Toys are more than just fun games and activities for kids. Every toy you place in front of your child provides them with an opportunity to learn about themselves and the world they live in. Giving children toys that engage and stimulate their mind, spark their imagination, encourage them to experiment and test ways of playing will allow them to learn about social situations as well as being a wonderful way for you to help your child learn while they play.
We believe that the best toys can be used by children at different stages of their development - BUT that these toys will be used in different ways. For example babies, toddlers, preschoolers and even school-aged children can all enjoy playing with building blocks. However, the way they do so is in very different ways. A one-year-old will typically put the blocks in their mouths, drop them off the edge of their highchair to see what happens or even throw them around as they learn to control their body and their movements. However, when an older child, for example a 4 year old plays with building blocks, they will potentially stack them in order from biggest to smallest, make a castle or design with them, and if they're playing with blocks with the alphabet pictured, they may even start to build words. As you can see, the very same blocks can be can be used in a magnitude of ways that allow your child to grow and develop at age appropriate levels. If you need some blocks, we know of a great range - right here!
All babies should be playing with toys as they have so much to learn and are incredibly eager to do so. To a baby, every shape, colour, texture and sound is a new and exciting learning experience. Giving your baby toys that are safe and encouraging them to learn will help them to discover their capabilities and provide a strong foundation of learning for the future.
Babies should be playing with toys such as rattles and bells to stimulate their sense of sound, as even small babies are able to make these toys ‘work’ simply by grasping and shaking them. Musical toys are incredibly fascinating for babies and when you place a musical toy in front of your child, you are encouraging them to work on their gross motor skills as they reach for it, their fine motor skills as they pick it up, their sense of vision & hearing as the toy makes noises and you will also be helping them develop a sense of cause and effect - when I shake the bell, the noise occurs. Musical Toys are wonderful - find the perfect wooden musical toys here.
When your baby is not mobile yet, lying under a baby play gym with toys attached for them to bat and swing at is a wonderful way to develop their hand-eye coordination and show them early science concepts such as cause and effect. When your baby is sitting, you can roll the ball to them and they will minic you and roll it back - a simple action that will work on a whole range of gross motor skills and muscle development that is an important first step for your child learning to sit, stand, crawl, walk, and, even run! All from rolling a ball!
Another wonderful toy for babies to play with are building blocks. Building blocks can come in a range of sizes and shapes, as well as textures and designs, to allow your child to enjoy playing with them for years to come. When your child is a baby, they will simply feel and touch the blocks and possibly make simple structures by placing one or two on top of each other and then the fun part comes - knocking it over! Even this knocking down blocks will help them build motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as well as patience and spatial awareness – all important skills for a child to learn.
The toys you provide your child don't need to be elaborate, expensive or the latest of anything. Many of the toys you provide your child's can be used out of everyday household items such as pots and pans, ribbons and balls, cardboard boxes and even old clothes for dress ups. Your child will adore playing with anything you give them. Looking for free things to do, we've put together a list!
There has recently been a movement to provide your child with natural wooden coloured toys - and they certainly do look Pinterest-Perfect in your toy room, however it has been proven that bright primary colors are stimulating for a child. Children are typically attracted to toys that are brightly coloured which is an incredibly important part of play - being engaged and stimulated by the tool you are using, and your child is no different, they need to be stimulated and interested in the activity they are doing in order for them to fully become involved in the task at hand.
Further to all the reasons above of why babies should be playing with toys, it should also be noted that the deprivation of play can actually damage a child's early child development. The long-term impacts of play deprivation during early development may include outcomes such as reduced self-control, poor self-esteem and social isolation. It is highly encouraged that children are allowed to play in an unsupervised, yet still safe, free play environment in order to develop social, emotional and cognitive skills. It is very simple to avoid these negative outcomes simply by providing your child toys and activities that encourage them to play both independently and in groups situations. Want to read more about the risks of play deprivation? Check out this link.
Phew, for something that looks like just fun and games, playing with toys that spark their imagination and creativity, as well as toys that will challenge them and engage them to learn new skills is such a vital part of your child’s early education.