Baby Developmental Toys
That nonchalant phrase 'child's play' isn't quite what we think it is, say baby development specialists. Whether it's a toddler with his ball or a baby shaking her rattle, there's a lot going on when a child reaches for a toy in terms of physical skill development and understanding how the world works.
The American Academy of Paediatrics stresses the importance of play: "Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth."
Read on to find out how appropriate toys can help your baby's development at every stage.
Infant Developmental Toys
Hand-held toys and mobiles in bright, contrasting colours stimulate baby's visual growth.
Another simple visual development toy is an unbreakable mirror hung on the side of baby's cot. Even at three months old, own reflection will fascinate the little one!
Toys that move gently and produce soft, musical sounds, like musical mobiles, evoke excited, positive responses from babies.
Soft toys that squeak or trill when squeezed help sensory development. The sounds help baby connect with own hand movements. Rubber toys are ideal for play during bath time.
Toys for Older Babies
Blocks are the superstars of baby developmental toys! While playing with blocks, your child is acquiring:
- Gross and fine motor skills
- Basic maths concepts (shapes, counting, fractions)
- Problem solving skills
Two-year-olds carrying and dropping blocks learn about weights and gravity. Piling up blocks is a lesson in balance and stability A tower-block crashing down is a kiddie tutorial on gravity. When your child is older and begins stacking blocks in rows horizontally and vertically, she's experimenting with patterns.
Another basic developmental toy for babies is the humble ball. A baby crawling after a ball is developing spatial consciousness when estimating the position of the ball and his body in relation to it. Among preschoolers, catching and throwing balls lead to an understanding of force and direction.
Stacking cups make for versatile toys. Between one and two years of age, your baby will begin building a tower or nesting cups inside each other. That's a combined session of science and maths! Allow him to figure out relationships between sizes and the concept of seriation (a grown-up word for putting things in the right order). Throw some cups into his bathtub, and the little one will learn that differently shaped cups can hold the same quantity of water and that taller cups hold more water!
It's never too early to begin reading, and board books for babies are a durable buy. While you read aloud, your baby is picking up language skills. Stimulate your child's imagination even more by changing your voice pitch, singing and making funny noises.
Buy baby developmental toys that help your little one's all-round growth. In the process, you may rediscover your inner child!