As Christmas quickly approaches, the lists for the best and worst toys of the season are being published all over the internet. Parents will surely be hitting the stores for the latest creations from the hit movie Frozen that are complete must-haves for their children. Sometimes in the chaos that is Christmas shopping, many are seeking the flashiest toy: the ones that are going to light up their kid’s faces come Christmas morning. While these toys are great as well, this Christmas, parents might want to try to pick up some of the best toys that aid in child development.
Blocks have been around for ages. Children who are two and under typically do not do much building, but their brains can still being stimulated by simple toys like blocks. Toddlers need toys that they can play with in a variety of ways, instead of the toy where they push a button and the same thing happens each time. Blocks provide just this. Toddlers can carry the blocks around, drop them and pile them. This is not only helping with fine motor skills, but also with the child’s learning about weight and balance.
By the time children are three they are beginning to want to make patterns, such as red blocks being stacked in one area, and blue in another. They are learning about colors and shapes as well. This is actually the beginning of how they look at math. Typically they will learn that by placing two small blocks side by side, a larger block is formed. Preschoolers will begin to make their own simple creations. They will start to learn about structure and organization, and how to fill spaces with the appropriately sized blocks. They are asking themselves questions and planning. They are also starting to learn problem-solving skills.
Most parents will say that stacking cups have at one point or another saved them from a very unpleasant afternoon spent with a grumpy, fussy kid. Cups are toys that can be played with multiple times in multiple ways, thus enhancing the child’s skills in a new way each time. They will build logical thinking and problem solving skills, motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They will also use their creativity and imagination. As they begin to stack the cups they are learning about balance, as well as understanding that the small cup goes in, or on top of the big cup. They are finding out that there is an order to things.
If water or sand is added, they will be able to learn the difference between empty and full. Older children will begin to learn about volume. As they shift the water or sand from cup to cup they are learning that one is heavier than the other. Even babies can get hooked on dumping and filling cups for hours at a time.
There are few people who are unable to look back on their childhoods without remembering a favorite stuffed animal or doll. Stuff animals are absolutely one of the best toys that aid in childhood development. They spark children’s imagination. Three-years-olds’ creativity comes to life and they are able to play make-believe. They may throw a party for their favorite bears all the while building their language and social skills.
The best toys that aid with child development are those that grow with the child. They can be played with over and over, each time in a new way that will be exciting and beneficial to the child. While every kid loves the toy that lights up and makes all kinds of noise (even though they pretty much drive family members insane), it is important to always have toys that will help children develop a set of skills that will aid them throughout their childhood.
By: Rebecca Savastio