Educational toys are designed to encourage healthy cognitive and physical development as they stimulate little ones to explore their world and interact with caregivers and other children. The best developmental toys are created to help children develop specific skills, such as gross and fine motor control, problem-solving, sorting, and numbers. It is important to choose educational toys that are appropriate for your child’s developmental stage – most toys are marked with an age range to help parents select the ones that are most suitable for their baby’s or toddler’s skill level. Here are some hints to help you decide which toys are best for your child’s age group:
Young infants respond best to toys with contrasting colors such as black and white and to objects with faces. By 3 months of age, toys with bright colors, lights, and sounds are stimulating for your baby; dangling toys such as colored rings are particularly appropriate. By 4 months, babies typically begin to reach for toys, so objects that they can grasp are perfect for this age. By 6 months, babies often begin to play independently, especially when they are able to sit on their own. Toy phones, stacking cups, and other similar toys will encourage your baby to explore and play.
Babies who can get around on their own are ready for more independent play. At this age, pull toys, stacking and sorting objects, board books, and toys with buttons that produce lights and sounds are the most appropriate; these help your baby to develop fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities.
Between 12 and 18 months, young toddlers begin to think in more complex ways and experiment with their environment. Throwing balls to see what will happen is typical at this age; encourage your little one to experiment and develop problem solving skills with toys like puzzles, shape sorters, and reality-based toys like train or construction sets.
By this age, most babies are walking easily and getting into everything! Your toddler will love to play with manipulative toys, musical instruments, and role-playing games. Toy vehicles and objects that teach shapes, colors, and phonics are a good choice for this age range.
By now, your toddler is growing into a “big kid” and will be ready for more sophisticated play. Dress-up, puppets, dolls, role-playing, musical games, and active toys such as tricycles and swings are perfect, as well as finger paints, crayons and chalk.
Where to find the best educational toys for babies and toddlers
A Kid Place offers a fantastic selection of award-winning educational toys for children. One of our favorites is the Anatex Deluxe Mini Play Cube, which encourages sorting, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. Visit us and check out our huge variety of fun educational toys for kids of all ages.