Choosing the right toys and games is important in bringing up strong, healthy, confident children.
Give your child new toy -- almost any toy -- and chances are, you've got a happy kid. Young children generally aren't fussy when it comes to baby toys and kids toys, but parents should be.
Toys are more than just playthings, and while they should be fun, they should also be age-appropriate, stimulating, and safe.
When choosing age-appropriate baby toys or kids toys for a young child, keep these tips in mind:
Keep them simple
Toys that do too much don't allow a child to use her own imagination. Toys should allow children to be creative and spontaneous.
Set limits on electronic toys and video games
Electronic toys pose several possible dangers for children's health and development, including hearing loss (from loud toys), weight gain (from being inactive while playing), and language and developmental delays. Electronics can also affect a child's attention span.
Some experts say that kids under age 2 shouldn't watch TV or play computer games at all and kids over 2 should have their "screen time" limited to 1-2 hours per day.
Keep only a few toys out at one time
Parents should rotate toys in and out of a child's toy box or room, reintroducing a toy after a few weeks when it feels fresh and new. The same toy can also carry a child through many different developmental stages, so don't be in a rush to replace old toys with new ones.
Choose age-appropriate toys
Children enjoy toys that they can master and that is right for their particular stage of development. Here are some suggestions for the types of toys kids benefit from most as they go through different stages:
- 0-6 months: Infants are fascinated with movement, sounds, and simple black and white visuals. They are discovering their own bodies, working on eye-hand coordination, reaching, and grasping. Age-appropriate toys for babies include mobiles, rattles, busy boxes, and anything they can begin to grasp, swipe at, pull, kick, squeeze, or shake.
6-8 months: Older babies can hold small toys. They are learning about cause and effect and they will repeat activities over and over in order to master them. Many of the same toys for infants will be used in new ways by older babies.
- 8-18 months: This is the age when babies begin to foresee results, decide on a goal, and deliberately take some action to make it happen. They also begin to experiment with size, shape, and space. Age-appropriate toys include push/pull toys, blocks, nesting cups, rings on poles, shape sorters, and simple take-apart toys.
- 18-24 months: Toddlers begin to enjoy playing "pretend" and it’s the time to introduce dress-up clothing, dolls, kitchen sets, and toy cars, trucks, and school buses.
- 2-4 years: Kids learn a lot about socialization during the preschool years and continue to do a lot of pretend play. Miniature farm and house sets allow them to exercise their imagination, while large crayons, finger paints, and Play-Doh help develop creativity. Children also make huge gains in both fine and gross motor skills throughout this period, so puzzles, large Legos, blocks, and other construction toys are perfect age-appropriate toys. Noise is always an enticement, so young children love drums and hammer-and-peg toys at this age range.
How do you choose which toys are right for your child?
We hope this article offered some ideas for choosing toys that will grow with your child, challenge her, and nurture her thinking, physical, language, and social-emotional skills.
With so many different play types and styles, it can be hard to choose a toy that your child will love. To help you pick you can reach us through our Kids Car Sales website.