Toys might be appealing to many parents even if the one they pick has no particular influence on their child’s development. It is important that we choose toys according to the age of the child. In general, child of different ages prefers different type of toys. Although there are toys that are always favorites and present at all ages, such as a ball, a doll, dice and books.
Each period in a child’s development is characterized by a certain form of the game which, of course, restricts the choice of toys.
Toys for Babies Up to a Year
At an early age, from birth to 8 months of age, generally only one form of the game is present- a functional game. This is a game that enhances motor, perceptual and sensory skills and consists mainly of multiple repetition of actions and the involvement of senses.
Toys For Children up to Three Years
In the period from 12 to 18 months of age the games become more complex because the child has mastered the function of walking upright and its motor skills have developed. At this age the baby is discovering himself and the world around him, so choosing toys that help him with this task will be the most appropriate option. A child can be offered toys that are pulled or pushed (cars, trucks, shopping carts etc.), large beads that can be strung together and inserted in a box, plastic bottles and so on.
This period represents the beginnings of symbolic, imaginative or imitating games. Therefore, children should be provided with objects – toys that resemble real objects or living beings they represent. So, slowly the child’s needs and desires for new and more complex toys are growing. Playing with things that help him to distinguish colors or textures will also be really appropriate.
Three Years Of Age
A third year old child walks, runs, climbs and talks a lot. It has a lot of energy and a small amount of attention. This is the perfect period to ride a tricycle, to use drawing tools (wax crayons, water colors, pencils, colored chalk), shape clay into simple objects etc. Each new situation for the child is a research, the child begins to combine items to build a “tower”, “bridge”, “train”, or “gate,” and therefore it should be provided sufficient structural materials – various types of cubes with holes etc. At this age, symbolic games get real momentum.
The child in the game creates a “dramatic story” in which symbolic objects appear (if there is no appropriate toy, the child will designate an object that he needs). Role-playing game, which is a novelty and has a special significance for the socio-emotional development of the child, becomes crucial. Therefore, the toys that are attractive to children are home furnishings, a master tool, medical supplies and the like.
Toys that are good are safe, durable, appealing, easy to handle, and come with detailed and easy-to-understand instructions. They must be pedagogically sound, not convey bad values (sexism, racism, violence, etc. ), allow the child to be the protagonist of the game, and, most importantly, be fun, engaging, and desirable to the kids.
How do you pick out toys for your child? Which toy has become his/her favorite?