There are toys and then there are safe toys. Toys and fun should go together, but that is only possible if the toys are safe and age-appropriate. Age appropriate also means appropriate for the child’s stage of development. Toys are meant to be fun, but they should also keep children’s interest and challenge them to develop and expand new abilities. In other words,newborn toys are quite different from toys for a toddler.
Of course, some toys are adaptable. Mom can read baby books out loud or sing softly to music designed for young children. Newborns learn to recognize sounds while listening to the soothing voice of a mother or father. Parents can read about dinosaurs, bath time or brothers or sisters. As the baby grows to toddler stage, the young child learns to turn book pages, point out colors and identify pictures.
Keeping Children Safe and Sound
Toys and fun are two words that go together naturally. However, so do the words toys and safe. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) gives good advice to parents looking for the ideal toys for children. They recommend that toys for small children should be:
* High quality, meaning they do not have splinters or will not pinch or poke children and will not easily fall apart
* Will not shatter
* Painted with lead-free or nontoxic paint
* Able to be easily cleaned
Safe toys for newborns include plush toys that are machine washable and have no parts that can come loose and become a choking hazard. The ideal toys are soft and huggable. Older children like coloring pads or paint sets that teach colors. Safe sets include crayons and paints contain that are non-toxic, just in case an older infant or toddler decides to “taste” the toy.
Doing Double Duty
Toys that grow with the child are the most fun. For example, a colorful wooden train can be pulled by a crawling baby or a walking toddler. Stacking blocks always enthrall children who have to see how high they can build a tower. Children can sit and stack or stand and stack. There are many toys like these that will keep a child’s attention for many months. Great toys are toys that grow with the child.
Toys can be “cool” too, like large corrugated blocks or architectural wooden blocks. A skip and hop floor surface promotes physical development as children learn to jump from one geometric figure to another. Clearly, toys and fun go together, but so do toys and learning.
Help Children Learn as Fast as They Want to Learn
It is important to buy safe and quality toys for infants to toddlers. Toys play a much more important role than just providing fun. Brightly colored toys promote development of physical abilities and mental capacities. Children are like sieves, soaking up new experiences as quickly as you provide them.
It is up to you to give them the opportunities they need to advance. Quality toys and fun times are exactly what a child needs to happily develop.