In this article, we are going to discuss how to choose toys for your kids that are perfect for them to play with.
Exploring new things is the most prominent part of a child’s nature. Since their birth every day, they try to explore something new. Hence the parents must keep that urge within them to discover more, alive.
Through satisfying this curiosity, babies learn about new things.
One sure way to keep this curiosity within kids intact is to provide them with new things to play with. As they see new toys it sparks their interest, and through exploring it they develop new skills, learn new things.
However, it is also important to provide the right toys at the right age, otherwise the optimum utilization of toys will not happen.
There is a particular age for learning something or developing some skills. Kids cannot learn everything at once. So, there are toys available which are suitable for different age groups.
It is the duty of the parents to choose the right toy for the right age along with following all the proper safety measures.
So, if you are a first-time parent confused about how to decide on toys, this article is for you.
Two main points to keep in mind while choosing a toy for a kid are –
- Age appropriateness of the toy and
- The kid’s safety while playing with it.
First let’s see from the angle of age appropriateness of toys.
How To Choose Toys For Newborns & Infants? – Toys Buying Guide for Parents
For newborn babies and infants, the most important thing is to consider toys that will encourage their body movement. They need to be active.
Gym mats with hanging toys are the best for the newborns.
At this age toys with sounds, music, lights are important, as their curious minds urge them to capture everything which encourages them to move their body.
Also, all the sounds and lights clear their eyesight and improve their hearing ability. Their toys should be textured and soft for their tactile stimulation.
For infants, parents should get toys that would reflect the cause and effect relationship like the soft block toys.
Also, things that would increase their tummy time like colorful mats and providing them with teethers are important at this age.
Also, their toys should be versatile. they should be of different colors, textures, shapes, and should also make different sounds. At the same time, their toys should also be simple.
How Will You Select A Toy For Toddlers And Older Kids?
Choose a open-ended toy
Open-ended toys are good for children of any age. This kind of toy helps children to explore. They can play with it in any way they want to. thus, it brings out their creativity.
For example, with games like building blocks or interlocking blocks games, play dough, or slime kits, etc. children can make various types of things, there is no restriction in what the kids have to build with these things.
This develops their imagination power and urges them to think more and thus develops their skill to think logically.
Choose toys that your kid can use for a longer time
It is common knowledge that as quick as they pick an interest, kids also lose interest in something very quickly. It is not easy to hold their interest for long.
So, it is better to buy toys which they can use for a long time at different stages for different purposes.
For example, small figures of animals or cars, when they are toddlers they can play with them, but in the later years, they can use these toys for storytelling purposes, they can also be a part of their pretend plays.
Choose toys which will develop skills
Every toy in some way or the other helps in developing some skills in kids, if you want to develop certain specific skills in them then as a parent you have to choose such toys that will help kids in developing those skills.
For example, there are games puzzles or shape sorters, which develop problem-solving skills in children, as well as motor skills.
Toys like stacking rings, which are helpful for toddlers in developing their skills for recognizing different colors and shapes as well as improves motor skills.
You should definitely introduce your children with games like Rubik’s cube or tangram puzzles, they are the best for developing problem-solving skills and logical thinking.
Emphasize on educational toys
From the age of 2 to 3 years, parents should emphasize more on educational toys for their children. For every age educational toys are available.
Like alphabet or number train, puzzles with knobs for learning the alphabets, animal and bird puzzles, flashcards, etc are available to teach toddlers about different animals, birds, colors, shapes, etc.
As they reach the stage of preschoolers you can choose simple maths puzzles or other science puzzles.
There are also many science experiments kits, DIY activity kits, and many other puzzles on general knowledge, high-level maths, etc. which can teach the children many things.
Choose toys which will help kids to imagine
It is very important for kids to possess imaginative power. With imagination comes creativity. So, parents should look for such toys and games.
Pretend plays are a way to do that. There are many different playsets available for conducting pretend plays.
Like doctor sets, kitchen sets, toy food sets with all accessories for eating, doll sets with different dresses for dressing them, dollhouses with accessories, etc.
All these encourage kids to imagine situations in their head and enact them.
Thus, they develop their imaginative power and they also develop their storytelling skills in this way.
Through these real-life situations that they enact you can find out how creative you kids can be.
Kids must develop social skills as they will be growing up. Toys and games can also help in that. Through the sharing of toys, kids can interact with other kids of their age and can make friends.
Like completing a construction game with building blocks or solving a large puzzle together can bring them close to other kids.
On one hand, sharing toys makes kids socially amiable on the other using someone else’s toys also makes them responsible.
Also, involve kids in playing board games, which they can play with the whole family.
This not only brings them close to their parents or siblings but also imparts many life lessons that are essential to becoming a good person.
Like board games, teach them to follow rules, to be a humble winner, and to accept loss gracefully.
It develops the habits of listening to others, considering others’ suggestions, and all the planning and strategy making in board games like Chess helps in developing problem-solving skills and logical thinking.
Whereas games like Ludo, Snake & Ladder help kids in developing the skills of doing the mental calculation, and for developing vocabulary Scrabble is the best game.
Overall it can be said that if you are a parent of a newborn or an infant look for toys that will stimulate your baby’s senses.
On the other hand, if you have a toddler or older kids, you should go for toys and games which will stimulate their skills and will enhance their knowledge of different subjects.
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14 Safety Guidelines For Buying Toys
Always check for these few things before you are handing over any toy to your children.
1. The first step is to always check the recommended age mentioned on the package of any toy or game.
2. Make sure that the toy or even the parts of the toy are large enough so that the kids can’t swallow it by any chance.
3. Make sure that the toy is durable and no parts of it are coming out easily as kids tend to bang or throw things.
Also, if any part comes out easily, then there is a chance that the babies can put it in their mouth and choke on it.
4. Avoid any toys which have any sharp or pointed edges. And in the case of wooden toys make sure that there are no splinters.
5. Any paint used on the toys has to be non-toxic.
6. Check that the plastic toys are made up of hard, durable, and non-toxic plastic.
7. Toys made up of fabric should be marked as flame resistant.
8. Stuffed toys should be made following all the safety measures and should be washable.
9. Colors, paints, and crayons should have the mark ASTM D-4236, which indicates that it has been evaluated by the American Society of Testing and Materials.
10. Before giving a noise emitting toy to your child make sure that the noise is not too loud to hurt their ears. Also, keep an eye that they are not keeping them too close to their ears.
11. Any push and pull toys with large strings or any large ribbons on soft toys should be avoided.
As there is a chance that kids can strangle themselves in those things.
12. Toy guns should not be given to much younger kids.
13. It is better not to give electronic toys to toddlers, as there is a chance that they may touch the batteries or even put them into their mouths.
14. Experiment kits like soap making or bath bomb making, etc. whatever includes any kind of chemicals should not be given to kids below 10 years irrespective of whatever age is mentioned in the package.
Which toys should be avoided for babies?
Babies should not be given any battery-operated toys if the battery case is not secure with screws.
Also, tiny items like marbles, coins, or games with small balls which they can easily put inside their mouth should be avoided.
We have covered all the guidelines that you require for choosing a toy for your child, be it safety guidelines or guidelines for choosing a developmentally appropriate toy as per age.
Hope this article has cleared up all the doubts that you have about buying a proper toy for your kids.
Children must get suitable toys at each stage of their childhood so that they can grow up to be a smart, intelligent, and skillful person with all the necessary qualities.