Selecting The Right Toys

Weed­ing through the market of expensive new gadgets, gimmicks and toys for children is a challenge. You have to question whether each toy you choose meets your child’s needs at his (or her) age and stage of development. Play is how children learn. They master skills such as learning to manipulate objects and how to interact with others. Because play is fun, it makes children want to learn more and more. All children develop at their own rates and the toys you choose can help them.

12 to 23 Months

Children at this stage like to explore. Their increasing co-ordination and mobility encourage curiosity. They are able to identify simple words. Cause-and-effect toys delight these active toddlers. Toys include shape sorters, push and pull toys, dolls, simple
puzzles, hammer/ pounding sets, basic ride on toys, and sandbox/water toys. Before you buy, ask yourself:

  • Do push toys have a protective knob over the handles?
  • Do pull toys have short, tangle- resistant cords?
  • Do water/sandbox toys include sifters, pourers, fill-and-dump containers and shovels?
  • Are puzzles sturdy and do they include simple pictures?
  • Are ride-on toys simple, stable and without pedals?
  • Are dolls basic, soft and washable?

Two-Year Olds

Children at this stage investigate the world through movement, touch, taste and smell. They like to become involved and take part in the world around them; that’s why imaginative play is so important. Toys at this age include dolls, construction toys, puzzles, sandboxes, dressup costumes, musical instruments, finger paints, modelling dough, magnetic letters, climbing apparatus (playground, monkey bars, ladders) and rhythmical equipment (rocking chairs/horses). Toys that allow a child to make-believe are especially valuable. Before you buy, ask yourself:

  • Is climbing apparatus well balanced? Are parts smoothly finished so they won’t cut a child?
  • Are swing seats lightweight? Do they have protective seat belts or bars?
  • Are sandboxes large enough to accommodate more than one child? Do the sandboxes have covers to keep away neighbourhood cats?
  • Are blocks, pegboards and beads large and colourful?
  • Are paints non-toxic?
  • Are push and pull toys smooth, well rounded and washable?
  • Are throwing toys soft enough for small hands?
  • Can dolls and stuffed toys be washed?
  • Are puzzles simple, colourful and durable?
  • Are music players or recorders electrical or battery operated? Are buttons within easy reach?

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