BUYING THE RIGHT TOYS FOR YOUR CHILD
22 March 2016
There will be periods in your child’s life where their favourite toy might certainly be the cardboard box that housed your new washing machine or the pot collection from your kitchen cupboard. It’s great to encourage your child’s imagination and introduce play with a range of safe household objects as they grow, however stimulating your child’s sight, touch and hearing right from birth is vitally important.
The first year in your baby’s life is all about discovery as they develop their senses and learn how to interact with the world around them. Toys that concentrate on these areas and use bright colours, sounds, textures and are easy to grasp are excellent choices. Newborns have limited sight for the first few weeks, with vision only extending to approximately 30cm away. Toys with high contrast or black and white patterns will be most effective in capturing your infant’s attention.
Our little cars
Photograph by Kidsii
Toys are designed to be fun, but it pays to keep safety in mind when considering the toys you give to your child at the different stages in their life. Always look for the age recommendations on the packaging for a start. Many toys have pointy corners or small parts, which can be potential choking hazards and are not suitable for smaller children. Another thing to think about is cords or ties. Longer cords can form loops, which are also potential choking hazards. Cot mobiles can be an example of this, and should always be kept out of reach of your child. If your toy plays music, ensure the speaker is not placed too closely to your baby’s sensitive ears, and always do a general check of the state of the toy. Toys in good condition are less likely to break or cause any kind of injury.
“Toys develop the minds of our young ones”
Soft toys, spinning toys, toys for teething and toys for learning. Some parents feel like their houses become a giant toy box, but many toys have very specific purposes. Here are just a few:
Kids love our balls
Photograph by Kidsii
Rattles | Rattles stimulate your child by responding to movement with noise. Rattles are great for children who are able to grasp, hold and move an object, although Keeko has a wrist rattle version for younger babies that straps to the arm.
Teethers | Teethers offer a reprieve to sore gums, allowing your baby to chew and apply pressure relief to sensitive areas. Teethers can be water filled or feature chewable plastic parts perfect for biting on and come in a range of shapes and sizes – some even double as jewellery for Mums! Look for varieties you can put in the fridge for cold relief such as the Keeko Icy Bite Ring Teether.
Mirrors | Babies are drawn to faces. In fact at a young age round objects simulating the shape of a face are very attractive to young eyes. Baby mirrors can be a fantastic object to aid in self-discovery and will fascinate your baby as they watch their own reflection.
Playmats | Tummy time…that’s what playmats are all about! Encouraging your child to enjoy this developmental position, which will eventually lead to pushing up and crawling is vital. Playmats can make this time fun and engaging, with many varieties offering music, toys and even movement. Playmats offer a space for your baby to lie and play, providing a natural barrier around them (great if you have pets!)
Plush Animals / Blankets | Children can become attached to a particular toy, and soft toys or blankets are often the prime candidates for such affections. Soft toys can be great to help your child have a sense of security, and are also good for promoting a bedtime routine.
Musical Toys | Right from in the womb, music can help develop nerve cells in the brain. It is no wonder that toys featuring music are great for development. There are a range of baby instruments available such as xylophones and maracas, which are brightly coloured and encourage your child to make their own music. More electronic musical toys can also offer hours of fun such as the Chime Garden, offering sweet sounds when your baby touches a flower and different musical modes.
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