There are several types of toys. And no surprise – it’s a really tricky task to find the best toys that bring a surprising blink in the eyes of kids. If you’re one of gift hunters – parents, grandparents, godparents, relatives, friends of parents, and the list continues, you will be reading many articles until you find what you’re looking for.
To help you orient in this big assortment, I’ve written this short article with some important tips for you. Get ready to finally get that best toy that will make a baby and toddler smile and help him to develop!
How to Choose Toys for Babies and Toddlers?
Pick age-appropriate toys
Most toys have a recommended age sticker, so use this information in the selection process. Also if you have met a baby and you know what he’s capable of and how mature he is, keep this in mind.
But if you will see a baby for the first time and you have no idea what he can or cannot do, remember that you can give a gift that he can use later – after a few months or a year. Baby’s parents will know when it’s the right time for this particular toy, so don’t worry.
Think about now and later
I’m not surprised if you think that a kid needs several numbers of toys. Yeah, sure, it’s pretty hard to get his attention doing one thing but it doesn’t mean that it’s always that way.
You need to remember that toys are not just something that makes a kid to whirl and curl. It also promotes and supports him through his development process both physically and mentally.
And in one point baby will have that interest to discover new things (everyone does), and if he will have the toy that gives him opportunity to learn by playing, he will play with this toy most of the time.
So is it really possible to give a gift that will bring joy to a kid even though baby is 3 or 4 months old? Sure, it’s possible. But if you really want to give that great, awesome gift that baby can play with in ages, you need to keep in mind some things.
For example, toys with sharp edges is a big no-no, particularly if a baby is just some months young. “Open-ended” toys are the ones that makes the best choice for toddlers. And these toys can be used in several different ways, and no doubt – toddler will experience great moments with it.
Some of the open-ended toys to select from are blocks, balls, crafty pieces and bits, cardboard boxes etc. And what is great – with these toys baby can play now (if they are safe), even if he’s just 5 months old for example, and later.
Yes, these are pretty simple toys but everyone starts to play with simple things! Remember that the baby has been in this world for a short period of time and he doesn’t know anything. Toys, voices, environment is what he’s learning from.
Limit the number of toys
Watch the eyes of babies while playing. Too many toys make their eyes simply rotating. Yes, they also get overwhelmed. I just mentioned this before but believe me – one great toy is much better than lots of them.
If you find the toy that is safe for a baby and he will be able to play with it after some months, you’ve found what you were looking for. Pick the one if you truly believe that the baby will be able to play with it without any confusion. Choose the best one or two instead of taking a basketful of toys.
Check the safety
The beauty of toys certainly attracts everyone but not all toys you really can give to a child. Read “What toys not to buy?” for more information. As I mentioned before, you should never forget the fact that safety stands above all.
Buy toys without sharp edges, toys that are free from mechanical parts, loud noises, and anything that can result harming a child. Parts on a toy should be securely attached and paint should not peel off.
By the way, well-made stuffed toys always is a good choice if you can’t find anything that you like. Just make sure that its parts are tightly made, edges and seams are secure, a toy does not come with loose ribbons and strings as these objects can strangle a child, and the toy is washable.
Stay away from toys with small magnets
Do you know how CPSC calls magnets? A hidden home hazard. And that’s not a surprise. As they are often used in toys, and they may fall out of the toy, a child can swallow it. If a baby swallows two or even more magnets, they can attract to each other causing holes, infection or even worse.. That’s why the agency recommends keeping toys with magnets away from kids under the age of 14. So don’t forget about it, ok?
Watch out for toxic toys
Even if you find a toy that looks safe at first glance, you should think again. As you know many toys are made with chemicals and full of plastic junk that can harm your child. Three chemicals prompt the most concern: lead, phthalates and bisphenol A. And if children swallow large amounts, they can develop blood anemia, brain damage, stomachaches, muscle weakness and more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So be cautious!
Toys that are made of non-toxic materials is a much better choice, at least for babies and toddlers when they tend to put everything in their mouth.
Skip mobile phones and balloons
Yes, it is a good idea to avoid mobile phone toys for babies and toddlers. You better know the dangers of giving the smartphones to kids and even smaller children. Although most of parents don’t give their smartphones to little ones, some does. And yes, you might think that toy phone is innocent, there are situations when it adversely affects a child.
There is no doubt that balloons are fun. But when it gets inflated or broken, there’s a big chance that a kid can swallow it. And this is a reason why I strongly suggest not to give balloons to toddlers.
Size and material
Babies and toddlers have feather touch skin. Toys should not make any sort of irritating experience. Choose toys that are made from smooth materials and fine finishing. Although toys with different textures is a good choice as baby can develop sense, feel and distinguish ability between different surfaces.
It is quite natural that toddlers like to taste toys in most cases. So make sure that all, even smaller parts can’t get detached. Until a child turns 3 years old, toy parts should be bigger than his mouth to prevent the possibility of choking.
Don’t pick heavy toys
Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? If you will give a heavy toy to a 3-month old baby, he won’t be able to hold it so a child will harm himself, and you don’t want it. So pass these kind of toys.
There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a happy child. And although a baby may not give you a smile, he and his parents will appreciate your gift, so take some time to select the best toy for a kid!
Maybe you have some useful tips on choosing toys for babies and toddlers? Post your ideas in the comment section below!