There’s no doubt that children love toys. Not only do they provide hours of entertainment for kids while giving tired parents a bit of downtime, toys are also a great way to support your child’s development. How then, do you select toys that not only provide hours of fun but also support your child’s imagination, creativity, and cognitive and problem-solving skills?
Well, the good news is that almost any form of toy will grow your child’s development in a positive way, because play is essential for healthy brain development, allowing them to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, physical, cognitive and emotional strength. It’s through toys and play that children learn from an early age to engage and interact with the world around them.
That said, there are certain toys that will complement your child’s development more than others. Here, we look at age-appropriate toys to assist your child’s development.
The first six months of your baby’s life are incredible. Their mind is constantly curious and their hunger for discovering and learning is palpable. Feed this hunger through play, song, stories and love. Look for toys which encourage language and motor skills, cognitive thinking, and social skills.
Play mats are great for floor play, providing dangling toys your baby can bat, swing, pull, spin and rattle. Mats with sounds and lights are a favourite, but so too are mats with touchable, squeezable toys. Look for mats that allow your baby to reach out and grasp, and also one that allows for tummy time fun.
If you can’t find one you love, make your own using an Elk and Earth Merino Wool Mat. Super soft and stylish, you can mix up the items you hang from above so that your baby never gets bored.
Reading is important from day one of your baby’s life. The earlier you introduce books, the earlier they’ll love stories. Board books are great because you can get your baby used to looking, holding and turning the pages of a book, while protecting against drool and other forms of baby love.
Rubber Alvin the Elephant and Rubber Meiya the Mouse come in beautifully-packaged boxes and make a beautiful keepsake as they grow. As your board book collection grows, ensure your little one has access to reading with our stylish and practical kids bookshelves.
As your baby edges closer to sitting up comfortably, they’re ready to start to experiment with stacking blocks. They might be better at knocking down a tower than building it at first, but even this will help them develop fine motor skills.
Baby’s First Wooden Block Set comes with 30 colourful, wooden alphabet and numerical blocks and its very own 100% cotton storage bag. The letters, numbers and colourful patterns will help your baby develop new words, counting skills and patterns.
Older babies are movers. They love to find hidden objects, and poke and prod at anything they lay their hands on. These important toys will help them to problem-solve through practice over and over again.
Older babies love to bang their toys, and with musical instruments they are rewarded with a great sound. Babies thrive on cause and effect toys. Musical instruments let them experience what happens when you perform a simple action — be it touch a button or tap a key.
The Flip Over Triangle Musical Set by Ever Earth is ideal for musical play and is made from durable wood that’s been sourced from renewable forests. Both sides feature lots of sound-making contraptions, resulting in endless fun for your little one.
Wooden puzzles with large knobs are great first puzzles for kids. Choose ones with just a few pieces to push into place and look for shape sorter puzzles too.
Melissa and Doug Zoo Animal puzzle has the added benefit of authentic animal sounds, making it an eye and ear-catching puzzle for enhancing matching and listening skills.
Push toys aren’t just for babies who have started walking. They are also an excellent option for babies that are sitting, rolling, playing on the floor and learning to stand. Once they are standing, push toys can be manipulated by either pushing or pulling, great for developing fine motor skills.
Our Wooden Moon Doll Pram is beautifully constructed from birch wood and is a modern take on a traditional child’s pram. It offers a physical challenge — at first, your baby will stand to hold it, but soon enough they’ll be gaining stability as they take their first steps.
This is the time when your little one really takes off. They start to become much more active, and they like any toy or game that allows them to throw their whole self in. Small hands are now more coordinated, opening them up to a world of new play. They still love repetition, and experimentation such as “what happens if I drop this ball?” will be a big part of their learning.
Sorting and nesting toys
Toddlers love to stack, sort, unsort, unstack and basically reorganise everything. Let them loose in your Tupperware cupboard and they’ll have endless hours of fun.
This mode of self-locomotion may be even more popular than walking! Your little one will love the excitement and thrill that comes with a ride-on toy and the fun, freedom and opportunity to practice many early learning skills will be crucial to their balanced growth. HipKids supplies a large range of ride-ons as we know know how much kids (and parents) love them. From vintage pedal cars, to mini trikes, to a mini Bentley, we’ve got them all.
A play tent happens to be one of the best toys to inspire children to use their imagination. A teepee can become a fortress, a castle, a house of their own, a hidden chamber — whatever they want at their time of play. It’s in their teepee that they’ll come up with the greatest stories and adventures too.
Your child will discover the world of fantasy, having a positive effect on narrative and speech skills. Playing in a teepee also requires a lot of movement, from crawling to turning, which helps coordinate the brain hemispheres.
Celebrate play with HipKids
Keen to learn more on the stages and types of play your child will engage in as they grow? Read our article on Types and Stages of Play Important for your Child’s Development and help your child thrive with play. HipKids stocks an extensive range of high-quality toys, designed to tap into your child’s imagination and assist them along their development journey. Browse our range today.