Significance of Classic toys and the appropriate ages.
Choosing the best toys for children of different ages is one of the most important jobs of a parent; and matching toys to children’s age, ability, interests, and developmental goals requires careful thought and planning.
Even though children have different abilities and preferences, there are some classic toys that most groups of young children enjoy at different ages.
The following ideas is to help you get started in choosing toys for different age groups. Remember that these lists are just a starting point and not a definitive list of only toys children should have:
When your baby develops new motor skills, they become more coordinated and can handle complex toys and games.
4 Months: babies begin to reach for and grasp objects, like a rattle.
6 Months: the rattle can be transferred between hands.
12 Months: the developed pincer grasp makes it easier for babies to pick up smaller objects and to shake the rattle.
18 Months: By this age, the child is banging away and might not be as interested in the rattle as the early months.
2 Years: the interest in the rattle is faded and the child would have moved on to other age-appropriate toys available to him.
Safety Tip: Ensure there are no removable parts in the rattle and it’s strong enough that it can’t be broken by the child. The tiny balls in the rattle can be a choking hazard. So be careful.
Child Fact: The rattle has an engaging (almost hypnotic) effect on a child of 0-12 months. The different colors will hold the child’s attention for a long while.
For little kids, playing is everything – fun, yes, but it is also very vital for their growth. It is how they explore the world and learn to do things – crawl, talk, walk, build, sing, draw, and make friends. Have you noticed that the toys that seem to capture your baby’s attention over and over again are often the most basic ones, like wooden blocks and balls? Classic toys are more versatile because they don’t ask for a specific response from a child, like electronic ones do – a kid can play with them in whatever way he pleases. Toys like this grow with your child.
What can you expect your child to do with these toy-chest favorites as he develops from a baby to a full-blown toddler?
6 Months: Your baby will stare intently at the ball. He will also enjoy grasping and feeling it, so go for one with interesting textures like nubs or tags.
12 Months: He can sit on the floor and roll the ball back and forth with you. He might even be able to throw it, although without much aim or purpose.
18 Months: Welcome to the little, little League! Your mini Mantle is a more adept – and forceful – overhand thrower and enjoys flinging the ball to you.
2 Years: He has refined his pitch and now starts to kick and dribble a ball with his feet. Thanks to their low center of gravity, toddlers are naturals at basic soccer play.
3 Years: Finally, your sports guy is able to catch a large ball. Some toddlers might be able to kick a ball toward a defined goal.
Safety Tip: Those super-bouncy rubber balls are a delight – but not for young kids who might pop them into their mouth. Any ball small enough to fit through a toilet-paper roll poses a choking hazard.
Child Fact: By 18 months, your child will be able to recognize a ball in the real world and in a book, pointing to it and maybe even saying “ba!”
- WOODEN BLOCKS
6 Months: Babies love gnawing on blocks, but they may also swat at or even hold one.
12 Months: He discovers he can make noise by banging two blocks together. He will also have a blast knocking over any architectural masterpiece you construct.
18 Months: Let the stacking begin! Your toddler can balance two or three blocks on top of each other.
2 Years: His structures are taller, and his coordination is better. He can competently stack four to seven blocks. He can also sort blocks into piles by color and may even pretend that a block is something else, like a car or a boat.
3 Years: More building fun – your little one now creates structures that resemble real-world landmarks such as castles, bridges and robot.
Safety Tip: The best wooden blocks are made of hard wood like maple or beech, so they won’t chip, dent, or splinter. But make sure you supervise your child’s block play so he doesn’t wield them like weapons.
Child Fact: Research shows that children spend more time exploring objects and focusing on complex tasks when playing with a parent than when playing alone – so grab a block, Mom!
6 Months: Babies are too young to play with crayons, they will chew it. Crayons can cause choking hazard.
12 Months: Your toddler can hold a large crayon with her pincer grip and doodle.
18 Months: When he sees you drawing, he will imitate you.
2 Years: Your child takes pleasure in sitting down with a pad of paper to doodle on her own.
3 Years: Her artistic talents begin to take off! She can copy a circle, a cross, and a square and draw a “person” with one or more body parts. By 3, she knows three or four colors and may have started copying capital letters.
Safety Tip: Buy crayons from a big-name brand to ensure that they are made solely from nontoxic ingredients like paraffin.
Child Fact: Break crayons in half to encourage young children to learn how to properly hold a pencil later on.
- STUFFED ANIMAL
6 Months: It’s all about exploring texture right now, so your baby fondles and chews his plush buddies.
12 Months: Your toddler carries his special toy around and cuddles with it. By this age, some children get very attached to their stuffed friend and may want it by their side come bedtime.
18 Months: He will moo, oink, quack, and make various animal sounds in reference to the toy.
2 Years: Your preschooler may engage in basic pretend play, like taking Doggy for a walk or feeding Teddy.
3 Years: Your child begins by creating unique, fanciful worlds in which Teddy becomes a dinosaur and cooking set can be to make lunch for everyone.
Safety Tip: Teddy bears and their type can carry dust mites and other allergens that could trigger breathing difficulties or skin irritation. To avoid problems, wash Mr. Fluffy regularly and let it dry thoroughly.
Child Fact: Some kids lose interest in stuffed animals by age 2, preferring toys that don’t just sit there, but move.
- SIMPLE PUZZLE
6 Months: Babies enjoy transferring puzzle pieces from one hand to the other and mouthing them like a cracker.
12 Months: At this age, kids have fun turning the puzzle board over to dump the pieces all over the floor. They can also use their pincer grip to take pieces out by pulling up on the knobs.
18 Months: With your assistance, a toddler can put large puzzle pieces into their corresponding spots.
2 Years: Your little one will complete basic puzzles – the type in which you put vegetable- or animal-shaped pieces into the appropriate holes. He can also put together a simple three-piece puzzle.
3 Years: His problem-solving skills improve, so he is more involved with puzzles and can put together a basic picture of up to eight interlocking pieces.
Safety Tip: Regularly check that the pegs on pieces are securely fastened, as they pose a choking hazard if they come off. Make sure that the puzzles themselves are non-toxic.
Child Fact: Some kids could happily spend an entire afternoon piecing together puzzles, whereas others find it about as stimulating as the phone book. This has nothing to do with intelligence but depends on temperament and energy level. It’s a good reminder to let your kid play with what interests him.
- TOY INSTRUMENT
6 Months: If you have a toy drum around, your baby will have fun patting it, albeit without much sense of purpose.
12 Months: He will begin banging on anything that brings out sound – a drum, a xylophone, or pots and pans.
18 Months: Your toddler likes to clap along to music, but don’t expect him to have a refined sense of rhythm. He will also get a kick out of hitting together rhythm sticks or shaking a tambourine.
2 Years: Tinkle the piano keys, strum air guitar, or beat a drum – your little bandmate can imitate you more precisely as you play different instruments.
3 Years: If your child is musically inclined, he will enjoy blowing into rudimentary wind instruments such as a whistle or flute.
Safety Tip: Make sure any instrument you purchase is coated in nontoxic paint – chances are your little Mozart might experiment by using his mouth, even on a drum or piano.
Child Fact: Research suggests that early piano lessons are connected to refined spatial skills, which are key for math and geometry.
When it comes to toys that educate as well as entertain, not all are created equal. Any toy, no matter how basic should help kids understand the world, learn social and emotional skills, and stimulate a developing brain.
Remember, kids use their five senses to learn about the interesting new world around them and using age-appropriate toys should be fun, stimulating and safe. They should be thought of as developmental learning tools.
So Moms, get your child started on the right path to developmentally excellence with the age-appropriate toy.