From newborn to toddler in a heartbeat. Children develop at a tremendous pace from first smiles, to crawling, walking and then off to school. So whether you have a peaceful newborn or a busy rambunctious toddler, toys are a key part of their development and making the right choice is a difficult road to navigate.
When considering those toy purchases there are some key factors to think about:-
- Stage of development:
Toys have to be suitable for both the age of the child and the stage of development. It’s no good buying a toy meant for a three year old but the intended recipient is only 6 weeks.
Toys can vary in price hugely, depending on where they are being purchased from and the brand of the toy. If you are going to make a significant financial investment in a toy, ensure that it will continue to grow with the child and not be thrown on a shelf when the child becomes too old to play with it in a few weeks time.
Toys that stand the perils of being played with by little people all day are the best investment. Toys that are well made out of durable materials such as plastic (as a parent I am trying to limit the amount of plastic toys that we purchase in order to be more environmentally friendly), wooden toys are fantastic and the feel of a natural material for children is exciting.
in my opinion the best toys you can buy are the ones that children continue to play with, well after the suggested age range has come and gone.
- Intended use:
Is the toy intended to be used in the child’s own home or is intended to be able to be a mobile entertainment tool. You would then need to consider the toys size, ease of transportation, space the toy takes up when set up and any mess that can be contained.
- Multi use toys:
These are the toys that come with multiple different activities, such as musical instruments, shape sorter, number recognition all on one toy. These are usually the best value for money and have the longest life span.
Now that you have a few points to consider, here are a few of our best development toys for each stage of development from newborn to toddler and beyond.
My first soft book collection
From birth +
These soft books are perfect for newborns to Toddlers. These first books teach children different textures by feel, they also encourage first reading and comprehension. They come in a variety of vibrant colours that encourage children to engage with these toys.
These books have multiple themes all in one package, so no need for searching for lots of different ones. The themes are sea world, animal world,number, vegetable, fruit, vehicle, shapes, nature, visual training, expressions and colours.
Perfect for baby shower gift or first birthday
Vtech Baby Play and Learn Activity Table
6 months- 3 years
A toy that is engaging for children from birth to toddlers. It introduces age appropriate curriculum in a fun way that children don’t realise they are learning.
Each different area provides the opportunity to learn and practice skills such as independent play, role play, fine and gross motor skills. It introduces number and colour recognition, fun songs and early phrases for children to learn. There are animals to learn and music notes.
With removable legs it offers children the opportunity to stand and play or for the younger ones to sit and enjoy this vibrant and educational toy.
This is a great example of a best buy educational toy as it has won the Practical Pre-School Silver Award in 2014.
Melissa and Doug wooden building block set
36 months +
This wooden block set includes 100 durable blocks in 4 vibrant colours and 9 different shapes. It’s an oldie but a goodie providing hours of educational fun for many different ages and stages of development.
This set is designed to stimulate children’s creativity and imagination. It also introduces early shape recognition, colours and counting. Children are
developing their gross and fine motor skills without being aware of it and while still having fun.
An important skill children need to learn is resilience and these blocks are the perfect example of how to do this, by experiment with building towers, knocking them over and re building!
The blocks are made from durable wood that is lightweight and safe for children. The rounded edges and smooth surfaces ensure that they are free from splintering.Although the age group that these are recommended for is 3-8 years, these are a fantastic toy for children from 6 months to adults.
Galt Toys Cotton Reels
36 months +
A set of 20 brightly coloured cotton reels in 4 primary colours. This set is great for encouraging fine motor skills, introducing mathematical and positional language. Ideal for fine tuning those fine motor skills while threading and stacking the reels. These activities also encourage hand and eye coordination and improves manual dexterity.
They are made from tough, durable plastic that will last many years even with excessive play.
The recommended age is 3-5 years but are suitable from around 6 months if simply used for stacking games. This is a toy that will grow and develop with your child until they are of school age.