For Every Age Category
No matter how old your child is, there'll be something they can learn from their toys if you choose them well.
Babies: Every toy you give a baby is a new learning experience for them. "When you give a baby a new toy, they're experiencing new sounds, shapes, textures and more for the first time," says educator Janet Dean from Top Canadian Writers. "Simple educational toys are best at this stage". Items such as blocks can help with hand-eye coordination, and toys with contrasting colors can help with developing eyesight.
Toddlers: As they get older, children can start playing with a wider variety of toys. They can still play with the toys they had as babies, as they can offer them new opportunities now that they're older. However, you will need to bring them toys designed for their age range, such as shape sorters.
School-Aged Children: As your children start reaching school age, the best developmental toys for them will be those that reinforce what they learn in school. Toys that focus on number and language skills are key here. If you can find a toy your child really likes, they'll play with it more, reinforcing that message.
Technology And Toys
These days, you'll know the struggle of trying to find toys that aren't electrical or bound to apps in some way. It can feel as though technology is taking over, and 'real' toys aren't as popular anymore. While too much technology is indeed not great for your child, supervised use of tech toys can actually help them develop.
When picking out toys in this area, look for toys that offer a concrete advantage to your child's development. An app that encourages number learning, for example, is something that your child could get a lot out of. The key here is to properly screen the toys and apps that your child accesses. That's why parental locks on iPads and phones are always a good idea, as they'll stop your child accessing anything they shouldn't.
Picking Developmental Toys For Your Child
Now that you've got an idea of what your child needs from a toy, you'll be able to start picking some out. Here are some ideas on what to look for, so you'll find toys that are just right.
'Educational' toys often have no educational value: Many parents pick up toys as they're labeled as 'educational', thinking they'll be good for their children. However, you should beware that label. "'Educational' toys often have no back up to prove that they are," says educator Sam Bowman from UK Top Writers. "Instead, look for toys that have a solid basis in education and development, such as building blocks."
Old fashioned toys are often best: Newer toys often have lots of electronic bells and whistles, but that doesn't make them better. For many children, they can actually be over stimulating and not offer any chance for imaginative play. Older style toys such as blocks and dolls give the child a chance to create their own games around them. The child should bring more to the game than the toy does.
Strive for fewer electronics: Most children are less engaged when watching a DVD than they are playing with building blocks. You can't shut out digital media entirely, but it's a good idea to reduce how much they're reduced to in your home. This can feel difficult, especially over the holidays, but it can be done.
Interact with your child: "Any toy you buy isn't to distract your child, but for you to play with together" says parent Harriet Mease from Revieweal. "You want to pick toys that you can enjoy together." Find toys that you can help your child get the most out of.
Pick toys you like too: If you find flashing lights or loud noises annoying, then don't pick toys that have them. You don't have to have them in your home if you don't want them. Any toy you buy should be appealing to you too, so you and your child can enjoy them together.
Toys can be a real boon to your child's development. You need to pick carefully, and especially so with technological toys. When you find toys that your child loves though, you'll see that they'll get so much from them. Help them develop essential skills with educational toys today.