How to choose a toy based on your child’s stage

Apart from being safe, good toys for our children also need to match their stages of development and unique abilities. Many appropriate and safe play materials are readily found at home, while the majority of educational toys in Australia are available online or at leading stores and shopping centers. Below are some suggestions on how to choose a toy based on your child’s stage.

As we list the suggested toys for children of different ages below, keep in mind that each child has a different pace of development. Items on a list, as long as they’re safe, can also be good choices for children who are younger or older than the suggested stage.

Young infants and babies. Babies like to look at people (everything, actually) – following with eyes. Usually, they want faces and bright colors. They can reach and get fascinated by what their hands and feet can do.

Suggested toys for young infants:

  • Things that can be reached, sucked on, shaken, and those that make noise. Includes squeeze toys, soft dolls, teething toys, textured balls, board books, etc.
  • Things to listen to like books with poems and nursery rhymes, as well as recordings of simple songs and lullabies.
  • Things to look at like pictures and unbreakable mirrors.

Toddlers. Toddlers are capable of learning rapidly whether it’s cognitive or physical functions. They’re now learning the language and have some sense of danger. They do a lot of testing: climbing, jumping from heights, hanging their arms, rolling, etc. They also have better hand-eye coordination and their fingers like doing things with small objects. This is also the age when they form attachments to some toys, Jellycat soft toys are perfect for this as they make great comforters.

Suggested toys for toddlers:

  • Things for solving problems like wood puzzles and things with hooks, buckles, buttons, and snaps.
  • Things for building and pretending like transportation toys, child-sized playsets (kitchen, doctor’s bag) dolls, dress-up clothes, puppets, etc.
  • Things to create with like crayons and markers (non-toxic), paint brushes, scissors with blunt tips, and lots of paper!
  • Picture books with more details.
  • Things for using their small muscles like balls, tunnels, low climbers with soft material underneath, and hammering and pounding toys.

Preschoolers and kindergarteners. Kids at this stage have longer attention span than toddlers. Generally, they talk a lot and ask a lot of (most silly) questions. They love experimenting with things and using their still-emerging physical capabilities. They enjoy playing with friends but hate losing. However, sharing toys at this age is often possible.

Suggested toys for to preschoolers and kindergarteners:

  • Things for solving problems like puzzles with more complicated pieces, blocks that snap together, a collection of bottle caps, lids, keys, counting bears, shells, etc. used for scrapbooking.
  • Things for building and pretending like blocks for building complex structures, construction sets, transportation toys, child-sized furniture, etc.
  • Learning materials from CD or DVD with a variety of music and video (Disney, Nickelodeon) always monitor what they’re watching and set watching hours.
  • Things for physical activities like balls, ride-on equipment like tricycles, tunnels, taller climbers, wagons and wheelbarrows, workbenches.
  • If you have a home computer: give them access to programs that have interactive features. Teach children to control the software’s pace and path, and give them the opportunity to explore a variety of concepts on several levels.

You should make it a point to purchase children appropriate toys for different stages to maximize fun, creativity and learning while lessening risk or needless toys. Before heading out to buy, check out an online catalog of educational toys in Australia, so you have an idea of what you’ll look for and allow you to choose a toy that is suitable (this saves a lot of time too ) – and hey, you can also just buy it online and have it delivered to you!