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How to Choose the Perfect Baby Toy for Different Ages
Choosing Baby Toys
Play has been called the 'work of childhood'. Toys are the tools for this work, helping to develop independence, encourage sharing, stimulate development and creativity.
Our knowledge of how babies learn has been shared to a greater extent between manufacturers and parents. There are a number of toy brands available today that have turned to psychologists to help develop better toys for children.
And of course testing with children is important to most toy companies today. So how do you as a parent or perhaps a friend or a member of the family choose the perfect toy?
You've already started well by reading this!
Do your homework
Have you any experience of children and babies at all? If not then seek guidance from parents that you know.
Ask your neighbours what success they've had with particular toys for different age groups. Search the internet to see what the best selling toys are for boys and girls.
Has the toy passed a safety standard?
It's really important to make sure that whatever baby toy you choose it has passed the appropriate safety standard. In Europe it should have the mark CE on it. If it doesn't have the mark on it, forget it. You don't want to risk the safety of a baby.
Do your own safety checks
Carry out more checks of your own. Think about the age of the baby and whether it is likely that baby will be biting hard because they are teething.
Look out for toys that might break into pieces in a child’s mouth. Avoid anything that has lengths of cord or string more than a couple of inches long.
Think ages and stages of development of your toddler
It can be tempting to buy your one year old a toy for an 18 month old. It's generally better to match a baby's age with the developmental age of the toy as baby will learn more. Younger children will be fast developing their motor skills and children over one will be into problem solving and more physical toys.
Consider the toy’s lifespan
When looking at a potential toy for your baby, think about its uses. Can the baby toy be used in different ways to keep baby interested over a longer lifespan or is it one that can be handed on to someone else within a few months of purchase?
Some toys evolve through three stages to keep baby interested when lying flat, sitting up and standing up.
Read information about the toy first
When buying a baby toy read about the toy and understand what it's for. Babies go through many developmental stages and you want to make sure that the skills baby will learn from the toy are appropriate to his age.
Don't buy toys for you
Even though you think that a baby toy is fantastic, research it. You might think a groovy play den is the best thing ever but your six month old might prefer his play mat.
Babies love play mats because they appeal to their sense of discovery and exploration of the world around them. Remember that baby came into a world that was alien and they're learning about their world. Play mats with strong defining edges play a big part in giving baby a sense of their own space and their own world. Playmats tend to have hooped rings above that have hanging creatures – this also helps define baby's world as the real thing is just too big for them to take in.
It's important to recognise that a toy may look particularly strange to you but it has been designed to appeal to a youngster. It is likely that toys for younger babies will have strong contrasting colours, faces, teething rings, lots of lights and music and maybe some jiggery bits.
Toddlers will find more fun in shape sorters, pop-up puzzles, ride ons and lift and learn puzzles.
Three year olds will want to play more with physical toys, role play in play houses and draw and paint.
If you can think about baby's world in simplistic terms you are already on the right road to choosing the perfect toy.
Different Baby Toys for Different Babies
Your baby will be growing now at the fastest rate. For the next two years you will see significant changes in the way baby reacts to you and interacts with others. There are lots of toys available today at all price ranges to help your toddler discover his world.
Make sure you select a baby toy that is suitable for your baby's stage of development and do not assume that because your friend's baby loved a particular toy, yours will.
Toy buying on the internet is a fantastic way of researching and purchasing toys that are right for you and your baby. If you do want to check something out go and see it in a shop first then order online for the best deal.
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