A Guide to the Best Toys for Your Child at Every Age
Whether we’re talking babies or kindergarteners, children love toys. But choosing a toy that’s suited to your child’s capabilities can be difficult task, especially when they seem to grow up so fast.
Because toys are such important tools in the physical, emotional and cognitive development, picking one that stimulates your child, without being too complex to confuse them, is vitally important. Here’s a handy guide for choosing age-appropriate toys.
0-12 Months Old
At this stage children really haven’t mastered the concept of play, but they can be enticed with pleasing textures, materials, colours, shapes and sounds. Look for soft rugs, stuffed animals that they can safely grab and hold on to. Colourful hanging mobiles that play a tune are also great for teaching your baby to reach and stretch.
Once they get a little older you can go for more traditional items such as rattles, shakers, teethers, and large, bright balls.
1-3 Year Olds
Children at this stage are bursting with curiosity about the world around them, and they’ll be eager to run, play and explore. If your child is developing a burgeoning interest in electronics already, it’s important to limit their exposure to television and other entertainment technology, According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, kids under age 2 “shouldn't watch TV or play computer games at all” as they can interfere with learning ability.
Rather, you should focus on encouraging your child to engage with the world around them. Mobile ride-on toys that get your children playing outside are great, as are musical toys and those that facilitate easy pushing and pulling. Toys that provide problem-solving opportunities such as the simple wooden blocks and sorting boxes you can find at https://www.goodtoplay.com/ are also great for getting your child to think more creatively.
4-6 Years Old
By this point children will have acutely developed their ability to speak and learn, and will probably have clear preferences as to the type of play they prefer. It’s important to take advantage of your child’s newfound ability to absorb knowledge.
Colour pencils, crayons and paper are great for getting their creative juices flowing; while picture books will help them develop their language skills. Basic board games are great for teaching your child basic rules and number skills as well. Depending on your child’s preferences they’ll opt for either dolls or more complex toys such as model train sets at this point, make sure to encourage their interests.
7+ Years Old
School provides children with endless learning opportunities, both formal and informal; in turn these sources of information will affect their play preferences. Input from their peers may push your child towards an interest in niche trends such as superheroes or robots, alternatively their education may foster a passion for science or technology.
Age-appropriate computer games, complex toy construction sets and sports equipment are great toys for children at the early-end of this age group.
Guest Post by Eva