I wrote this in one of the Facebook parenting groups I am in and thought it might help one of my readers.
Let’s talk toys for a while.
How many of us buy toys for our babies? What informs the choice of what toys to buy? And most important of all, what are toys for?
I’ve been reading a bit online and found some info I’d like to share. We live in a society where buying kids toys is perceived to be a luxury. Which should not be the case.
Toys do not have to be expensive and could be anything that a child plays with safely. Toys help with physical and muscle development (bikes, blocks and puzzles), sensory development ( e.g bubbles), social development (e.g dolls) and creative and intellectual development (e.g crayons, paints and clay).
Each of these types of toys assist the child in each stage of development. There is also a reason the toys are age designated in the packaging.
Infants should have colorful soft toys with no sharp edges or parts that are easily detachable. Rattles, stacking rings, push pull toys and balls are great. These you can get in toys shops or even Toi where they are sold at great prices. Beanbags like we used to make in school are great too. You can also let infants feel textures of your hair, your clothes, leaves and even your fingers. It’s all about the sensory experience at this stage. Toi and text book centre also have some small books that have textured pictures that are great for this stage.
As the kids grows older, you can get puzzle boards or book, nursery rhyme videos, action songs (Hal Palmer has a great series) and blocks. Toddlers need to exercise their muscles. Kick a ball with them, bikes, wagons, big cardboard boxes can be a house or castle 😊 let them play with your plastic bowls and pretend to be cooking.
Toddlers still put toys in their mouth so ensure toys are washable and have no small parts or sharp edges. They love balloons, climbing, running and jumping, hence a lot of time spent outdoors.
Toys encourage children to use their imagination, gain self confidence. When they accomplish assembling blocks or blowing bubbles they feel great and worthwhile. Commend them when they do do and play with them on their level. Toys also help our kids make friends as they learn to share and solve problems together by playing puzzles or building blocks.
As you choose what toys to buy or make for your child, ask yourself is it safe? Is it age appropriate? Does it captures the child’s interest? Is it attractive? Can the child play with it alone? What skills is it improving in the child? What kind of activities does it encourage? keeping in mind some play will need more energy than others.
Mums. Let us switch off those cartoons and play with our kids on their level. Rummage through your wardrobe and play dress up with our little ones, kick a ball with them, cook with them. For the infants, let them feel different textures, even if it’s touching different fruits and vegetables, see different colors.
Kids love simple play. It does not have to cost anything to have fun with our children as they explore the world around them.
Have a lovely play filled weekend.