Young children are extremely vulnerable to their environment, so you should make sure to buy food, clothes, and playthings that are safe for them. Nowadays, there’s a wide range of baby toys available online, however, not all of them are safe for your child to use. A lot of them contain small coin batteries, strings, and other choking hazards, while some even contain harmful materials, like lead, PVC, and phthalates.
So, whether you’re shopping for your little munchkin, or looking for a gift for a new mom, here are some tips on choosing a safe and age-appropriate toy!
How Do I Choose Age-Appropriate Baby Toys?
Babies between the ages of 0 and 6 months old find noises, movement, and simple visuals fascinating. If your little one belongs in this age group, opt for a safe newborn baby toy like a rattle, plushie, stacking toy, or textured ball. At this age, babies are developing rapidly and learning about the world around them through their senses. They can’t sit or crawl yet, but they can move their arms and legs and lift their head while lying on their stomach. For this reason, simple toys that help them explore their senses are ideal.
Babies that are 6-8 months old are becoming more mobile and are starting to develop their gross motor skills. They can sit independently, roll over, and crawl. They can also hold objects and transfer them from one hand to the other. At this age, babies are also developing their ability to communicate and express themselves. They make different sounds and may even say their first words.
They’re becoming more curious and may be interested in exploring their environment and learning about the world around them. It’s important that you provide a safe and stimulating environment for them to support their development. Choose little baby toys that will stimulate their senses, such as dolls, musical toys, and shape-sorters.
When your little one is in their toddler stage, they’re becoming more independent and are learning to walk and explore their environment. They also start experimenting with dimensions, forms, and spaces. Push-pull, blocks, nested cups, rings on poles, shape sorters, and easy take-apart playthings are some examples of baby toy products that are appropriate for this age. This is when babies begin to understand and follow simple instructions and use simple words and phrases. They start developing their social and emotional skills and start to play with other children.
At this age, toddlers become more independent and continue to develop their physical, cognitive, and social skills. They learn to run, kick a ball, and climb stairs. They may also be able to use a spoon and fork and start to dress and undress. This is the perfect age to introduce “pretend” play. Go for baby toys such as dress-up clothes, dolls, kitchen sets, and toy cars.
Babies at this age are also continuing to develop their language skills and start using more words and phrases. They also start to understand the concept of sharing and taking turns.
This is when your toddler is in the preschool stage of development. During this time, they might not be interested in their old newborn baby toy and need something more stimulating. Crayons, finger paints, and Play-Doh help nurture their creativity while miniature farm and home sets let them utilise their imagination.
At this age, kids can draw simple shapes and start to recognise letters and numbers. Toddlers at this age continue to develop their language skills, they can speak in full sentences and understand more complex instructions. They also start to develop their own interests and start to enjoy playing with other children.
Choose Simple Toys
Overly complicated toys prevent kids from using their own imaginations. Simple toys are important for babies because they offer opportunities for play, exploration, and learning. They help young kids learn about the world around them and develop physical, cognitive, and social skills.
Items such as rattles, soft toys, and stacking toys are particularly beneficial for young babies because they’re easy for them to manipulate and explore. These help babies develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive abilities. They can also provide sensory stimulation, which is important for a baby’s overall development. Additionally, simple playthings can help foster your baby’s imagination and creativity.
Lastly, it’s generally not recommended for babies to use smartphones and tablets, as these devices can harm their development. Some of the potential risks and drawbacks of allowing babies to use these tech gadgets include:
- Delay in language development: Exposure to screens at a young age is linked to problems with language development. Babies learn language skills by interacting with people and their environment, not by staring at a screen;
- Lack of physical activity: Young children and babies need to be physically active to develop their motor skills. Using tech gadgets leads them to a sedentary lifestyle, which can be harmful to a baby’s physical development;
- Poor sleep habits: The blue light emitted by screens interferes with a baby’s natural sleep patterns and can lead to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep;
- Less social interaction: Using tablets and phones can limit your baby’s opportunities for social interaction and hinder their social and emotional development.