Playing with various toys definitely presents an important part in the life of every child, not only because of its entertaining purpose, but because it’s proved that toys strongly support every aspect of a child’s development.
This means that the shapes, colors, and type of the toy play significant roles in encouraging curiosity among children and greatly influence the evolution of their cognitive functions.
But toys must be safe and age-appropriate. The following guidelines can help you determine which toys are suitable for a certain child‘s age:
Toy choices for children up to 1 year of age
Newborn babies react on senses, and most of them they discover while playing with their legs and fingers. During this time, when the baby is a couple of weeks old, the sound of the mother’s voice, peaceful music, and mobiles above the crib should be stimulating enough.
Up to the sixth month, you can include safe toys which are appropriately sized so your baby can easily hold them without any chance of swallowing them, such as rattles, squeezing and soft toys suitable to be fixed around the crib. Choose toys made from one piece, and ensure they don’t include harmful materials.
As the baby grows stronger and learns to sit, crawl, and react faster, it’s time to provide a safe space where he/she can explore and move independently. At this time, colorful cups, cloth balls, stuffed dolls and animals, rubber toys and fabric books with drawings are excellent to help baby become familiar sizes and shapes, and develop their vision.
It’s important to exclude any items with sharp edges, are breakable, have removable parts, PVC surfaces and tiny glass or plastic figurines, since babies at this age are particularly interested in tasting and pulling.
Best toys for toddlers (1 to 3 years of age)
From their first year, children develop the ability to hold, push and pull items with more stability and power. They also like to wriggle between or under the furniture.
Until the third year, a child gradually learns to hold things like a spoon, a cup and a pencil, so this is the right age to introduce non-toxic crayons and encourage the child to draw.
This is the time when the child starts to express imaginative thinking, so it’s also good to offer safe modeling clay and inspire him/her to create shapes. Picture books with hard pages are excellent for developing a kid’s perceptive power, while toys that require stacking or sorting, such as puzzles and differently sized rings are also welcome at this age.
Children from one to three years are excited with everything that’s moving and producing sound, so you can offer music dolls and wheeled toys.
Until five to six years of age, children are raising their muscles’ stability, and they can already handle a wide range of movements, so this is the right time to include bikes with training wheels and simple riding toys.
Useful educational toys, such as simple board games, alphabet and number puzzles, thematic books and sets that include fruits, vegetables or geometrical figurines are a perfect choice for supporting learning among preschoolers. Games that include a few players are a crucial way of socializing in this period, so you can also suggest collectively drawing or sandbox games.
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