Which Toys Are Best?
There are so many toys on the market nowadays that it's not always easy to choose the right toy for your child's stage of development.
Leading child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer explains what each child should play with at their development level
In recent years, the number and variety of toys available for babies in the shops has exploded. With such a vast choice on offer, it is helpful to look at what babies gain from playing with toys and
'Babies develop rapidly, so it is important to look closely at the skills required to use certain toys and the toys that will encourage them. The age ranges provided with toys are standardised and it is important to understand that, within certain limits, children develop different skills at different times and whilst some development is linear, many children are ahead of the game in some areas and a little behind their peers in others - and this is perfectly 'normal'.
'When choosing toys for babies it is crucial to look at a child's abilities before buying, so that you avoid trying to make them develop too quickly by getting toys that are too advanced for them. Buying toys that are not suitable for a babies stage of development will only result in the child becoming bored with a toy and rejecting it.'
Newborn Toys'Newborn babies do not 'play' with toys as such, as they have insufficient hand-eye coordination to move their hands to deliberately pick up objects, but they will grasp things which are put in their hands.
Toys like rattles, mobiles, mirrors, and soft toys are most appropriate for very newborn babies, as they learn to move their head to sounds and focus their eyes on moving objects.
Toys for 3 to 6 month olds'At three to six months, babies are
Toys such as rattles and other noisy toys, toys with lights and music, pram toys, teethers and activity centres are appropriate for this age group.
Toys for 9 months to one year old'At nine to 12 months children start to move around their environment, so toys with wheels that push along will give them an opportunity to practice walking. It also allows them to model adult behaviour, which is very valuable for social development.
Toys such as shape sorters, stacking toys/bricks, musical instruments, picture books, wheeled toys and bath toys are all appropriate for this age group.
Dr. Amanda Gummer
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Dr Amanda Gummer is a leading authority on child development, play and parenting with over 20 years working with families and toy manufacturers. She has recently launched a brand new online play and advice service www.my2frontteeth.co.uk that offers parents and present buyers access to independent, unbiased information about play and child development. www.my2frontteeth.co.uk explains what sort of play children engage with in different situations and at different ages. It features examples of the very best products and
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