This is a question that has puzzled me for some time. From having three children the only answer I can give is that all children are different. I have noticed that children respond as much to using everyday items as toys as much as the most expensive lusted over toys. However, there are certain toys which are really useful to have in your toy chest and in this post we look at some of those specifically considering babies.
Its interesting to read that the UK toy industry was valued at 3 billion pounds in 2014, the highest it had been in four years.
Toys are not only designed for fun, they can also help babies to learn in many different ways. They can stimulate the mind and senses, inspire happy emotions and teach them to share, as well as encouraging decision making when choosing which toy to play with.
Lets consider some of the most popular toys:
Building blocks are always popular and keep your baby busy, they are extremely beneficial for them too. They’re not just honing their gross and fine motor skills, but they’re also learning maths and problem solving at the same time. One study showed that preschoolers who were adept with blocks had higher math grades later in life, compared to those who didn’t. And what draws babies to them? Well, their function changes as a child develops, but baby blocks give a little one freedom to be creative – they can drop them, stack them, carry them, whatever they please.
Having a toy that encourages a baby to walk is understandably very important. The pull-along caterpillar can be dragged along when they take their first steps, so effectively it’s like having a friend who can take the journey with them. This makes the child feel comforted and gives them more confidence.
Sand and water
Sandpits and water tables are hugely helpful when it comes to learning, which is why so many nurseries and schools get them from places such as Hope Education. As well as getting fresh air and sunshine outdoors, children can learn to be creative by decorating sandcastles, solving problems with a waterway system, using magnets to find metal objects or changing the consistency of the sand by adding water, and more. Not only that, but it’s a fantastic way for youngsters to learn social skills as they work as part of a team.
A more modern approach to young learning comes from LeapFrog, who create educational digital toys. They have tablets, reading devices and more for various ages, with some targeted at different genders too. For babies, they have items such as the Animal Adventure Learning Table, which has 100 songs and activities using lights and sounds to teach them about shapes, colours and cause and effect.
It’s important for babies to learn with the use of toys, as it’s an essential part of their development. They can help both parents and teachers to understand the sorts of skills that can be learned with very basic implements – such as a sandpit – to more advanced options, such as those from LeapFrog. With new developments in the toy industry happening all the time, the positive impact on children’s learning is only going to become more pronounced.