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.
How do you ensure that the educational toy you buy will be right for your child? As with everything there are no guarantees with children. There are a couple of things to consider when selecting childrens educational toys that can improve the chances that your choice will be well received. First, evaluate the developmental stage that your child is at. Select educational toys that target skills and abilities for that stage. An educational toy that is too advanced may cause frustration, and one that is too simple will not be challenging enough to warrant attention. Below is a general guideline for what types of childrens educational toys are better suited for developmental stages from newborn through 3 years old. This is only meant to be a guide to start you thinking in the right direction. Use these guidelines and your knowledge of your childs interests to you help make your educational toy purchases.
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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.
How Babies Learn It is quite surprising the rate at which babies learn and develop. Learning begins in the womb and continues throughout childhood. In early life how a child learns centers largely around the relationship with the parents. At least until the child starts preschool, the job of stimulating and satisfying babys desire to learn falls primarily to the parents. While babies respond to their parents voice there are many other sounds they find interesting. When parents are choosing educational toys for babies they should look for toys that have sound, colors that are bright and contrasted like red, black and white, and have interesting textures that babies like to touch.
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.