Infants & Toddlers (0-2 Yrs)
Stimulate their Senses
- New eyes have so very much to take in, and everything is new and exciting. You'll want to help your baby or toddler learn perception and hand-eye coordination with musical or light-up objects. This way, babies can begin to learn where sounds come from, and toys that react to baby's movements can teach cause and effect.
- Interactive toys can help your child with crawling, standing, and walking.
- While it's true that toddlers will get into most everything, this is a great occasion to teach motor skills.
- When he or she is old enough, your child will appreciate toys that have knobs and switches, provided they're not too small as to pose a choking threat.
Preschool (3-5 Yrs)
Getting Ready for School
- Kids at this age have tons of energy and should be encouraged to use it wherever possible! Encourage them to keep moving with fun activities and toys.
- For those rainy days when they can't play outside, or as a means to teach them social skills, problem-solving, and rules, consider the following:
- Pretend play is extremely valuable and crucial to development: children learn how to prepare for real life scenarios, learn empathy, and build their self-esteem. For more information, see our guide to Make Believe and Fantasy Play.
- Budding Monets and Beethovens will love Arts and Crafts and Musical Toys.
Primary School (6-10 Yrs)
Feed their Brains
- Educational Toys are perfect for kids in this age group. The idea usually is to find a toy that is so fun that your child won't even notice that he or she is actually learning. Check out our guides to science and maths toys for some inspiration.
- Maybe your son or daughter shows creative flair or he or she just has a fantastic time drawing and painting. Don't stifle a child's creativity: you never know what young minds will come up with if they're allowed to roam free!
- Strategy games are a wonderful way to teach your children logical skills. Board and card games help improve kids' memories and teach them how to focus. Be sure to also show them how to be good winners and losers!
- Let's face it: we live in the era of electronic toys, so your kids are going to be begging you for a Playstation or a Wii. Find games that have an educational or rhythmic quality to them so children won't be totally zombiefied.
- Remember: get them outdoors as much as possible. There are a host of skills children will learn on football fields and tennis courts, so try to keep your kids involved.
- Action figures and dolls are, again, valuable tools for make-believe play.
Secondary School (11-13 Yrs)
Encouraging Young Minds
- Encourage your child's individuality. If he or she wants to be a sculptor or an award-winning journalist, they've got to start somewhere.
- Though older children might protest that they're too old for toys, there are some educational activities that are appropriate for anyone. Furthermore, if they're having trouble in school in a particular subject, this can be a non-intimidating way to master the material.
- Now that they're a bit older, your kids can handle higher-level board and card games . These toys can foster healthy competition and help further develop their social skills.
- Again, video games and electronics are probably going to be a necessary evil. Find ways to keep your kids active engaged in the real world. Games like Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution keep everyone moving and having fun, and social activities like Rock Band encourage children to get a group together for play.