If you’re a parent who is concerned with what toys to buy your child (and rightfully so), you’ve probably been to dozens of toy shops, looking for that perfect toy that will not:
Break at the slightest whack your child makes
- Be too expensive (a price range of £20 to 40 sounds just about right)
- Be dangerous to handle – after all, you wouldn’t want your child to swallow a piece of plastic, would you?
If you’ve done the appropriate research, you would eventually find a toy that is ideal for your child, whether he or she is a playful toddler or a curious and active five-year old. And you’re right in being so picky with your child’s toys, as the ideal one will help them develop certain skills – and the wrong one could inhibit their growth in more ways than one.
So what are the guidelines for finding the right toy? First of all, it depends on your child’s age. As a parent, you would know that your child goes through different stages of development. Infants are more likely to be fascinated with bright colours, high sounds and squeaks, and soft, plush toys that they can squeeze. If you have a precocious toddler on your hands, it is a different matter altogether. Toddlers aged from 3 up are at the stage where everything is a toy for them – if left to their own devices, they could very well destroy your entire home. Toddlers need to be stimulated in such a way that their physical activity is well controlled – and along with this comes their mental and emotional development.
Toys for toddlers – the right balance between active play and imagination
Toddlers are endlessly curious about the world around them, wanting to touch, smell, and taste everything in sight. A toy that allows them to play around and be active is ideal at this age. Also, toddlers already have a healthy knowledge of what goes on in their environment – that’s why they love watching shows on the telly and imitating their beloved characters.
If you can find a toy that stimulates a toddler’s mental development, you’re well on your way. Aside from this comes the safety issue. Toddlers are known for trying to consume almost everything you hand to them – a pen, a piece of paper, a flower, you name it. They would need a toy that is composed of big parts so they would not be tempted to put it in their mouths.
At a certain age, toddlers can identify with heroes as well. Spiderman, Batman, Mr. Incredible – the list goes on. Playing with action figures has its own benefits, as it stimulates your child’s imagination by letting them act out different heroic (and not-so-heroic) scenarios.
If you’re the type of parent who wants their child to be both physically and mentally active and stimulated, you needn’t worry. There are plenty of toys that are designed to encourage children to use their imagination. The Playskool Heroes Star Wars Jedi Force Millennium Falcon, for one, has brought me and my child endless hours of fun and laughter, allowing us to create distinct situations that make use of our imaginations without limit.
Tom Veasy is a freelance writer with an interest in smart toys for children, as he has a three-year old toddler of his own. Tom regularly writes for retail blogs on the latest smart toys, such as the Playskool Heroes Millennium Falcon.