Best Educational Toys: Children Developing Through Play

 

Girl Playing With technology becoming more available and more advanced, it might be difficult for a new parent to decide which toys would be good for their child. Some opt for the high-tech toys that sing and dance and speak five different languages. While exposure to language is great, this type of toy can be too complex or overstimulating. Some opt for apps on phones or tablets. This can be beneficial for practicing flash cards, matching sounds to animals, or counting, but too much technology can potentially prevent the child from developing other areas of their brain. Some parents opt for the opposite: simplistic with minimal technology involved. This option may not expose the child to different languages, but it also will not overwhelm them. It can be difficult to decide the best educational toys children need, but with a little research, the choice becomes a lot easier.

Infant

The first year of life for a child is one of many motor skill developments. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and eventually walking all occur over this time-period. Other motor skills such as grasping and pinching also develop and mature. They begin recognizing shapes and colors, as well as responding to stimuli such as sound. With all these skills growing at an exponential rate, it is important to provide toys that will aid in their learning and development.

Baby PlayingSince infants and younger children tend to explore with their mouths, two of the most important things to make sure of when searching for suitable toys are that there are no harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing and that they are large enough not to pose a choking hazard risk. Once those are out of the way, a parent is left with a plethora of choices, some significantly more technological than others.

For this stage of life, the simpler the better. There is no need to get an infant a small computer that they’ll use for a few months and then never play with again. The best toys to get are simplistic in design and function, aid with hand-eye coordination, and have bright colors to capture attention. Even as the child gains mobility, these toys will still excite since they’ll be able to pick them up and carry them.

Now that the qualifications are laid out, what toys would be good for a growing infant, and where would a parent find them? Fatbraintoys.com is one such place. With options from sensory play to teething, there are options for every infant. A good start would be large items for the child to practice their grasping skills. There are several teether toys on this site that would be perfect, as well as safe for the child to put into their mouth.

Soft toys are also good because of the movable material. The child will have to improve their hand strength to be able to hold these items, yet they are perfectly safe to drop and won’t cause damage. As their motor skills grow a bit more, rolling and stacking toys enable them to work on coordination. Fatbraintoys.com has plenty of these to choose from: rolling wooden cars, stackable spools, and eggs that form a teetering tower are all wonderful choices that’ll help the child explore their range of motion.

Toddler

True to their title, toddlers are significantly more mobile and are getting into every possible thing that they can get their hands on. Child locks began hanging off cabinets like Christmas ornaments. Baby gates form blockades in halls and by stairs. Sockets are covered. Corners are padded. Parents are running around just trying to keep up with their little mobile munchkins.

Child Playing on the BeachWhile a bit unnerving, this stage of the child’s life can be extremely exciting as well. They’re starting to interact with the “adult” world more each day. This is an opportune time to provide them with some of the best educational toys. Children need stimulation to grow after all.

Like infants, toddlers put anything and everything in their mouths from balls to dog food, so it is pertinent to make sure the toys that they are surrounded by are safe.

Besides that, they’ll need toys that will keep up with them. They’ll be working on building all their muscles at this stage, so their toys need to be sturdy yet light so they’re able to move them. Continuing hand-eye coordination is also a good thing to focus on while shopping for the little one. Simple puzzles will help them learn problem-solving skills as well as the fine motor skills needed to fit the piece in the correct place. Along with that, soft books with one or two words per page would be beneficial to aid in developing language skills.

Fatbraintoys.com comes through with many amazing toys for toddlers. There are several puzzles available to help the child learn shapes, colors, and letters. Stackable toys and push along trollies are also options to choose from. There are even a couple of soft books for toddlers to either learn from or chew on.

If none of these seem appealing, a second site provides excellent educational and developmental toys as well: Mindware.com. Here, toys such as activity tables, pull along cars, and sensory balls of various sizes are available. Any of these toys would be great to help toddlers develop their muscles, expand their vocabulary, and continue improving the fine motor skills they began exploring in their first year.

Boy Playing in his RoomYoung Child

The specific age range of 4-6 years old holds a lot of personality development. This is where the child begins discovering what they like and dislike. Their play begins to change and become more creative as opposed to sensory. Yes, there is still sensory play occurring, but that alone will not encourage a child to continue developing. Their minds are beginning to pick up on social cues.

Copying parents, playing dress up, and playing house become more common. To continue encouraging young children to explore and learn, new stimulus must be introduced.

While less of a concern than the first few years of life, toys should still be monitored for choking hazards. With supervision, more advanced toys or toys with smaller parts can be introduced. Cues on what a child likes or dislikes should also be watched for as this developmental stage focuses more on who they are as an individual as opposed to basic motor skills.

Sometimes the child will outright tell you what they like while other times they simply gravitate toward a specific toy set they enjoy. A little bit of observation should reveal what toys would be best.

Finding toys that meet a child’s individual wants and needs can be tricky. Some children might continue to play with the stacking toys, rollers, and pull alongs while others might lose interest. Both websites offer a range of toys. Mindware focuses on the simplistic toys from the early stages which can encourage imagination play. Fatbraintoys, however, offers a range of some of the best educational toys children of this age need to really begin exploring the world around them.

Science kits that parents can help their child with, games and activities that can be played together, and racecar tracks that don’t require electricity or batteries all provide access to innumerable learning opportunities.

Girl Playing with a DollOlder Children

This final age range is possibly the easiest and most difficult to find toys for. At this stage, the child has begun developing their personal identity, likes, dislikes, and interests. Luckily, now that the child knows what they like, they can help pick out the toys. Watch what they point out at stores. Listen to what they ask for. This will make choosing educational toys significantly easier.

Family games and books also become a more available option as the child now has the cognitive ability to follow structured rules or self-entertain for an extended period of time. It truly depends on the personality of the child which toys would be best at this stage.

Fatbraintoys offers a wider selection than Mindware in this age range. Whether the child is creative or scientific, sporty or girly, Fatbraintoys has a little something for all of them. There are several science kits available to help the child learn chemical reactions, mechanics, or physics. These can easily be used in conjunction with lesson plans at school or just for fun!

Drawing books, charm kits, and stencils offer a creative outlet for budding artists or casual hobbyists. If anything, creating something will offer stress reduction and expand their imagination which can help development. Books and games offer hours of leisure or family bonding.

Buildable models enable children to follow instructions and witness the outcome of their hard work. There are many other amazing toys as well; it all depends on the child and what they enjoy. There is no limit to their imagination and, with a little help, their play can be beneficial to their development and learning as well.

 

Comments 2

  • Wow, what a great toy company, so many awesome toys for all ages! I’m trying to find a gift for a 6 year old and Fat Brain sure has a nice selection of toys. Can you tell me if these toys are made in the u.s. as i can’t trust a lot of things that come from china. thanks

    • They sell both toys created and manufactured by themselves and toys from all over the world. And although they do not only sell toys from the USA, due to their strict policy they can ensure the safety of the children of their customers.

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