If you are a new parent, you probably have noticed that there are tons of commercials and advertisements out there saying “Buy this toy…buy that toy…This toy will make your baby smart…This toy is the best…you gotta have it!” But, how do you know which toys are necessary? Which are baby toys are educational and fun at the same time? There is enough for you to think about right now, without being sold into buying toys that don’t serve a purpose.
Here are some things to consider before purchasing toys. You probably want to buy engaging, age-appropriate, educational baby toys, meaning toys that are actually going to teach your child something. You want your child to develop as he plays. The first three years of your baby’s life are so important when it comes to learning. He is like a sponge, learning from everything and everyone around him. You also want the toy to be fun! Your child is not going to play with a so called “educational toy” if it is boring. You need to make sure that the baby toys you choose are engaging so that he does in fact learn.
You also want these educational baby toys to have more than one purpose. Meaning, you want your child to be able to learn a few things when playing with one toy. You don’t want your child to use the toy for a month or two and then have no use for it. You do not want your baby to become bored too quickly. There is no need to clutter your house with tons of toys (not to mention spend all of that money). Toys that grow with your child are the best. For example, a 6-12 month old will play with a stuffed animal and may enjoy mouthing the animal and learn cause and effect by squeezing the arm to hear music. At around 12 months, this stuffed animal may be a learning tool for him to start learning body parts. Then, around 18 months he may learn colors by playing with this same toy because it in fact has colors on the various body parts and names them.
You may also want to buy educational baby toys that get your child moving. For example, toys that require him to use gross motor skills (bigger muscles – like legs and arms) and fine motor skills (smaller muscles – like his fingers) are great for early child development. Just a few examples of these types of toys are activity centers, play mats, bouncy balls, rattles, puzzles, and shape sorters.
Another area to consider when purchasing an educational baby toy is language development. Your child develops language skills from the environment that he is in. He will learn the most from you! The right educational baby toys are also very important for his language development. Watching your child develop language skills as he plays will be fun for you as well as your little one. Books, Baby Einstein music and DVDs, and baby safe mirrors are just a few examples. Toys with various textures that your baby will mouth are also great for language development. They stimulate your baby’s mouth and that is extremely important in developing language. So when he is mouthing toys all day, be glad! He is learning!
The next time you’re looking to buy a toy for your child, take some time to think about how he will use the toy. Is it a toy that will get him moving? Does the toy stimulate his language development? Is this toy engaging and it is multi-functional? These are just a few areas to consider when researching toys that will help your child learn and develop.