Best Toys for Childhood Development
The best toys for childhood development are toys that your child will enjoy and play with. That somewhat begs the question about “best” but the sad truth is that if your child does not enjoy a plaything, he or she will not derive any benefit from it. With that said, there are some universal aspects of toys for various ages and stages of development, as well as some precautions.
Tried, true and tested by the ages a toy that is light weight and that can be shaken to make a noise is often a favorite of babies who are just beginning to grasp objects. The key with rattles, however, is to make certain that they are not going to break and spill out pieces that are small enough to go into a baby’s mouth. By the same token, natural wood finish is often a good choice, both for its durability and for its lack of toxic paint or similar substances.
An old Ozarkian custom held that if dried mole’s foot was placed on a necklace around a baby’s neck, the little one would have an easier time with teething. One suspects that the leathery item served as a teething device. More modern solutions include plastic toys with a soft rubbery surface, providing a soothing surface for a baby to chomp down on to sooth sensitive gums. Mayo Clinic advises against freezing teething rings, as the frozen substances can bruise baby’s gums. By the same token, teething rings with liquids are also discouraged because erupting teeth can break the surface, and the liquid can pose a choking hazard. Instead, refrigerate a regular teething ring so that it is cool but not cold.
Chunky Board Books
Babies love the sound of parental voices. Start reading to them early[/ctt_hbox] – it won’t matter whether they understand the content of what you are reading or not, the sound of your voice is what really counts. You will be amazed, however, how quickly your little one will begin observing the bright pictures. Chunky board books and cloth books are created to withstand the abuse given them by little hands that are just learning to manipulate objects.
Avoid putting large, fuzzy toys in a young child’s crib as they have been connected with SIDS. However, as your child grows a little older, and doll or other toy made of smooth cotton is less likely to become a problem. Studies done with infant monkeys indicate that cuddling is a need for babies of all sorts, and while your little one will probably prefer cuddling with you, cloth toys can help a child that is having separation anxiety or that is being introduced to childcare away from home can sometimes derive comfort from a companion that is stuffed with fiberfill. All parts of soft toys should be attached securely and the eyes and mouth should be embroidered on. Avoid buttons or googly eyes that can be bitten off and become a choking hazard.
Manipulation Boards or Toys
A set of devices that can be pulled, pushed, slid or otherwise manipulated by small hands. They become something that your child can control, a way to make things happen. When an item is moved, there is usually a noise or a observable result. This is feedback to your curious baby, allowing him or her to control a little part of the world. They are also a great place to introduce the mechanics of buttoning, zipping, turning knobs or moving hooks. Bells, whistles, and honks delight babies who are tuned in to sound.
Almost as soon as your child can sit up, he or she will be fascinated by stacking things up and knocking them over. A set of stacking blocks, which can be soft fabric cubes if you wish, that can be stacked up and knocked over can provide a few minutes to several hours of fun.
Things with Wheels
Wheels are the most fascinating things – justmake sure that they are too large to become a choking hazard. If they are attached to a seat that will allow the child to sit on it and propel it by pushing with feet, so much the better. Modern children see cars, trucks, and trains nearly every day. By providing them with smaller representations, they are able to enact what they see around them.
A Music Player or Musical Mobile
Music can be soothing and gentle, giving your baby something to think about and focus on at nap time. If you select a mobile that plays music, make sure that it is suspended high enough above the crib that your little one cannot pull it down on him or herself.
Walkers have gotten mixed reviews. They should be used with supervision, because even the wide-based newer models tend to tip over sometimes. Extreme caution should be used if your home has more than one level as a baby on wheels can be quite a speedy little creature once he or she gets the hang of how a walker works. Pediatricians have expressed concerns about walkers. Not only do they allow a baby to be far more mobile at an early age than might be a good idea, they have also expressed a concern that extensive use of walkers actually delays development. If you do get a walker, it is advised thatyou get one of the newer ones that are too wide to fit through a standard door, and to keep a closed door between your little one and stairs, toilet bowls, and swimming pools. Also be aware of other hazards, such as heaters, irons, electrical outlets and anything that has a cord.
Wet, Messy and Edible Fun
You can make a lot of fun things for your baby at home. Once your little one is old enough to eat soft food and to sit unassisted in a high chair, pudding paint is an amazing source of entertainment. The stuff squishes, has a smooth, finger-friendly texture, and can be swirled around on a high chair tray with ease. If some of it goes into the mouth, oh, well! No worries about Baby eating something toxic when the fun stuff is made from 100% edible ingredients.
Edible playdough is another fun amusement for toddlers, and even for preschool children.There are several varieties of “edible playdough” but for the sake of brevity, these will be limited to playdough that tastes good and can be eaten at the end of playtime.
- Peanut butter playdough is great – just be sure no one using it has a peanut allergy.
- Oatmeal Playdough – not too flavorful if it is plain, but also no nasty salt or baking soda taste if you take a bite.
- Mostly Hypoallergenic Playdough – no nuts, dairy or wheat in this mix. It is essentially frosting, however, so it is sticky and high calorie.
- Almost Marzipan Almond Butter Playdough – cut back on the calories and enjoy the flavor and nutrition of tree nuts with this recipe.
Nature’s Best Jungle Gym
Babies first and possibly best toys are hands – mom’s and dad’s hands, grandparents hands, sibling hands and even their own fingers and toes. When youngsters begin to be more mobile, climbing over older family members provides affection, muscle challenges, memory games and much more. You can spend a lot of money on toys, but human interaction is the very best developmental toy possible for human babies.
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