Playing is important to children. It is the way they practice growing up. Toys are the tools children use in play. Toys can be purchased, or they may be as simple as kitchen pan lids or paper sack puppets. Anything children can play with safely can be a toy. In fact, you may have watched infants open presents and noticed that they spent more time playing with the ribbon and wrapping than with the toy inside.
Try to remember two or three of your favorite toys. Were they ones you created yourself or ones someone made for you?
Toys can be divided into several groups, depending on the part of the child it helps to develop.
- Toys for physical or muscle development such as wagons, bikes, boxes, puzzles, blocks, brooms, and shovels.
- Toys for sensory (touch, sight, sound, taste, smell) development such as water toys, musical instruments, bubbles, play dough, and sand toys.
- Toys for make-believe and social development such as dolls, dress-up clothes, cars, trucks, games, and books.
- Toys for creative and intellectual development such as clay, crayons, paints, books, paper, and scissors.
Looking for some easy imagination playtime activities for your busybody toddler your cabinets, toy box, or recycling bin for some new "toys" and supplies for playtime. All of these activities use basic household items to stimulate and entertain your tot for hours!
Pretend Grocery Store
You don't need to buy a bunch of plastic play food to enjoy a game of "pretend grocery store ‘ with your preschooler. Just stock your imaginary store with recycled mini cereal boxes and other empty food containers , and give your child a paper shopping bag or a basket with handles to go about her shopping.
Have some old clothes lying around? Play this dress-up game! All you need are two suitcases or bags filled with dress-up clothes. Teams or even just a parent and a preschooler can face off, racing each other to try on the funniest outfit, including one of each item of clothing (don't forget a silly hat!).
If you have even more leftover party balloons sitting around, check out these quick games and activities. In Balloon Magic, children get a sense of gravity and static electricity by playing with balloons. In Flashlight Fun, children can explore shining colorful spots of light on the ceiling and mixing different colored spots to make new colors.
Infants And Educational Toys
Infants need bright-colored toys of many textures. They should be washable, non-breakable, and have no sharp edges that might cut or scratch. Toys should be large enough so they cannot be swallowed and they should have no small attached pieces (like eyes on a stuffed animal or bells on a shaker) that could be pulled off and swallowed. At this age, babies put everything into their mouths as part of exploring their worlds. Any toy they are given must be safe when used in this way.
Infants are interested in looking at toys, touching them with their hands and mouth, fitting pieces of things together and making sense of their worlds. Choose toys for them to look at, feel, chew on, hold, and drop. As infants begin to walk or crawl, they also will be interested in push-pull toys and balls. Appropriate infants toys include: rattles, squeak toys, blocks, crib mobiles, stacking toys and rings, push-pull toys, stuffed animals or dolls, nested boxes or cups, books with rhymes, simple picture books, noise making toys, small soft toys for throwing, strings of beads (large, plastic), and music-making toys.
How you can help
1. Be understanding when you play with infants. Play with them for short periods of time so they will not get overly excited. Babies do not understand or enjoy teasing. For example, when they reach for a toy, let them get it instead of dangling it then snatching it away. Teasing frustrates babies and may make them cry.
2. Play "pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo" and simple games with infants.
3. Let babies play with your fingers and hair.
TODDLERS pretend play creative educational toys play house play tent tunnel child puppet theaters day care center AND EDUCATIONAL TOYS
Toddlers are active and enjoy climbing, running, and jumping. They need toys to meet these needs. They also are interested in doing things with their hands as the small muscles in their fingers become more developed. However, toys for this age group should be simple and require little coordination. During this period, toddlers become interested in playing with others and in imitating grown-up activities. Toys like dress-up clothes are great for this!
As a caregiver, be careful about imposing sex stereotypes on toddlers' toy choices. Boys will sometimes show interest in dolls or want to be "the mommy." Girls may want trucks or to be "Superman." That is okay. This exploration is normal and necessary for them to learn about the world.
Toddlers also are interested in sensory materials such as paint, play dough, crayons, and chalk. They usually are not interested in drawing or painting a specific object. They like to scribble and mix colors. When talking to young children about their creations, it is better to say "Tell me about your picture," rather than "What is it?"
Toddler's still put toys in their mouths, so you will need to watch for objects with small parts. Also, watch out for items, such as paint and chalk, as toddlers think it is great fun to eat these! Toys should be sturdy and should not have sharp edges or points. Toddlers enjoy balloons, but caregivers should be careful to keep uninflated or broken balloons out of reach. A child could suffocate if these are swallowed.
Appropriate Toddler Toys
- push-pull toys
- pedal toys
- truck/cars big enough to ride
- balls and bean bags
- balloons (with close supervision) swings
- climbing structures
- books with simple stories
- peg boards
- creative materials (crayons, playdough, paint)
- water play toys
- simple dress-up clothes
- dolls and stuffed animals
How you can help
1. Play pretend games with children. For example, create a traffic jam with the toy cars they use. Make believe you are animals like kittens, dogs, or horses.
2. Play tag, bounce, or catch with balls or bean bags.
3. Play follow-the-leader or design a toddler-size obstacle course.
4. Let children imitate your activities such as sweeping the floor.