Best toys for child development
10 great toys for development in babies and young children
Every good parent has their child’s future in mind from day one. However, knowing which toys to buy for them, or even which ones would be best for them can present quite a challenge. Especially when there are so many toys and devices vying for your child’s attention! Electronic and sensory toys are continually flooding the market year after year, and toy manufacturers want you to believe their products are perfect for your child. But are they really?
While electronic and sensory toys may provide some temporary stimulation and entertainment value, they’re not quite a substitute for more traditional toys that promote cognitive development in their simplicity. As we explained in a previous blog, it can be the simplest of toys that provide the most benefit for growing children. So hold off on buying Minecraft or a state of the art tablet for your child as we walk you through ten of our recommendations.
Building blocks are almost stereotypically traditional as a toy. However they are the perfect example of a toy that grows with your child. They are compact, feel nice to hold and handle, and are primarily used for stacking. Building blocks may also contain patterns, letters and numbers on each side, promoting education in more ways than one. Whether they’re being used for stacking, or creating words or strings of numbers and shapes, building blocks are a simple but remarkably versatile toy.
From crayons and markers to stickers and colouring books, introducing art to children can offer a wealth of benefits. Drawing and colouring encourages creativity in children and can help to sharpen fine motor skills early on in life. And who knows? Maybe they’ll grow up to be professional artists themselves?
Clay and Play-Doh
In addition to drawing and colouring artistry, clay (and more specifically Play-Doh) can fulfil the want for creativity in a three dimensional setting. Children will love the bright colours and amorphous nature of modelling clay.
Jigsaws and similar puzzles develop a child’s problem solving and spatial awareness skills. Introducing young children to progressively more difficult puzzles as they grow older is a superb way to build their brainpower early on in life. Ravensburger manufactures jigsaws of all shapes and sizes, making them perfect for children of all ages.
Push and pull toys
Mental development is important, but equally so is physical development, too. Push along toys such as Fisher-Price’s Zoom n’ Crawl Monster provides very young children and babies with an involving physical toy that helps to develop muscles early in life. Similarly, pull focused toys such as Pull and Go Dinotrux vehicles demonstrate the concepts of locomotion, friction and acceleration.
Toys that resemble real objects have always been a staple item for the toybox. Themed pretend play sets introduce children to occupational possibilities and can inspire them to what they want to be as adults. Take Peterkin’s Tool Carrycase, which is chock full of plastic, easy to hold tools to keep kids busy working. There’s also the numerous food playsets from Melissa & Doug, including the sandwich making set and the pizza party kit.
Balls have always been a deceptively simple toy, but one that is invaluable to a child’s early mental and physical growth. The simple act of kicking a ball helps to build strength, stamina and balance. They’re also perhaps one of the best toys when it comes to human interaction – their versatility is great for building confidence and closeness to family and friends.
Plush and soft toys
When your children are introduced to television, they’re bound to latch onto some TV shows as favourites. Whether it’s Peppa Pig or PJ Masks, you can guarantee there will be plush and soft toys available for the series. Character-based plush toys are a great way to bring the child’s favourite characters into real life. Their softness often provides a comfortable bedtime friend which can ease night time worries. And, just like action figures, they can be used in imaginative play scenarios.
All a mat needs is some imagery and theming and it can become one of the most interactive and endlessly playable toys in your child’s repertoire. Examples of popular play mats variations include a cityscape with roads – perfect for play vehicles, helicopters and so on. Other play mats offer multiple activities in one, including number and letter learning activities.
Genuinely one of the best things you can give to your baby or young child is…yourself! Human interaction is a cornerstone of your child’s development, and routinely playing with them in between naps and meal times should be a key part of theirs and your lives. There are many games and activities you can engage in with your child, whether you’re using some of the items in this list or just improvising.
Those were ten examples of non-electronic toys and gifts that can be valuable in developing your child for their early life. These are all examples that we would raise our children on to help give them a promising start in life before their interest in electronics really kicks into first gear!