Educational Children Toys by Age
Having children is a blessing and being parents, we want everything best for our children. Right from the time they are born till they have their own children, we constantly worry about what is good and bad for them.
Although there are lots of elements involved when it comes to good parenting, education is the most important factor in the wholesome development of children. Smartphones, tablets and television have made it easier to engage children but no matter what, screen time still should be cut down to the minimum. According to Nemours, a non-profit pediatric health system, screen time should be less than 30 minutes a week and no screen time for children two and below. Giving the child screen time will make them dependent on the technology to be simulated, reduced social interaction with other kids and possible obesity in the future due to the sedentary activity.
Engage the child with age-appropriate educational toys to train their kinetic, audio and visual abilities.
Children are very active and demanding need constant looking after. Toys are a great way to keep them occupied for a while until their attention is diverted (which happens very often). Buying toys is considered the easiest job. Just go to a toy store, go to the specific aisle (usually age groups are mentioned) and pick up whatever is colorful and noisy. It should not be this way actually. Before going toy shopping, thorough homework should be done and the following factors should be kept in mind:
1. Age of Child
Age is the most important and basic factor. Age appropriate toys will not require adult assistance.
Make sure the toy is safe for your little one. It should not have any smaller parts, pointy edges and the material it is made of should not be hazardous (since young kids put everything in their mouths).
3. Educational Value
Besides mere playing, toys should also be a source of learning for the children. There are several areas of the child’s personality that are developing and toys can help in better understanding of complex concepts and skills at a tender age.
Since different age groups demand a different kind of learning opportunities, so kids won’t be playing with one toy for too long. No matter how long your child plays with a certain toy, it should be sturdy enough to sustain falls and throws.
If you are buying quality toy then it’s obvious that it would not be low priced. Buying one good toy that can influence your child’s learning in a positive way is better than buying a whole lot of useless plastic.
How long your baby stays a baby depends on you. Until he starts walking or running around, you can surely enjoy him as a baby. Everything is new for babies. Lights, colors and moving objects fascinate them. You will see their little eyes following you around. Then there comes a time when they start to reach out for objects near them. They pick up the objects, hold and suck on to them.
Buying toys for your little baby seems fun. Selecting a toy that not only engages your baby but also helps develop certain areas of his overall growth will be a wise choice. Some educational toys that you can buy for your baby are listed below:
Toys for 0-6 months
Sensorial toys are of different kinds specially designed to enhance the sensory skills of babies. Sensory rollers, rattles and balls offer touch and sound experience to babies. Babies get to feel the rubbery texture of rollers and when rollers actually roll, they make sounds due to hidden chimes inside them. Sensory rollers, balls and cubes are available in a variety of materials and textures.
Babies learn very quickly if provided opportunities. Stuffed animals, dolls and shapes are great for learning textures and characters. Rice, polyester and bean filled toys are easier to grab and offer soft and cuddly experience.
While the baby is still spending more time lying around, play mats and gyms are excellent to keep him occupied. Bright colors, shapes and small figures will make them reach out and touch them. Touching will let them experience textures and rattling sounds.
Toys for 6-12 months
Toys that make sounds will enhance listening skills of the baby. Listening will improve learning. The repetitive playing of different sounds and rhymes will help the baby distinguish different sounds and develop the ability to utter similar sounds. Board books prove very helpful in enhancing listening and viewing senses. Vibrant colors of board books keep babies occupied and rhymes, lullabies or musical tunes will improve listening and learning abilities.
Wooden boxes with different slots to inset blocks of corresponding shapes are great for babies who have started sitting. Wooden boxes, big beads and plastic bowls will keep a baby busy for quite some time.
Toys for 1 year
By 1 year, the baby has started to walk. Running around, exploring and finding things are their favorite things to do. Here is what you can buy for your active 1-year-old:
Wood and plastic blocks are great to keep the kids busy. They will learn stacking and balancing. They are good to teach organizational and sequential skills. Stacking rings, nesting cups and boxes can become your child’s favorite toys if he is shown ways to have fun with them.
Pretend Play Toys
Play phones, dressers, baby carriages, child-sized vehicles and puppets will help children learn complex concepts while playing. Pretend play encourages interaction and helps in the development of social skills.
I would not recommend a toy that makes unnecessary noise but some battery operated toys are designed to teach phonics. Introducing toys that encourage formal education can be beneficial in later years when the child starts school. He will recognize sounds and will start talking earlier than expected.
Toddlers are fully energized little beings. They love physical activities and are very inquisitive. Indoor toys and outdoor activities are excellent options for fussy toddlers. Here are a few toy options for your active toddler.
Teaching problem solving to young children is very difficult. Puzzles are a great way to teach this complex concept within no time. Puzzles improve eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills like picking and placing the piece in right place.
2. Outdoor Games
Balls can engager children very easily. Kicking, throwing and running after balls will not only help children develop physically but will also encourage sharing and playing together in a group.
3. Playing Kits
Doctor, engineer, kitchen, arts & crafts, experiment and botany kits will help you understand your child’s choices from this young age. Make sure that the kit does not include tiny parts and ensure adult assistance.
Children beyond 2 to 3 years of age show preferences and their likes and dislikes. They have learnt many social skills by now. They are familiar with many simple to complex concepts but are eager to learn more. Their attention span has increased so has their queries and physical activities. They would love toys that are challenging and encourage imagination. Toys that encourage learning and play will be loved.
1. Assembling Kits
Architectural and building kits, cars, planes and shipbuilding kits, big sized puzzles are all excellent options for children. These complex toys will not only challenge them but also encourage problem-solving.
2. Outdoor Play
Toys that take the children outside are excellent for physically active children. Tri and bicycles, child-sized ride-on vehicles, bowling set, basketball set and soccer ball sets will encourage taking turns and sharing.
3. Board Games
Children this big have developed the ability to understand instructions. Board games help in the development of logical and analytical thinking and improve reasoning skills. Social and communication skills are improved through shared playing. Word building games will improve vocabulary. More the brain is stimulated the stronger it becomes.
4. Musical Instruments
Learn and play should go hand in hand. Smart parents incorporate learning through fun activities and toys. Hand and eye coordination are improved while playing a musical instrument and sense of achievement when you master a tune is unparalleled. Playing an instrument improves fine and gross motor skills. It inculcates discipline and patience.
No matter how hard you try to keep your kids away from toys; they are inevitable. The noises and mess might annoy you but they can stimulate your child’s senses and teach various skills without you even realizing. If your child is busy playing and is learning along the way; it is a win-win situation for you. Finding something engaging, educational and age-appropriate can be difficult but surely isn’t impossible. Understand the fact that each child develops differently and you need to address the specific needs of your child and let him progress on his own pace.