As well as everything that surrounds your child in their early stages, the toys they have access to can play a very important role in their intellectual and emotional development. The following lists the toys that are best suited to your child’s development in their early years.
Traditional toys are anything children can hold and make use of themselves such as balls, play dough or toy cars, and the old tried-and-tested toys of past generations are generally more beneficial for their development than many modern toys. Electronic devices and junior ‘tablets’ that are often marketed to young children can aid their cognitive development in some ways, but they can also induce boredom in the long term and can sometimes account for irritability and stubbornness in children since most electronic toys encourage instant gratification.
In contrast, the ability to hold a toy gives children something to mould and create themselves, allowing them to explore something beyond a screen. Something as simple as a wooden abacus can provide children with a far better learning tool than an electronic button-bashing device. The movement and shape of the brightly-coloured abacus beads teaches kids about colours, shapes and numbers simultaneously. Similarly, playing with toy cars and toys with wheels encourages them to interact with something on their level and improve their own sense of movement.
Play sets such as play kitchens and shops provide a great learning platform for toddlers and young children since they allow kids to mimic adults. Engaging in role play in this way helps to improve their intellectual development and heightens motor skills.
The reason these are still a popular choice of gift for young children is not because it obeys a stereotype i.e. girls in a kitchen and boys in a tool shed etc, rather, it is because children are fascinated by basic implements and how they ‘interact’ with one another in every sense of the word. If you leave a child to play with a plastic tea set for example, they will love experimenting with the feel of the plastic objects such as bowls and spoons – discovering how they sound when clanged together, their individual texture and the act of transferring things like water, sand or other objects from one container to another. Before children can comprehend how things like cutlery and cups are used or why, they will first learn how to discover by touch, feel and sound to help them better understand the world around them.
As well as the toys and activities that occupy them in the day, children go through significant developmental changes at night in their sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in your child’s brain development, helping them to function to the best of their ability throughout the day so it’s essential that your child benefits from a long and comfortable night’s sleep to help them progress.