Before you set out to find the perfect toy for your child, you must understand that the best toy for the child is sitting right at home. That’s you! Yes, you are your child’s most interesting and nurturing toy in the whole wide world. But there are times when you can’t be with him/her full time. That’s when the other toys come in. But these should be reserved for play only when you can’t be around to play with your child.
Toys and games for newborn and babies:
You are your child’s best toy and playmate at this stage. She enjoys watching your face, movements, expressions and enjoys feeling your loving touch. Since babies at this age aren’t mobile yet, their eyes and ears are their window to the world. So make sure you talk to your baby as you move around the room. Get closer to the baby as often as possible as newborns can’t focus beyond 30 cms in the first few days of their life.
Babies at this age also love contrasting colors. So, getting colourful soft toys are a very good idea. They also love listening to sounds around them. Introduce them to music through musical mobile tunes or a baby rattle.
Once the baby learns how to reach for toys, you could get some interesting Knicks and knacks from around the house itself. Colorful paper and cloth books are a great option too!
Toys and games for preschoolers and toddlers:
Children at this age have started walking so pull-along toys are a great investment. To nurture the love of books, introduce soft cloth books with lots of images. Your child is also learning cause and effect so a wonderful game to play is peek-a-boo. Other options include a jack-in-the-box.
Provide plenty of outdoor play opportunities like a visit to the sandpit.
Your toddler will love playing with colors at this stage. Although they can’t hold a crayon yet, you could get toxin free finger paint and set them up on a play mat lined with newspapers. Sit back and watch as your toddler feels the gooey paint through her fingers and makes pretty art work on the paper.
Safe fun with water at this stage is an instant hit. If the weather is warm you could set up a paddle pool. In cold climes, stick to bath times for fun with water. Get lots of colourful squeezy toys and throw them in the bath tub with your child.
*Note: Never leave a child unattended near any water body, no matter how shallow.
Toys and games for school-age children:
Your child is completely capable of telling you which toys he/she finds interesting. You can use that as a guide while choosing toys.
Most children at this stage are keen on the latest technology toys. In today’s day and age it is not possible to completely exclude these types of games. Choose them wisely and weed out anything with violence in it. Limit screen time from early on.
Also popular at this age are construction sets, board games and art and craft toys. For outdoor play, you must invest in a safe bicycle. Other options include roller skates, skipping ropes and cricket.
Spending time playing with your children still rules the roost, even at this stage. So make sure that toys are not a substitute for quality time they could have spent with you.