Toys are an instant gateway to a child’s happiness. And as parents or caretakers, there’s nothing more heartwarming than seeing your kids light up with joy. While babies and toddlers are not particularly demanding or fussy about toys, that doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t be. Toys are more than just things that children play with. Even though they should be fun, they also need to be safe, age-appropriate, and stimulating. Playtime is an essential part of any child’s development, but it can be risky too. To help you choose the right toys for your baby or toddler, we have put together a comprehensive guide on what to look for and what to avoid.
Toys that are Age Appropriate
Before you look for anything else, check if the toy you are planning to buy is age-appropriate for your kid. A toy designed for an older kid will be beyond your child’s comprehension and something they will not enjoy. Similarly, you do not want to buy small or sharp toys that could become a risk for choking or injury. Here are some of the things that should never be given to your babies or toddlers:
- Battery-powered toys that do not have battery cases secured with screws. Children can easily open these cases, and the battery fluid can be very dangerous for their health.
- Toys that cannot withstand chewing and are breakable should be avoided at all costs since babies love to put things in their mouths and chew them. If your baby is at a teething age, get them an FDA-approved high-quality Sydney Teether Stacker. Each stack is made from food-grade silicone, and all other materials are 100% non-toxic and BPA-free.
- Toys that are smaller than 6 cm in height and 3 cm in width pose the risk of swallowing and choking. Make sure to buy large toys that cannot get stuck in your child’s throat.
When you are out shopping, make sure to read the label that tells you which age group the toy is designed for.
Toys that are Simple and Plain
Automatic toys that come with numerous built-in features can hinder a child’s creative imagination. Cars that move automatically and dolls that talk or sing can restrict the child’s ability to take their own actions. That way, they will be limited to just pressing a button or pulling a string rather than doing whatever they want. The best toys are ones that are plain and simple, such as puzzles or blocks.
Toys that are Versatile
Babies and toddlers are pretty destructive when it comes to their toys. They love to break, build, pull apart, and put things back together. For this reason, you should opt for open-ended toys that your child can use in more than one way. A good example is this Octopus Teether that also acts as a rattle when shaken. Plus, it makes a perfect addition to your baby’s water play or bath time.
Toys that are Safe
You would be wrong to assume that toys stacked in a children’s shop are always safe for use. There are plenty of chemicals present in toys that are used to soften plastic. Phthalates are one such chemical that can lead to possible behavioral issues and even asthma. You want to make sure that you are buying toys for your babies and toddlers from an appropriate brand. Usually, cheaper toys do not adhere to strict health and safety standards. This is why you should make it a habit to always read the toy labels and examine the components used. Cloth toys are usually a better choice for babies as they do not cause injuries and are not made with harmful chemicals. This Leota Doll is perfect for your baby girl to play with, and you won’t have to worry about your child injuring herself.
Toys that Spark Creativity and Teach Good Values
Giving your children the right toys can really help with their mental growth. Toddlers are usually at a point in their life where they take on different roles (like a pirate or king) while playing. Examples include toy food, dress-up clothing, stuffed animals, and even plain boxes. All these toys are designed to help your child create different scenarios and assume different roles. We love this Farmer’s Market Tote that your child can use for their imaginative play. The bag comes with six hand-sewn fruits and veggies so your toddlers can indulge in a scenario of grocery shopping.
Besides stimulating their creative juices, toys should also teach a good lesson to your children. You might think that your toddler is too young to understand, but kids these days are pretty sharp and impressionable. Books with lots of illustrations that teach good values are perfect for toddlers between the ages of 2 and 4. Mindful Tots: Loving Kindness is a board book for kids written in collaboration with a childhood development specialist. It features bright animations paired with lifelong lessons of self-awareness and compassion that are essential for nurturing children.
Toys that Stimulate Physical Activity
When they grow older, your children will inevitably fall in the web of video games and computer screens. So while you are in charge of their entertainment, make it a point to incorporate toys that encourage physical activity. These include different-sized balls (not small enough to be swallowed), three-wheeled scooters, or tricycles.
Toys That Your Children Can Grow Old With
There are many instances when our baby plays with a toy once then never looks at it again. You want to make sure that you buy something that your kid can get attached to and something they will use for many years. We all know someone who still sleeps with their favorite childhood blanket even in their 30s. Let your child hold on to those memories.
The best options for toys that grow with your child include action figurines, stuffed toys, and dolls. We are sure that your toddler will enjoy a hand-sewn Llama Pillow because it’s fun and comfortable.
Toys That Allow Critical Thinking
Toys shouldn’t be only about fun. They should also promote active learning and critical thinking. Toddlers are at an age where their minds are able to pick up information quickly, and as a parent, you should take advantage of that. Purchase toys that will encourage them to think outside the box, require them to problem solve or push them to think critically while building or playing. These include toys such as puzzles, board games, and even some card games. Don’t think your child is too young for card and board games. You can tone down the rules a little to match their mental capacity and let them jog their creative minds.
There’s a lot that goes into buying the right toys for babies and toddlers. However, as responsible parents, it becomes a duty rather than an option. Before you select a toy, make sure that it is safe, age-appropriate, stimulating, and durable. If you are buying toys online, do your research about the company and read the product reviews. Go for brands that focus on using organic and premium quality materials. Guudguuds is one such company dedicated to offering a simplified lifestyle. Our products also include toys for babies and toddlers that are made with the best materials and crafted by talented artisans.