Childcare psychologists and parents alike agree that toys are an essential part of the child’s early years of life. Toys play many roles in the overall development of a young child. Toys not only serve as play tools, but they also fulfill some essential educational purposes. A toy enhances observational capacity, social conditioning, and stimulates creativity. They play a significant role in the development of physical as well as cognitive skills which are necessary for later life.
However, selecting the right toys for your child is not a child’s play. This situation affects both caregivers/parents as well as the child. For parents, selecting from a large pool of toys and related devices may prove overwhelming. The nagging questions in the adult’s mind include the following: How do you choose which are appropriate for the child? How can you tell which are high quality, which will last and which are unsafe for use? Which toys will engage your child’s interest for more than a few days or weeks?
For children, the fears center on health and safety. Toys could basically be harmful to their health or life-threatening for several reasons. For starters, kids are prone to putting almost everything in their mouth, including toys. If the base materials for toys come from harmful substances, the potential for infection and even death are high. There is also the possibility of toys being so small that the child may swallow and choke to death.
Factors To Consider When Selecting The Right Toys For Your Child
While choosing a toy for your child should be serious business, it can still be an engaging/informed activity. For starters, factors such as durability, pricing, safety, educational value, and fun should feature at the top of your list. Besides, you should take into cognizance the age grade your child falls into. You can go for plush toys and rattles for babies. Select musical instruments, stacking toys, and outdoor fun for toddlers. Preschool children should do well with dress up clothes, blocks, crayons, and books. Older children will relish kites, bicycles, puzzles, and board games.
When choosing age-appropriate toys or kids toys for a young child, keep these tips in mind:
Simplicity is essential
Shun toys that do too much, thereby disallowing the child the use of his/her full range of imaginative capabilities. Dolls and plush toys that talk or sing or instruct kids to press specific buttons necessarily take charge of the play. This situation is not desirable because the child should be the one directing the action. Under this tip, the best toys are the simplest ones. Toys like blocks or bricks are ideal because, with their simplicity, they precipitate creativity and spontaneity in the child.
Allow the child only a few toys at a time
Resist the temptation of inundating the child with an avalanche of toys, at any given time. A child, given many toys too soon, will find it hard focusing on any one of them. Under this tip, trusted strategies will include several options. These options include rotating toys in and out of a child’s toy box or room and reintroducing a toy after a few weeks, so it comes across as fresh and new.
Select age-appropriate toys
You should provide toys that kids can master, and that is right for their particular age/stage of development.
- At 0 to six months of life, Infants are attracted to movement, sounds, and simple black and white visuals. Therefore you can get them toys such as mobiles, rattles, energy boxes, and anything that facilitates grasping, swiping at, pulling, squeezing, or shaking.
- Right between 6 to 8 months of life, babies can hold onto small toys, as children learn about cause and effect as well as repetitive behavior. Children in this category will enjoy engaging with introductory toys in new and exciting ways.
- At 8 to 18 months, babies begin to foresee results and take deliberate steps to achieve a goal. They will also start exploring elements such as size, shape, and space. You can provide toys such as push/pull devices, building blocks, rings on poles, and simple take-apart toys.
- Between 18 to 24 months, toddlers often take a liking to pretend-play and games. Therefore you can introduce dress-up clothing, dolls, kitchen sets as well as toy cars and trucks.
- From age two and upwards, kids open up to more socialization and further pretend/role plays. Note that you can help their imagination and spur creativity with toys such as small farms, jumbo crayons, and finger paints.
Selecting the right toys for your child may not be as easy as it seems. There are many underlying factors to put into consideration, some of which have been discussed in this article to make your toy selection process hassle-free. It is certain that considering all of the factors above will make you a pro at selecting the right toys for kids.