Christmas is just around the corner. The lights illuminate every corner and days come to enjoy with the people we love most. Our children live this time with great enthusiasm: Santa Claus and the Three Wise Men are preparing their gifts, but... How many doubts arise when choosing which is the best toy for our child? At Happy Way we have prepared a small guide to help you find the best toys without losing your mind.
It is important choose the toy based on age and developmental stage of our son, that is why below we refer to each of the age groups and the most appropriate toys:
- Children 0-6 months: The main game in this age group is functional. It is one that gives us pleasure by obtaining an immediate result. Toys that stimulate their senses, help them discover their own body and provide them with different textures, shapes and colors are recommended. Some examples are soft stuffed animals, rattles, teethers, crib mobiles, objects with different textures...
- Children 6 -12 months: At this age, the main game is exploratory. It is one that integrates gross movements, fine movements and sensory functions, such as hand-eye coordination and the ability to distinguish shapes and locate sounds, for example cubes to grasp and move. Furthermore, crawling and the first movements are typical of this stage, so toys that encourage them to move, such as a ball or a see-saw, are very positive.
- Children 12-24 months: Constructive play is essential at this age. Most children at this age walk and recognize the properties of objects, they can already memorize their own actions and repeat them in an intentional way. The recommended toys for this age are cubes for fitting, stacking and building.
- Children from 2 years old: From this age onwards, symbolic play begins to emerge. The child expresses his interpretation of reality and his ability to communicate with others, using all the toys that allow him to simulate the different situations in the lives of adults. Toys such as kitchenettes, telephones or baby dolls help stimulate it. Toys that adapt to their new abilities are also indicated for this age, such as 8-10 piece lace games, wooden constructions... For the most creative, simple musical instruments, large colored pencils or finger paints are essential.
Some important aspects that you should not forget, regardless of how old your child is, when choosing a toy:
- Observe the interests of your children. There are children who enjoy drawing more than riding a bicycle, for example.
- Be careful with fullfilment of security requirements. Always check that the toy complies with European safety standards, do not risk exposing your child to possible dangers.
- Parts size. Remember that at these ages children tend to put everything in their mouths, it is another way to explore the new toy, so always confirm that the pieces cannot be disassembled or are large enough so that they do not create danger.
- Be practical and realistic. Until approximately 4 years old, children tend to discover all the properties of the toy in any way, for this reason toys often break easily. If you don't want this to happen, avoid buying very sophisticated toys.
- Don't let yourselves be conditioned by sex. The labeling of “it's for boys” or “it's for girls” corresponds to cultural prejudices that children do not have. A toy does not determine the orientation of a child's identity, it depends on more complex and deeper factors.
- Active child intervention. Those toys that lend themselves to different uses and stimulate the imagination of the child who receives them are very positive.
- Do not abuse “smart” toys. The child grows above all by inventing, interpreting, building and imagining.
- Be careful with the quantity. “The more, the better” is not always true. A large number of toys for the child will only overstimulate and disorient him. Almost certainly, he will not be able to concentrate on any of them for the time necessary to satisfy his cognitive needs.
- Leave aside the economic parameter. If a toy is more expensive does not mean it is better, nor that it awakens in your child the curiosity that you expect.
We hope that this small guide will help you orient yourself during these holidays with the best choice to give to your children. But Don't forget that spending your time with them playing, inventing and imagining is the best gift your children can receive.