Have you ever asked a child what their favorite subject is in school, and they responded with “recess?” As it turns out, kids are onto something. Recess can totally count as an opportunity to grow, learn, and develop. When it comes to playtime, babies, toddlers, and kids alike may use items to make sessions more fun and exciting. Toys can be an excellent complement for growth, but some options are better than others.
Toys Based on Age
Your little one will grow at a rapid rate (sadly). As they grow, you’ll notice that the toys they engage with change over time. Here are some age-appropriate toys to consider.
Baby (1 month-12 months old)
Playtime is all about exploration! Blocks, baby activity centers, sensory bags, mirrors, and ring stacks can all help your child explore a curious world full of color and sensation. Incorporating toys during tummy time is also a good idea so that they can explore while developing strength in those growing muscles.
Toddlers are now understanding how objects work. As they get older, they will continue to get a better and better grasp of an object’s function. Books, easy puzzles, coloring books, balls, dolls (items for pretend play), and really anything with a ton of color will get your kiddo’s imagination flowing for an epic playtime session.
Talents and interests are beginning to blossom! Your child has refined their skills nicely for a more advanced session of playtime. Around this age, jump ropes, bikes, and board games are all up for grabs. You can now take books, puzzles, and sports to the next level as your kiddo learns and grows in their environment.
Quality Over Quantity Always at Playtime
When it comes to toys, less really is more. A study from the University of Toledo in Ohio showed that kids who had fewer options to choose from had a higher quality experience at playtime, including greater prominence of problem-solving skills, creativity, and self-expression. When it comes to getting toys for your little one, think about quality and variety. Toys that encourage creativity (art set), fine motor skills (coloring books), physical activity (soccer ball), imagination (action figure), and problem-solving (puzzles) are all great options to keep in the toy box. Now, if you already have tons of toys for your kids, that’s okay. What you can do is pull out two or three options for them to choose from when playtime comes around. This way, there will be fewer distractions.
The 411 on Electronic Toys
Electronic toys sure do get a cool modern-day reputation, but are they really the best for development? The short answer is ‘no.’ A study revealed that traditional toys and books promoted better language skills than play with electronic toys. Parents were less likely to interact with their children during play with electronic toys. This means that opportunities for language learning decrease. If you do think about getting electronic toys, be sure to interact and play with your child too!
Be Sure to Join!
At the end of the day, you are your child’s best option for playtime. What a child learns from you as a parent is irreplaceable. Toys certainly are fun, new, and can aid in development. However, always be sure that you have a presence during playtime sessions. You can enjoy watching your kiddo explore new things and discover passions, maybe even to the point where they engage with the same toy over and over again. This is all part of the learning process and you’re definitely a key part of it all.
If your child struggles with playtime in any way, it may be time to reach out to us for a little help. The early years of life are crucial, and they should be filled with fun.