After being a mum, there are quite a lot of instances that take me back to my own childhood days. Days that were free of the internet, video games, smartphone and much more. Our childhood was filled with fun and free play where most of the toys consisted of empty bottles found at home, utensils from mom’s kitchen and many more similar things. Well, times have changed a lot wherein toys have taken a greater place in a child’s life. They are not just playthings, though, and while they should be filled with fun, they should also be age appropriate, stimulating and safe as well.
While I was busy raising a little girl of my own I saw the world and toys from her eyes. Every shape, color, and texture has been a learning experience for her. All this while toys have been her constant companion helping her learn something or the other every day. With the advent of age-appropriate toys, learning has become more interactive and a lifelong process of analyzing things and learning from every small thing that she comes across.
When we regularly started buying toys for our naughty toddler we thought it would be a cakewalk. Whereas we were taken by surprise as we were overwhelmed with the array of options available to buy from. There is a huge variety of toys available in the market for toddlers keeping the various developmental stages in mind. In such situations, how do you choose which toys are right for your child? How do we identify which toy is of high quality and which will last longer? Which toy will engage your child’s interest for more than a few days or weeks? Sharing with you some ideas for choosing toys that will grow with your child, challenge her, and nourish her overall development (that includes physical, thought process, language and social-emotional skills).
Age is an important factor
As they grow they achieve different milestones at different age. Thus, choosing an age appropriate toy for your child is the most important step. While buying a toy keep these levels into account a child’s age, physical size, skill level and safety concerns.
Durability and long lasting
Toddlers usually tend to play without any set rule. They tend to throw the toys a lot. While ensuring that the toy is attractive for your little one, also keep in mind the sturdiness of the toy so that its durable for long time and doesn’t break easily.
Safety and stability
As the toddlers have habit of putting things in mouth it’s advisable to buy toys that are large enough and cannot be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe if mistakenly kept in the mouth. Buy toys that are age specific and can be easily lifted and managed by the child. Buying a toy that is heavier and difficult for the child to use all by himself is not advisable as it can prove fatal as well leading to serious injuries. Until the child turns over 3 years old, toys should always be bigger than his mouth to prevent possibility of choking. Also, it’s important to ensure that the toys are made of non-toxic plastic and painted with lead free paints.
Keep it simple
With the advancement of technology toys have become all the more advanced with less of educational but more entertainment value to it. Hence, it’s always better to buy toys that are simple, open-ended and without any technological hassles. Also, avoid buying too many toys at once. Buying too many toys at one instance may not only hamper your ability to buy the right and age-appropriate toy but will also leave your little one overwhelmed. It’s better to understand your child’s age and requirements and buy toys accordingly for proper skill development.
Creating toys at home
You could look into your closet and stack some scarves, hats and animal or cartoon masks. Get your child to play dress-ups along with you. This will help them learn things at home in the most creative way.
Check out the brand names
Buying a toy of good brand names tends to be more reputable and offers great warranties that ensures durability of the product. It’s always better to buy the toys from an offline shop to check on all the aspects of safety and other features in person.
When buying for a toddler it’s imperative that you have a budget in mind. Kids not just outgrow toys but they get bored more easily. They may not play with a particular toy after 2-3 times, so, it’s pointless to buy expensive toys. Have a set budget in mind when you go out for picking a toy along with the usage and how long will it keep your child interested.
Toys that add on to learning
They are at a stage when they will soon begin formal learning. It’s good idea to help your child develop interests in words and reading by investing in toys that introduce alphabets and numbers. You give stuff like colourful books, art supplies (crayons, markers, finger-paints and much more). These are great ways for kids to learn and start familiarizing with print, letters and texts.
By the time kids get into the age of toddlerhood, we parents know them quite well. From their likes-dislikes, habits and much more. So, go for toys that will help them develop physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. Good toys also help kids learn new skills and practice relationships with others and their world. Also, be neutral and not gender specific while buying toys for your child. Kids need to learn to be comfortable with everything in the world they are going to inhabit as adults.
Last but not least get in there and play with your kids. It’s part of the fun of being a parent.
How do you choose the best toys for your child? Do share any tips that you may have to choose the perfect toy for the kids.