Buying toys for children can be a difficult task, because the number of options available in every store is astounding. You will need to find an item that will not only make the child happy, but will be safe and educational. There are some important considerations that need to be taken into account if you want to purchase a toy that meets these requirements.
Learn the Child’s Interests
Every child is unique, and you will hardly be able to find a toy that the kid will truly love if you don’t know anything about them. It’s easier for parents to choose perfect gifts, so you will need to talk to them first.
If you have an opportunity to do so, have a chat with the child about the things they like. Children are usually very open about their interests, so you will be able to glean enough information to pick a toy that will be really appreciated.
Different Age Groups: Ideas
The main consideration to make when choosing toys is a child’s age. Here are some ideas that can help you pick a wonderful gift for any child:
Infants: 0-6 months
- At this age, children learn through their eyes. Thus, you should focus on brightly colored toys that are big enough to prevent swallowing, but are of an appropriate size for an infant to hold in their tiny hands. Something that gets the child interested enough to reach out for the object will be a very good choice. Musical toys with bright lights will also get the infant’s interest.
- Shakers and toys that kids can suck are the best option for a gift. Teething toys, rattlers, board books, textured balls and soft dolls will also be a good choice. If you want a more family oriented toy, you can pick books that sing poems or nursery rhymes. These items will allow both children and parents to enjoy playing time.
Older infants: 7-12 months
- The older they get, the more children move. This means that you should look for toys that will enable them to practice this vital skill. Plastic and wood vehicles will be a good choice. You also should look into toys that allow pulling something out of an object or putting something in. Balls and dolls for children of this age should be bigger. This will help them develop their muscles.
- Building blocks are another good option, especially the ones with printed pictures on them. This toy will allow the child to improve the accuracy of their movements and start studying letters and words.
Babies: 1 year old
- One year olds can walk, so their toys should be much more advanced. Their cognitive abilities are also higher, so they will appreciate storybooks.
- It’s also important to provide children of this age with an opportunity to learn that they can play with other kids. The best gifts for them will be: toy phones, computers, dolls and simple doll houses. These toys will help children develop both physically and emotionally by emulating the adults around them.
- At this age children should also be encouraged to create, so non-toxic paints and crayons will be a smart choice. You also can help the kids to develop their cognitive abilities through puzzles.
Toddlers: 2 years old
- When children grow older, they start developing a sense of danger, but they still want to explore the world through testing everything they come across. All the toys designed for toddlers must be instilled with appropriate safety measures.
- Wood puzzles and games based on sorting objects of different shapes and colors will be a good choice for growing children. You can also advance to construction sets, doll houses, and other “pretend” toys that will help the child to build a world of their own and see how it works. Throwing and kicking balls will allow kids to grow some muscle. If you have an opportunity to do so, you should provide a child with a play room equipped with climbing stairs, tunnels, ropes, etc.
Preschoolers: 3-6 years old
- As children at this age have much longer attention spans, their toys can be more complex. It will be the best time to introduce some games that develop their cognitive abilities and motor function. Something that will provide a chance to compete will also be a smart choice, especially for the occasions when groups of children who don’t know each other get together.
- The best toys for this age are construction sets, machines and vehicles models, dolls. Child-sized furniture and pottery will do well for pretend games, as well as various “professional” toy sets. Puppet theaters and modeling clay will also get children interested.
Some toys are specifically designed to help children develop their cognitive abilities and teach them some important things about the world around them. Educational toys are a must have for every family. However, you will need to choose them wisely, because a child will not be able to make the most of these items if they aren’t age appropriate.
As all children are curious, you will need to look for interesting toys that appease this curiosity. You also need to understand that even if a child is interested in some new popular toy, it may not be the best choice to buy this item.
Every toy must have a purpose, and promoting a popular cartoon isn’t something you should look for when buying gifts to a kid. Your aim is to teach the children something, and toys are tools that can be used to achieve this goal. Therefore, quality of the materials and educational value of the toy are the most important factors that you need to consider.
Things to Avoid at All Costs
No matter what age the child is, there are some things you will need to look out for. Not all toy manufacturers are reliable, and some of them may endanger the kids with their products. To be sure that your child is safe, you will need to check the following:
- All toys should be sturdy. This will ensure that kids cannot break them and accidentally hurt themselves.
- Toys shouldn’t have any tiny details that can be swallowed. The complexity of toys that children can be allowed to play with grows with age, but you still should look out for tiny particles and sharp edges.
- Any toy should be inflammable and non-toxic. Many of them are made of plastic, so it’s very important to purchase only high quality items.
- Do not allow children to play with toys that have strings and ropes without adult supervision. These toys should only be given to kids over six years of age.
- Regardless of the type of the toy, it must be easy to clean and sanitize when necessary.
- Toys that emit noises are acceptable, but the quality of the sound must be good and the volume must be moderate and controlled. Otherwise, an item like this can damage your child’s hearing.
- Avoid toys that promote violence as well as racial and national bigotry.
Children learn about the ways of the world from the people who surround them and the toys they play with. This means that you can control the emotional, psychological and physical development of your child by choosing the right toys.