Educational Toys for Children – Why So Important?
Did you know that from the moment your new-born baby first opens their eyes, they’re learning? Even from an early age, your child is aware of their surroundings and is raring to flex their mental muscles!
The brain develops at an astonishing rate, and roughly triples in size from birth to three years of age. As a result, young children are endlessly curious, using their five senses to make connections, develop understanding and learn about the world around them.
Educational toys for children provide the ideal opportunity to engage in meaningful learning. However, it’s important to select the right learning toys for your child, in order to offer them the right mix of fun and educational opportunity.
The Best Educational Toys for Children of All Ages: Making Learning Fun!
There’s a bewildering selection of toys for children available online. If you want to invest in some great educational toys and games for your child, here’s a helpful guide to help you make an informed selection.
Learning Toys for Babies: 0 to 12 Months
They may look like they’re not doing much, but babies are learning at an incredible rate. They’re alert to everything around them; the textures of the cushion they’re leaning against, the sound of their parents’ voices, even the smell of lunch floating from the kitchen! As a result, the best toys for babies are often sensory. They’re bright, noisy, textural and designed to encourage your baby to actively explore using their eyes, fingers, nose and mouth.
Great learning toys for babies include:
- Musical toys – Toys such as rattles, cage bells and shape shakers are an easy way for your child to learn hand-to-eye co-ordination while making a noise.
- Sensory toys – Play mats with things to feel, sensory balls and baby-gyms are ideal for encouraging your baby to reach, stretch and touch.
- Baby puzzles – Obviously, at this early age, puzzles need to be simple, such as basic shape-sorters. These help your baby to make basic connections and start solving simple spatial problems.
Educational Toys for Toddlers: 1 To 2 Years
Once your toddler is on their feet, their scope for exploring the world is considerably larger, and they are constantly learning how to do new things. They may be learning to talk, and will be focused on mastering motor skills, by using building blocks, stringing large beads, using hammer tools, and playing with shape sorters and play dough.
Toddlers find great inspiration from toys such as:
- Block sets – Building with blocks not only encourages motor skills, but also helps children to explore imaginatively.
- Creative play – Simple play sets, fancy dress up costumes and toy cars help your toddler to learn more about the world they live in, and to get creative!
- Filling, pouring, and stacking and sorting toys – These types of toys help encourage toddlers to experiment and develop their fine motor skills, through shape sorting, stacking blocks and threading large beads of different sizes, shapes and colors.
The Best Toys for 3 to 4 Year Olds
At preschool age, it’s all about developing independence and letting them explore more proactively. Their social skills are now progressing, and they’ll start to form meaningful friendships. They’re also endlessly interested in the world around them! Your preschooler will be able to engage in much more imaginative play; using cookware playsets, dolls and puppets to create their own worlds. They have rich imaginations, and take great pleasure in exploring, climbing and discovering.
Great educational toys for 3 to 4 year olds include:
- Art-based toys – It’s likely your 3 to 4 year old will have developed good coordination now, and will be able to create paintings, drawing and basic sculptures. Encourage them with plenty of artistic materials, or even their own art center.
- Cars, dolls houses and play kitchens – At this age, children love to engage in imaginative play. It’s a great way for them to gain understanding about the world around them, and develop insight into human relationships.
- Books and games – 3 to 4 year olds may start to learn to recognize letters and short words, and will be able to play games with simple rules.
Educational Toys for Kids Aged From 5 to 6 Years
Once your kid starts going to school, it’s remarkable how swiftly they begin to learn. At the start of the school year, they might just be able to write their own name, know their ABC, and be familiar with some basic numbers. By the end of the year, they’re likely to be able to scribble down entire pages of content. They’ll learn to read basic books, do simple sums and interact meaningfully with those around them. Although your child is learning at school, it’s still important to extend their education at home, to help them develop at a rate that suits them.
Great toys include:
- Musical instruments – Now is the ideal time to start encouraging kids to learn how to play a musical instrument, such as a piano or guitar. This is a great chance to help develop hand-to-eye coordination, but also helps them to identify tunes, repeated musical motifs and how to use creative expression.
- Outdoor play toys – You may notice that your child suddenly seems to have even more energy than before! Help them to use it productively with outdoor toys, such as slides, play houses, tunnels and tents.
- Building toys and marble runs – Encourage kids to develop motor skills, spatial awareness, and basic math and physics knowledge, with toys such as building blocks, building sets and marble runs.
Toys That Help 7 to 8 Year Old Kids to Learn
At the age of 7 to 8, kids take a considerable developmental leap, and are able to engage in much more complex play. However, while you may want to encourage this with board games and puzzles, craft activities, and science and nature toys, don’t forget that they need to stay active too! Children in this age group will also show rapid development in thinking and learning skills.
Great educational toys for 7 to 8 year old kids are:
- Board games – Choose some exciting themed board games to help them learn how to follow instructions, understand increasingly complicated concepts and of course, how to play fair!
- Math toys – Look out for toys that help your child to develop their math skills, such as Multiplication Slam, which helps children practice their multiplication against the clock.
- Exploring nature – At this age, it’s a great opportunity to develop their interest in the world around them. A mineral and gemstone collection develops interest about geology, alternatively, get them a nature spotter’s kit and take them out to your local woodland or beach.
Educational Toys for 9 to 10 Year Olds
The ‘tweens’, as they’re sometimes called, are the all important middle childhood years – where kids become far more self-aware and start to develop their role among peers. At this age, they’ve got a wide range of educational skills under their belt, and your job is to gently encourage independent learning and self-development.
Some excellent learning toys for tweens include:
- Hobby-based toys – At this age, it’s likely your child will start expressing some strong opinions about what hobbies they love doing. Encourage their natural enthusiasm as much as possible, with musical instruments, sports toys, books and craft kits.
- Bicycles – A bicycle is a wonderful way to help your child stay fit and healthy, while giving them a taste of independence.
- Drama-based toys – Although your child may not be playing so enthusiastically with their toys any more, there are certain toys that will still be very relevant to their age-group. For example, educational toys that encourage drama-based skills, such as dress up costumes, pretend play toys and creative art, are excellent for helping children develop self-expression and confidence.
Toys for 11 and 12 Year Olds
When your child reaches 11 to 12 years, they may be finishing primary/middle school and starting high school, and learning will start to get a lot more challenging. At this age, your child will move from “childhood” to a more adult world and start to gain a real sense of their future. Activities, sports and clubs are a great way for them to feel good about themselves and form safe relationships.
They’ll need to develop an in-depth knowledge of a number of subject areas and will start thinking forward to their exams. You can help them at this important time by providing them with age-relevant games and toys that help support their learning.
Great toys for 11 to 12 year olds include:
- Family board games – Encouraging social interaction at this age is always really important, and playing games is a great way to do it, whether it’s playing with siblings, friends or family.
- Outdoor activities – Aside from letting them join a sporting team, take them out on a bike ride, play football with them in the garden, or even let them burn off some energy with a hop 66 ball.
Finding the Right Educational Toy for Your Child
If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration as to what toys you can buy to encourage your child’s learning and development, simply visit Kiddit today.