You may feel like your house is overflowing with them, but we promise toys are playing an important role in your child’s development. Toys can offer your child more than just something fun to play with, they can also provide the opportunity to learn.
The power of play lets your little one develop their communication skills, creativity, cognitive and emotional development. Play helps nurture a child’s imagination and gives them the opportunity to independently explore their senses and develop their desire for adventure. Through this, they can learn skills such as problem solving, co-ordination, sharing with others and much more.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your little one now has the power to persuade you to buy them every new truck they see in the toy shop. It is more important to choose clever toys and the right ones to suit their stage of development.
We believe it’s never too early to teach them that learning can be fun, so we have rounded up our top toys that are proven to help your child’s development - and your little one will have a blast playing with them as well!
You may look at your newborn baby and think they can’t do much yet. But it’s a myth that babies can’t learn this early on, they may not be able to put together a puzzle or kick a ball around but they are still spending their days taking everything in and exploring all their new senses. Encourage sensory stimulation such as sound and sight with the help of rattles and activity mats.
Rattles are perfect for developing their palmar grasp reflex and dexterity. How many times has your little one reached out to painfully pull on your hair whilst you are cuddling them, or grasp thin air whilst they clench and unclench their little hand? By giving them a rattle or something to hold you will firstly, be saving your hair from being tugged, but you will also be developing their hand grip and arm muscles. See how they delight in learning the discovery that they have the power to shake a toy to create a noise.
Find their rhythm
As your little one grows the opportunities to enhance their learning development increases. Studies in fact show that introducing musical toys help children’s social and communication developments. Making music, instead of just listening to it, can help improve your child’s communicative gestures which may later help to develop their language skills.
P.S - Sorry for the headache inducing noise this one may create. It’s all for a good cause, we promise!
These toys are made for walking
If your little one has started to make the step towards walking, there are some toys that will help them with balance and muscle development. Toys such as the Little Bird Told Me push along toy will help give your little one some more stability and something to lean on as they walk around. These toys allow for your little one to explore their environment independently and speed up their walking progress.
If your little explorer is a bit more confident with walking they might love the idea of a pull along toy such as the Plan Toys Happy Puppy. Having a puppy companion following them around as they explore will keep them entertained for hours and encourage them to walk around more and more.
Problem solving toys
Problem solving skills are the way your baby will learn to understand success through trial and error. Choosing toys that give children a chance to figure something out on their own, or with a little help from mum and dad, help build their logical thinking skills and help them become master problem solvers.
Challenge your little one with problem solving toys such as puzzles and stacking toys. As well as helping develop problem solving, these will help build hand-eye coordination and boost cognitive skills such as spatial awareness. They also have a part to play in honing your little one’s memory and patience. As they play with the puzzle for example, they will develop the skills to remember what fits where and practice the art of patience to work through their initial confusion to complete the puzzle.
Children are naturally imaginative and will happily talk for hours on their pretend phone or try to cure their 'ill' teddy bear. This creative imagination should be encouraged, it helps develop their communication social skills and emotional development. Role play helps children learn how the world works by acting out situations before they happen and see life from a different viewpoint. Often they will replicate and copy what they have seen their parents or other adults doing in certain situations so they can ‘trial’ situations for themselves and learn how to react. So yes, we are sorry to tell you, it is probably you that they are imitating when they are talking on their pretend phone.
We have handpicked the perfect role play toys ideal for kick starting your little one’s imagination such as kitchens and doctor sets. Let them embrace being someone else for an afternoon and even join in on their teddy bear tea parties. Make learning fun together!
Make a splash
Bath time is also the perfect place for them to get involved in educational play time, water play will help you to introduce a splash of science and maths to bath time. Using water play to teach that water is fluid, not solid and that it can be measured in different sized containers is the perfect introduction to a tricky concept.
Bath toys are the perfect way to bring fun and learning into the bath time routine. Hands on play is the best way for them to get their heads around the science of water. Seeing for example that if you pour water from one container into a different shaped container, there is still the same amount of water. Without seeing it for themselves, most children would tell you the taller container holds more water. Take a look at our favourite bath toys to bring a little education to bath time.
Whilst reading a novel may be a bit far off for your little one yet, it is never too early to start showing them picture books and teaching them certain words to help their language development. As your little one starts developing their senses and experiencing textures, it is a good idea to aid these discoveries with material books. Material books often include varying textures for your little one to explore, such as crinkly paper, fluffy animals and mirrors perfect for touching and playing with. Books are the perfect way to learn and discover together as you help teach your little one discover the world of words and textures.
With these clever toys, children can learn a lot from playing. Your little ones favourite toy is secretly teaching them all kinds of important things about themselves, the world and people around them. So let play time begin!