Take a random toy - almost any toy, and give it to a child. We can ensure you that this will make him or her very happy.
When it comes to toys, kids don’t care about the size, material, or safety. All they care about is that they’ve got a new toy to play with. Despite this, as a parent, you should always be concerned about the safety of the toys you buy and give to your little ones. Because play is the “work” of childhood and good toys help kids learn new skills and practice relationships with others.
So, let’s pretend you walked into a toy shop, or you’re looking for a specific toy online. Because there are tons good looking and attractive toys available, you might find yourself in a middle of a very hard decision. And assuming you’re looking for a toy that does not only keep your child occupied, but also helps him/her develop some skills, the decision becomes even harder.
So, here comes the question: How to choose a safe and nice developing toy for your child? Let’s dive into some ideas for choosing toys that will grow with your children, challenge them, and nurture their thinking, physical, language, and social-emotional skills.
1. Look for simplicity
Not always the most innovative toys are the best ones for your kid. Toys that do too much don’t quite allow a child to use their imagination to the fullest. Cars and dolls that talk or sing, take from children’s imagination and become in charge of the play when the child should be the one directing it. "When a toy is too specific, it's limiting and it denies the child the ability to use her imagination," says Panaccione. Thus, if you want your child to develop their imagination and help him/her become creative and spontaneous, you should consider choosing the simplest ones.
2. Avoid electronic toys and video games
It’s no secret that nowadays electronic toys and video games are very popular among children. This is due to their cool features that allow kids to play multiple games from just a simple device. But, if taking a detailed look, you realize that electronic toys do more harm to your little one than you think. For instance, electronic toys pose several possible dangers for children's health and development, including hearing loss (from loud toys), weight gain (from being inactive while playing), and language and developmental delays. Thus, toys that don’t require a child to do something on his/her own can interfere with learning to think and act independently.
Therefore, consider getting toys that will naturally stimulate your children’s creativity, critical thinking, and imagination.
3. Choose toys that challenge
Besides being age-appropriate in terms of the development of the child, toys need to provide the right amount of challenge, so that they learn something when playing. Don’t look for something too hard for their specific age, but try to consider a toy that offers at least some amount of difficulty to challenge his/her skills.
If you strive to enrich your child's vocabulary, make his speech more reasonable and grammatically correct, train fine motor skills, and encourage the development of his sensory abilities and thinking, you should pay attention to this Wooden Tracing Board.
4. Seek out toys that encourage your child to be active
Trust us, you don’t want to spend money on a toy that is going to have your little one sit down and not do anything. Your job is to choose a toy that will encourage him/her to explore some new physical tricks and help your child practice current physical skills and develop new ones.
5. Give your child the chance to play with “real” stuff
Let’s face it, children love to play way more than study. Try looking for a toy that will allow your child to explore the depths of the unknown while learning through play. Through play and its many processes, children develop in so many ways. Gross and fine motor skills, language, personal awareness, problem-solving, critical, and creative thinking
Take a look at this full of fun and creative challenges Montessori Screw Driver Board that will keep your kids busy and just give them quiet time to focus on the natural learning activities. Due to its convenient size (7.7x3.3x1.4 inch) and lightweight structure, it can be easily handheld by children and fit perfectly in all environments, such as outdoor, homeschooling, kindergarten, or preschool group learning. It is also a great travel activity to entertain your kids during long car rides or airplane trips.
6. Look for durability Let’s face it: kids aren’t exactly gentle when it comes to playing with toys
While plastic is somewhat durable, the dyes and stickers used in many plastic toys often become faded or torn. So, consider getting wooden toys, which are extremely durable and can be refinished or repainted to look like new.
7. Safety matters the most
Because your child is going to have direct contact with toys, you need to make sure the toy is safe to play with. This is extremely important for children below the age of three who tend to put objects in their mouths. So, choose a toy that has no sharp or rough edges, is made out of non-toxic material, and does not break easily.
Whatever toy you might be looking for, always keep in mind that a toy is much more than a simple way to keep your kid occupied. It’s an educational tool that is going to help him/her grow and develop, so, make sure you do the right decision.