Choosing the right Educational Toys for Children
Educational toys are entertaining, but toys are also instruments that help a child learn about themselves and
the world around them. Play is important to the healthy growth and development of children. As children
play, they learn to solve problems, to get along with others, and to develop the fine and gross motor skills
needed to enhance and master living skills.

Through educational toys, children discover about themselves, their environment and about social cues.
Toys aid in developing the child’s creativity and builds leadership skills and healthy personalities. Play
increases skills children need to learn to read and write. Playing with educational toys in early childhood is
the best foundation for success in school. Educational toys help a child achieve the following:

•        
Development of physical skills. . Physical and gross motor skills are developed as a child learns to
reach, grasp, crawl, run, climb, and balance. Fine motor skills are developed as children handle small toys.
Dexterity develops as the child holds toys or other items.

•        
Development of cognitive thinking. Children learn to solve problems (cause and effect), through
play. Children also learn colors, numbers, size, and shapes. They have the ability to enhance their memory
skills as well as their attention span. Children move on to higher levels of thought as they play with
educational toys.

•        
Development of language skills. Language develops as a child plays and interacts with others. This
begins with babies playing cooing games and advances to useful language skills such as story telling and
jokes. Learning to cooperate, negotiate, take turns and play by the rules are important life skills for
interacting and communicating.
•        
Development of emotional well-being. Through play a child can accomplish his/her wishes and can
conquer fears and bad experiences. Play helps the child master the environment and promotes awareness of
their surroundings. When children at play feel safe, successful and confident, they gain important principles
of positive emotional health. Playing with educational toys also can create strong bonds between parent and
child.

•        
Development of social skills. Learning to share are important social skills children learn through
educational toys. These skills include daily interaction skills such as sharing, taking turns, and allowing
others to talk without interrupting. Social skills grow as the child plays. Children learn to imitate desirable
responses such as turn taking with board games, cards, or other activities that require a child to wait for
others. As a result, children learn the roles and rules of society.

Selecting educational toys for your child

Educational toys should challenge a child's interests and abilities and match closely his/her skills and maturity
level. Both solitary and social play is necessary for a child's development. A child can play with a building
toy by themselves and, in the process, develop independence, self-sufficiency and persistence. Playing with
the same toy with others, he/she acquires social skills such as sharing, understanding and cooperation.

Parents also have an important role in choosing good quality educational toys. Below are some suggestions
for appropriate toys for children of various ages. Be aware of your child's interests and abilities. Not all
children enjoy the same kinds of play.

Birth to 1 year old

A baby learns about his environment by using all 5 senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch). A child
this age is also learning cause and effect. Toys he/she may enjoy include:

• Mobiles and safety mirrors
• Rattles
• Stacking toys
• Pop up toys
• Picture books
• Musical toys, squeeze toys
• Infant swings
• Teething toys

1 to 3 years old

A toddler moves around his environment a great deal (walking, climbing, pushing, and riding). A strong
curiosity in manipulating and problem solving with objects begins during this stage and can be encouraged
with:

• Push-pull and ride-on toys
• Small tricycles and wagons
• Simple puzzles, shape sorters, peg boards
• Movement games
• Large lacing beads
• Blocks, stacking rings
• Picture and coloring books
• Crayons, markers, and clay

3 to 5 years old

Preschool children enjoy playing with others the same age. At this age they take pleasure in sharing
activities, including:

• Dress-up with accessories
• Puppets
• Large bead threading and lace sets
• Storybooks
• Simple board games (Candyland ,Whac-A-Mole, or Chutes and Ladders)
• Puzzles (no more than 24 pieces)

6 to 9 years old

A school-age child looks for new information, experiences, and challenges in play. A child in this age group
is influenced by peers and is extremely social. He/she may favor group activity items such as:

• Sports equipment
• Bicycle and helmet
• Roller skates with protective gear
• Books
• Simple model and craft kits
• Board games (Sorry, Trouble, and Checkers)
• Coordination or memory games (Uno, Guess Who or Perfection)
• Building and construction sets

9 to 12 years old
A pre-teen is independent, yet thrives on play with other children. A child this age knows how to play fair
using advanced social skills. He will be able to manage:

• Books
• Card and board games (Monopoly, Clue, and Life)  
• Sports equipment
• Art supplies
• Model kits/science kits
• Jigsaw puzzles

Tips on selecting educational toys
Before choosing a toy parents should keep the following in mind:

• Toys should be appropriate to the child's age, skills, and abilities.

• Toys that will it hold the child's interests, are well designed, and durable.

•        Toys which stimulate creativity. Toys such as arts, crafts, hobbies, language, reading, music,
movement, and drama can help to expand a child's imagination.

•        Toys which teach communication skills.

•        Toys that encourage eye-hand coordination or fine and large motor skills.

•        Toys which offer the opportunity to think, learn, and help practice cognitive thinking.

•        Toys should be beneficial to the child not difficult to use.

•        Toys that the child can use on their own. It will help gain independent skills.

•        Toys that help the child express emotions and learn social interaction.

•        Toys should be fun. It important the child enjoy using the toy.

•        Read toy or packaging labels for age ranges and safety warnings.

•        Choose a safe storage place for toys.

•        Check toys at least every three months to determine their safety. Make any repairs immediately or
throw away damaged toys.
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