Fun playtime is one of the most important gifts that any parent can give to their child, and this playtime should start from as early an age as possible. A play is an integral part of a child’s development and will help them to build social skills, develop emotional strength, and will also form an important part of their physical growth.
But what toys should you be encouraging your child to play with? And what important lessons will they learn from their favourite toys?
Baby’s First Teddy Bear
Cute baby soft toys are the first toys that most babies experience, and these provide the first step in learning about the world around them. They allow babies to explore texture, to compare the way different things feel, and to build an emotional attachment to meaningful possessions. Exploration is at the heart of the play, and most babies will begin to explore the world around them from a surprisingly early age whilst they are still lying in their cots with only their favourite soft toys for company. Larger soft toys can be useful for infants that are learning to grab at toys, and experimenting with the impact that their own movements can have on the world.
Moving on from those first precious baby soft toys, there are other toys that all babies should have access to in order to aid their development. From the ages of 4-10 months, object play is very important for babies and this is when your infant will need access to its first formalised toys. Building blocks, a drum and stacking cups are all great options for babies that are learning the important skills of touching, banging, throwing and pushing things over.
Embracing Imaginative Play
As your child approaches their first birthday, their interest in imaginative play will begin to develop. This is when you will begin to see your child’s unique personality developing, and you can have fun shopping for toys that suit their individual set of interests. For the baby that loves copying daddy in the garden, for example, a toy lawnmower they can push would make a great gift. Toy hair brushes, doctor’s sets and kitchens will all also come into their own at this stage. Dolls will also become an important learning and development tool, particularly if you are welcoming a new addition to your family.
Without toys, it would be impossible for your baby to learn and develop in this way. Whilst you do not have to have toys in order to enjoy playtime with your child, toys can certainly enhance the play and provide a useful tool for your child to enjoy and explore the universe that exists outside of their relationship with you.
Get down on the floor with your child, let them choose the direction of your play, and ensure that they have access to toys that are educational and age-appropriate in order to really make most of the playtime and give them the best possible start in life.