6 to 12 Months: Your baby has much better control over arm and leg movement. By 9 to 10 months, your baby should be able to move around by some means- either pulling, crawling, or scooting. By 12 months they should be able to stand by themselves and many will even start walking. Educational toys including wooden blocks that baby can stack and knock down, throw, or bang together to make noise are good choices. By 12 months, educational wooden blocks can be used for early construction play to promote development of motor skills, cause and effect, sensory and visual stimulation. Educational toys like the Sensory Ball from Edushape, provides great stimulation with different textures. Once babies learn to sit up, they will enjoy rolling a ball and trying to catch it as you roll it back. Letting your baby chase the ball will encourage movement. Trying to figure out why a square block wont go through a round opening will help develop problem solving skills- though it may cause some frustration in the beginning. By the time your baby is 12 months, they will start to enjoy stacking activities, though they will need help in trying to get the right order. More interest in books will be noticeable now. Try to buy books that have pages with different textures and simple flaps. This will help to develop their sense of touch.
3 to 6 Months: During this stage your baby will gain better head control and have better movement of arms and legs. They generally grip onto anything they can get their hands on and put it directly into their mouth. Educational toys like rattles promote motor development and provide sensory stimulation. Since everything ends up in the mouth, educational toys that are chewable or soft plush are favorites. Babies need to experience different textures so vary the materials educational toys are made of. Activity centers provide lots of stimulation at this age. These educational toys normally have lots of buttons that produce sounds, lights, and give a variety of textures to explore. Hand-eye coordination will improve as babies explore the activity center. Parents are often on the move more with babies at this age. Activity bars that fit across a stroller, car seat, or bouncy chair that have dangling, squeaky toys and mirrors keep baby stimulated while on the move. Motor skills develop as baby reaches, hits, pulls, and kicks at the accessories on these educational toys.
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2 to 3 Years: Your toddlers motor skills are now well developed. They can run, jump, and climb. The area of explosive development in this stage is speech and language. Imaginative play becomes the focus for this age group. Educational toys that children use as props in pretend play help build language and communication skills. Great educational toy choices for this age include character toys, puppets, dolls, toy vehicles, and animal figures. These educational toys foster creativity and imagination by allowing your child to create wonderful adventures, model adult behavior, and role-play. Large piece puzzles are great educational toys for this age. Children at this age should be able to complete a 4 to 6 piece puzzle on their own. Puzzles are a great activity to build hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and fine motor skills.
Educational toys are fun for babies and provide another tool to stimulate learning and brain development in your infant. There are many ways to teach a child and tens of thousands of educational toys on the market to help parents in the endeavor. The challenge for parents, child care providers and educators is to choose from the vast array of educational toys available in a way that creates a balance of learning techniques, is age appropriate, and most of all fun. This article will provide basic facts about; how babies learn, types of educational toys available and examples of each.
1 to 2 years: With each step your baby becomes more independent and confident. Little ones at this age spend every waking hour exploring and experimenting. For those still a bit unsteady walking, educational toys that promote mobility such as a walker or push car are great choices. Pushcarts and wagons are a great way for children to tote things around- another favorite activity at this age. Educational toys including soft plush toys and dolls remain favorites at this age. Children often become very attached to one or two and use them in creative play. Toddlers can find many ways to make loud sounds. Musical instruments like drums, maracas, and tambourines are educational toys that will help them learn to appreciate music while they make noise. Inset puzzles require toddlers to lift out pieces and find the right places to put them back. These first puzzles improve problem skills and fine tune motor skills. Puzzles are educational toys that your children will play with over and over again.