When looking for that perfect toy for our kids, it is easy to get overwhelmed when one considers how much choice there is out there.
One important factor to take into consideration is that children learn a lot through play, so the toys and activities we expose them to, can have an important role in their mental and physical development.
So what should we consider when choosing toys? We have listed 5 factors which can help us choose toys that best help kids learn and build relationships with others and the world.
1) Is it age appropriate?
Most toys have clearly marked labels indicating which ages they are appropriate for. Naturally, there is always some overlap and when we are choosing toys for our own children, we know best whether a toy would be welcomed by our child or not. However, especially when it comes to children aged under 3, it is very important to follow the advice on the packaging since many toys have small pieces that can pose a danger to young children.
Another thing to consider, when it comes to having more than one child is whether that toy can be shared between siblings. Children should be encouraged to play together, so having a toy that siblings can share and play with together, helps to encourage social skills and imagination.
2) Does it fit with the child’s interests?
Children start to display their interests from a very young age. Some may love animals, others may enjoy a particular cartoon character or may show curiosity towards music or outer space.
Choosing toys that relate to the child’s current interests is always a safe bet, since it helps fuel an existing interest in the child.
Music is such a fun way for kids to explore their talents and engage in social play.The Keyboomboard is compact with fun and exciting beats providing kids with hours of fun. The Rockstar guitar has three songs, a swing bar, lights and fun effects, and kids can make their own music, sing along to their heart’s content, and even start their own band. The Sing along star Mike enables kids to record a short sentence and hear their recording turned into three fun melodies. With five demo songs to sing along to, an echo effect voice changer and flashing lights, it’s perfect for stimulating kids’ senses.
3) Does it encourage creativity?
Kids get a chance to explore their creative side when they play with toys and choosing toys that specifically target their creative side is a great way to get their imagination going. In this day and age where more and more time is spent passively in front of screens, toys that encourage creative exploration help kids to actively learn about themselves and the world.
The Plastic Easel from ELC, is a great way for children to express themselves and interpret how they see the world. Scribbling, drawing and painting help your child learn to think creatively, which is great for school work later on. Plus it’s easy to wipe clean and fold away at the end of play-time, making it super practical.
4) Is it open ended?
Open-ended toys are those that can be used in a variety of ways depending on the children, the day, their imagination, and desire. They foster play, creativity, and imagination.
The more ways a child can play with a toy, the more he/ she will learn.
5) Does it have ‘educational value’?
Educational toys can not only be fun, but they can also help children learn new things in an interesting and exciting way, from an early age. When young children use the same toy over and over again for the same purpose they slowly gain confidence in their abilities, which will lead them to wanting to explore and play further. This sort of play aids children’s learning and development.
The Magnetic Play Centre from ELC is Colourful, portable and multi-functional. Little ones can make up words, sentences or even simple maths equations, using the symbols. When it is time to pack away, all of the pieces fit into the case, ensuring they do not get lost.
Toys that foster learning and development
Most importantly the best toys are those that promote different aspects of a child’s learning and development, including: creativity, imagination, coordination, motor skills, stimulation, physical development, problem solving, social skills, reading and writing, confidence and discovering the world.
Each and every toy is thoroughly researched and labelled with a developmental icon (as can be seen in the image) which helps indicate which aspect of a child’s development is encouraged through this toy.
All ELC toys conform with EU safety standards and are endorsed by Norland College, the prestigious college for nannies in the UK, making them a safe choice when it comes to promoting learning and development in children.