If you delve a little bit deeper into the benefit of children's educational toys rather than just being fun, entertaining and a means to keep them occupied you will find 4 main categories. I will break these categories down for you and explain why it’s so important to invest in a real mix of toys for your child’s physical and mental development and learning.
Toys for physical development
These are toys that will aid your child’s muscular development, co-ordination and strength. The types of toys that fall within this category are:
- Ride-on toys - Kids love ride on toys, there is no doubt about it, they get their little legs moving and their blood pumping and learn co-ordination whilst gaining the important benefit of exercise. Ride on toys are a must when it comes to kids development.
- Trikes and bikes - Again these are great for exercise and keeping your little ones fit and active. All of the benefits of ride on toys apply to bikes and trikes.
- Blocks - Building blocks or other wooden stacking toys are a tried and tested favourite for kids and it is an activity that both parents and children can enjoy together teaching teamwork and patients.
- Cars - Cars are a favourite with the boys, wooden toys like cars and trucks will last for ages and keep your children entertained for just as long.
- Kitchens - Kitchens are another favourite. The interaction and planning kids do when using a toy kitchen is extremely beneficial for not only their physical development but their critical thinking skills as well.
Educational Toys for Intellectual or Cognitive Development
These kind of toys will help stimulate your infants brain and teach them creativity and problem solving. Toys in this range include:
- Puzzles for kids will really get them thinking and problem solving. Puzzles can be introduced to your child or baby at the very early stages of development.
- Play-Doh or clay - Creativity and play-doh go hand in hand. It is impossible to play with play-doh and not be creative in some way.
- Children’s books - Reading to your children and or baby should begin as early as possible and will have a tremendous effect on your child's cognitive development.
- Pencils and crayons - Like play-dou pencils and crayons are hard to use without some sort of creativity. being able to choose different colours and create something unique is important for kids right throughout their development.
- Paper - Paper is one of the simplest toys you can give to your kids, they can scrunch it, throw it and fold it. What they do with paper is limited only to their imagination.
- Games - Games will encourage kids to think ahead, it is a built in desire for humans to want to win and teaching kids games where they are challenged both physically and mentally will help them to develop.
- Doll houses - Doll Houses and doll house games are interactive and fun. Little girls love being in control and replicating what their parents do around the house. this kind of toy will teach them independence and planning.
Sensory Development Toys
These kinds of educational toys relating to touch, sight, smell and sound will appeal to your child’s senses and activate a child's curiosity and their mind to try new things. It is extremely important that a child has stimulation for all of the senses. Toys that will help your child reach their full potential are:
- Musical instruments - one of the most popular children's educational toys is are musical instruments. Sensory development for touch sight and sound are all gained form musical instruments for kids.
- Blowing Bubbles - A cheap and easy piece of fun that can also be extremely helpful in infant development. Kids can chase them, pop them and watch them fly off, all actions that will help with sensory development.
- Sand Toys - Who didn't have a bucket and spade when they were young. These toddler toys will get kids using touch and sight to be creative. Building and digging help them to learn to plan ahead.
- Rattles - A great sensory development game to play is hide and seek with a rattle, you hide with the rattle and use it to make noise while your children look for you, it teaches them spatial development and gives them the ability to pinpoint sound coming from different areas.
- Water Toys - Squirting and pouring with water toys is great for some great water toys have cogs and moving parts which teach kids cause and effect.
- Wooden Toys - The texture of wooden baby toys will keep babies occupied for a long time when they first experience it. Wooden toys are also save and fun.
- Pop up toys - Not just for scaring but also to teach children to pre-empt certain actions. Pop up toys are an old time favourite.
Social development toys
Have you ever wondered why girls play with dolls and boys play with cars and trucks. There is a notion that the presence of a particular level of male hormones in development influences the behaviour of boys including the types of toys they play with.
- Dolls are great for teaching kids how to interact and share with one another. They also teach kids skills like being gentle and caring. they are not always seen as educational toys but the opposite is true.
- Dress up clothes - Creativity at its best, kids can run wild and they learn to accept other people’s decisions and take them for who they are not what they look like. Melissa and Doug do great dress up costumes and other games and puzzles.
- Educational Games allow kids to interact with each other on many levels, games can be physical or mental.
- Kids Puzzles can be done with parents or friends and kids love them, floor puzzles or word puzzles it doesn't matter they will all aid in social development when done with a partner.
- Books are a great social development tool when kids start to read having them read back to you and to other kids will speed up their learning and show them how to help others.
A balanced mix of the toys listed above will keep your child occupied, happy and will help to ensure they are growing well physically and intellectually. Keeping your child stimulated both mentally and physically is no easy job, toys will help.