One of the primary functions of growing up is the development of physical, cognitive and emotional skills, the healthy development of which is critical to growing to become a healthy and well functioning adult. It is therefore very important to provide children every opportunity to further their development and to facilitate the most healthy, nurturing and stable environment to that end as they grow.
A varied playing environment enriched with shapes, colors and toys is indispensable for the healthy development of kids. Play is the main learning mechanism with the help of which children explore and process the world around them, and playing with toys is the primary method through which growing children learn and develop physically, intellectually and emotionally as well: motor skills, creativity, imagination, problem solving, tactile, visual and auditory skills, and hand-to-eye coordination can be all successfully enhanced and developed with the help of the right toys.
In what follows, we will present a brief outline of the exact benefits toys can have on the development of your kids.
Toys have immense potential for developing fine and large motor skills alike. Pull and push toys develop muscle strength in the arms and the legs; toys the kids can ride on are great to improve balance skills, strength and coordination – but you must pay attention to security issues as well. Pedal-driven toys like tricycles are best from the age of 3 and on, while younger kids can make the most of wide and low vehicles. Ride ons are some of the best selling kids toys because they offer so much for both parents and kids.
Action toys like inflatable slides or tunnels are also excellent for developing your child’s muscles and coordination skills, but you can use simpler toys like colorful boxes to help your child strengthen the right muscles at an age when getting up from the floor seems like an incredible challenge. The ball is also a classic device when it comes to development toys: it can be used at all ages and the range of possible ball games is very wide.
Games that promote role playing and building enhance not only your kid’s creativity and imagination, but also his or her dexterity and problem solving skills. Both types of toys can be used for group play, so the children’s social skills can be also developed with the help of these tools. Sorting and memory games or puzzles can be used from a very early stage, while toys that promote logical and strategic thinking, like different paths to be linked by observing certain rules, are excellent development toys from the age of 4 onwards.
Emotional Development and Social Skills
The toys and games that involve imitation can develop the expression and recognition of emotions. These toys can be used from a very early stage: dolls that sing and rattles can be used as communication tools from the age of 3 or 4 months onwards, to teach your baby how to recognize and express delight or frustration, while from the age of 19 months up, you can start using toys that encourage the imitation of adult actions. Mirrors also make great, versatile toys: when attached to the side of the crib, they can help the development of eye coordination, eye contact and attention, and they can even strengthen the muscles of the upper body.
Best Toys That Enrich Child Development
The list below is just a small sample of the many great toys available that education and stimulate fundamental developmental milestones.
For Babies and Toddlers:
- Baby Einstein Line
- Baby Activity Gyms
- Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Line
- Walkers with activity tables
- Activity boards with mirrors that attach to sides of the crib
- Vtech Discovery
- Musical Toys
- Playskool Rocktivity Line
- Playskool Poppin Line
- Playskool Sesame Street Line
- Crib Mobiles
- Alphabet Blocks
- Step 2 Pretend Kitchens
- Tunnels and Slides
- and many more
For Older Kids:
- Melissa & Doug See & Spell
- Alex Ready, Set, School Activity Box
- LeapFrog Leapster2 Tablets
- LeapFrog Scribble
- LeapPad Explorer Tablets
- Kid’s Book Readers
- Science Kits
- Legos and other building blocks
- and many more
Toys have great developmental benefits for kids of any age. Keep in mind that development occurs in stages so you must always choose the toys that are the most appropriate for the specific age of your child, and you must also look for quality toys made from safe and natural materials.
Melissa is a mom of three great kids who enjoys sharing her knowledge of the best toys for kids at all age levels.