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Choosing toys for babies, how to get the right toy for the right age.



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.