Parents and carers today want toys for their children that are not only entertaining and fun but also educational. Babies arrive in the world hungry for learning, and milk, so it falls to parents and carers to ensure that they are adequately stimulated, supported and challenged.
Babies are like sponges. They absorb every aspect of their experiences via their five senses and these all contribute toward their cognitive, social and physical development.
Educational toys for babies are often brightly coloured to attract their attention. They may have moving parts which, again, will attract their attention. Variety is the key with toys that are primarily visually stimulating.
Babies not only enjoy looking at things but they will also learn a lot from touching their toys, not only with their hands but with their mouths and faces. Toys with varied surface textures, made from a variety of materials, can stimulate and encourage their tactile investigation of a toy.
Hearing is another basic sense through which babies learn a great deal about the world around them. Sounds are immensely important and can be used to both stimulate and to sooth and encourage them to sleep.
As mentioned in regard to the tactile aspects of toys, babies will often investigate whether an item is edible by inserting it into their mouths. Obviously, toys that are specifically aimed at very young children and babies mustn’t be unsafe when used in this way. The taste and feel of their toys in their mouths will aid their developing cognitive understanding of the world.
And the last of the five senses through which a baby can be stimulated is of course the sense of smell. While most toys don’t really smell there are some that are purposely designed to smell such as scented cloth baby books.
Many of the ‘old fashioned’ traditional toys, like building blocks, rolling toys, balls and dolls, are actually immensely powerful educational toys. They require that the baby decides how they can be used, they help them to develop their dexterity and small muscle control and they encourage creative play.
Interacting with a baby while they play helps them to develop socially. Parents and carers just need to be encouraging and supportive. Providing a selection of basic, traditional toys is likely to be far better for a child’s educational development than many of today’s push-button electronic alternatives.