Start ‘Em Young!
Infant and Toddler Toys Help Babies Play and Learn
Jacqueline Cucco is an associate editor at Adventure Publishing Group, where she writes toy reviews and manages the social media accounts for The Toy Insider, a site that provides parents, grandparents, or any gift-giver with the most up-to-date insight on toys and kids’ entertainment year-round. The Toy Insider also publishes an annual Holiday Gift Guide, which appears in Family Circle magazine. Cucco also contributes to The Toy Book and The Pop Insider.
- Use trusted companies. Infant toys are very hands-on, so don’t be surprised when babies’ first instinct is to put things in their mouths. A lot of infant toys incorporate everyday items like teethers and rattles into playtime, so parents should make sure to use manufacturers they know and trust.
- Sharing is caring: Parents can play along with their kids or encourage siblings or family friends to play together. Not only will shared playtime keep babies busy, but it will also teach them how to socialize and communicate with others. Furthermore, if they’re playing with an educational toy, it will be even more fun to learn together.
- Cheer them on! There’s no right way to play with infant or toddler toys. Little kids don’t always understand instructions, but parents can show them the way by offering a helping hand, a smile, or a hug when kids are doing a good job.
It’s a no brainer that every kid loves toys, but it’s important to give them the right toys when they’re young to help them appreciate the play value. You can’t give an infant a puzzle meant for a teenager, or a video game that they won’t understand. Having age-appropriate infant and toddler toys can help little kids grow and learn while they play.
There are plenty of infant and toddler toys that aid in brain development, helping kids to learn as they play. Learning toys don’t have to be intricate or complex either — it can be as simple as having a four-piece puzzle with extra-large pieces that are easy for small hands to grip or stacking toys that teach kids about shapes and sizes. Not only will kids expand their minds, but they can practice motor skills as well.
Little ones can learn from toys with electronic elements that teach them how to count and read. As babies play with the toys again and again, the toys will reinforce the basic concepts of math and reading by speaking aloud. Sometimes the toys even teach basic phrases in multiple languages, including colors, shapes, animals, numbers, or letters.
Of course, parents can opt for tech-free baby toys too — classic toys are classic for a reason! Infants and toddlers love toys and plush dolls with different textures and features, such as knobs, dials, and crinkly fabrics for tactile play.
As babies learn to walk, there are plenty of toys that can help them along the way, such as walkers and ride-ons that encourage kids to get active. Many active toys built for toddlers have adjustable heights so that kids can get more use out of them as they grow.