Do you still remember your first or favorite toy as a child? Did you notice the shift in your interests? Now, as you’ve grown, you might have a child of your own who you want to give gifts to, or care for another young person. And you’re thinking of buying them toys, but what kind? Surely, you want something they can enjoy and learn from. That’s why you’re here looking for ways to choose an educational toy, right? You’ve come to the right place.
Factors to Consider when Buying Age-appropriate Educational Toys
First thing’s first, here are the general factors you need to consider when buying age-appropriate educational toys. Next, I’ll give you a guide on what toys to buy depending on the child’s age.
Always read the label. This will give you information regarding how to clean the toy, how to use it and what age it’s recommended to be used. Don’t forget to demonstrate to the child how a particular toy is played.
Err on the safer side and pick toys that are bigger than the child, or at least big enough that they can’t swallow it. The reason is because you want to avoid any incidents involving choking, especially since children are prone to put things in their mouths.
Projectile or Fixed
Avoid giving children toys with projectile mechanisms or parts. They can cause eye injuries to the children themselves or others.
Opt for toys that are made with quality. This ensures that no piece falls off that the child can swallow or use to harm himself, herself or others. This will also ensure that the toys last through play and cleaning.
It’s important to choose toys that are made with child-friendly and non-toxic materials. This is to avoid contamination or poisoning, especially since children tend to put the toys in their mouths. So be conscientious of the quality of materials used to make the toy.
Toys for Your Kids Based on Their Age
Different toys are going to be much more, or less, beneficial for your children depending on their age. You don’t typically buy the same baby toy for your 8 year old, that you would for your 8 month old.
At 0 to 12 months, the baby’s senses are just starting to develop further outside of the womb. The baby can’t see or hear as well as he or she would in the near future. So, the first factor you have to consider is how well-developed their eyesight and senses are. Babies can’t appreciate toys that need much interaction, so you start with the simple ones first. Give them something with bright, complimentary and contrasting colors. This will engage their sight to the colors more than to the form, which they probably can’t discern so much yet. Give them something that rattles. Small toys that are easily cleaned will be your top bets. You may also give them small plush, stuffed toys.
These toddlers are finally acquiring new motor skills and are excited to observe the basics of cause and effect. They are not ready for more interactive toys, but those that light up when a certain button is pushed, or those that move or produce music will surely make their day. At this point, you can gift them a wider range of toys, from a set of drums, hammering sets or small and sturdy musical instruments like tambourines and maracas. They will also enjoy shape sorters and puzzles. You definitely have more choices now.
Children become more purposeful at this stage. They are now developing their motor skills to the next level, and have begun developing a certain amount of logic. This translates to enjoying completing puzzles on their own. Young boys may start playing toy trucks, and young girls may start to feed their own dolls. These toddlers are learning to imitate the actions of older people around them. Encourage their imagination by giving them props for make-believes, dolls, stuffed animals, toy trucks, and more musical instruments.
These children have developed tremendously. Some of the milestones you may notice are:
- Speaking Clearly
- Learning Complex Sentences
- Correctly Naming At Least 4 Colors
- Recognizing Letters
- Writing Their Names
- Following Commands
This stage is when educational toys really help boost their physical and mental aptitudes. You can now try giving them art materials, phonic boards, and minicomputers. You can give them electronic phonic toys, construction sets and dress-up clothes.
At this age, children are able to appreciate logic and arts better. They will be capable of writing and drawing with a better precision, move to the beat of music, learn how to ride bikes and can even start to enjoy learning swimming strokes. They are now learning to develop their own interest, so educational toys should help them discern these things and develop their fortes. At this age, they also begin to enjoy socializing and identifying with the same gender. So the toys they should be given must allow socialization such as cards and board games. You may give them remote-control cars, craft kits, and computer and video games as well.
8 Years and Above
Their reading and writing skills become more sophisticated at this age. These children will continue developing more complex language skills. They also have an increased need for independence, and desire to be more intelligent and knowledgeable. These are the years where children like exploring the outdoors, and where they develop their sense of adventure. You may give them outdoor sporting equipment, more elaborate science kits, board games such as scrabble and monopoly; and more advanced computer and video games.