How different toys stimulate your child’s development and learning


Mother and baby playing with toys

Most parents operate under the misconception that toys are just a playful means to divert a child’s mind when the parents are busy. Research, however, has shown that playing with toys is crucial for the development of children’s cognitive, social, physical, and emotional well-being. Toys that encourage your child to enhance his learning skills are a great way to educate your child before he begins school.

Toys stimulate a baby’s sense of touch, sight, and hearing while also developing their imagination and dexterity. They boost a baby’s attention span and curiosity level and help its memory and nervous system develop faster. Therefore, babies who have been encouraged to play with the right toys have better muscle coordination, develop fine and gross motor skills faster, and hit their developmental milestones faster!

Understand how different toys stimulate your child’s development and learning below:


Stimulate the Sense of Touch: Texture


Encourage your baby to play with toys of different textures. Play with soft toys or larger toys with a younger baby, as these are easier for your baby to reach out for. Let your baby feel the various fabrics like cotton, velvet, furry textures and so on. Focus on letting your baby realize how different materials feel different against his skin.

You can also encourage them to play with sand or clay. Not only will it help develop their strength and coordination, but will teach them how to grip and hold different objects. Allowing your child’s touch receptors to be stimulated develops their spatial relationships and tactile experiences, and helps them recognize patterns and shapes.

The sense of Sight: Colours


The reason why all children’s toys are vibrantly colorful is that colors are a great stimulus for their brains. Colorful toys hanging from a mobile help stimulate your baby’s sense of sight. Certain colors help your child get excited about the play and some colors help teach your child to associate that color with real objects surrounding him.

Parents are advised to provide their babies with toys that have strong contrasting colors and patterns to stimulate their baby’s developing vision. Once their sense of sight improves, it will serve to motivate your baby to interact more and more with their surroundings.

Help in Movement


Parents often wonder whether their babies are following their movements, and if not, when they will start doing so. Stimulation helps a great deal at this age and a gadget like a rotating mobile will help teach your baby to follow a moving object with his eyes.

Once your baby starts reaching for the toys, he will develop hand to eye coordination. Parents are advised to then introduce their child to toys that require some level of coordination between limbs and build their strength and balance, thereby developing their large motor skills.

Hearing: Sounds


Parents are advised to provide their babies with toys such as music boxes, rattles, or toys that squeak or play music when pressed. The sense of sound helps your baby develop his language skills and thought processes.

TOYS TO STIMULATE YOUR CHILD


When your baby observes that his toy makes a sound, when pressed or shook in a certain manner, he will be able to deduce patterns of cause and effect. It will help him understand that when a particular action is taken, it brings about a particular reaction. In any case, once your baby is a few months old, he would also be able to understand that his cries bring about a certain reaction from you. Here are the ways in which toys stimulate your child:

Hands-On Toys


Toys that require your child to physically move them about are called hands-on toys. For example, puzzles, jigsaws, etc. These toys promote hand-eye coordination. They also encourage problem-solving skills by allowing him to take things apart and put them back together.

Books and Music


Even if your child cannot read yet, books are still important to him. The pictures in them appeal to his visual senses. When you read, he learns new words and their meanings. Music allows your child to experience different sounds and appreciate them.

Art Materials


Different kinds of art materials stimulate your child to explore his creative side. He learns to make different items out of basic materials. This is a stepping-stone to developing reading and writing skills, where he will learn to form different sentences using the same words.

Blocks


Blocks are primarily related to mathematical skills. Different shaped blocks introduce your child to geometrical concepts like squares, circles, etc. When he places the blocks one on top of the other, it allows him to look for ways to balance the blocks.

Musical Instruments


Experimental materials refer to clay, sand, and water. These materials are a good tool for your child to explore his sense of touch. Similarly, musical instruments appeal to a child’s sense of rhythm and harmony. Playing with these items allows him to experience a sense of control over his surroundings.

Playground Equipment


Playground equipment is largely focused on a child’s physical development. Equipment like slides, monkey bars, etc. allows your child to test his physical limits and challenge himself to go beyond them. The physical activity also helps him to build muscle tone and endurance.

Dolls and Stuffed Animals


Stuffed animals, dolls, and other figures are geared towards your expanding your child’s imagination. They allow him to have pretended play sessions, wherein your child can make his own story and assign roles to different characters. If your child is playing in a group, it also teaches him to co-operate with his peers as well as the value of listening to other people’s opinions.

Construction Items


Construction items are mechanic sets and similar toys. They enhance your child’s scientific abilities by allowing him to build working models of machines. It also encourages him to develop reasoning abilities.

Toys are a great educational tool as long as they are used appropriately. This is where parents come in. Although toys are designed for certain ages, not all toys in an age group will appeal to a child. When you play with your child, you are able to examine your child’s interests and development rate. Consequently, you can purchase toys that will appeal to your child’s interests.

You can also direct your child’s playing style if you play with him. For example, engaging in pretend play sessions helps your child develop a more complex way of thinking. This, in turn, leads to advanced intellectual growth.

Playing with toys is an introductory phase of your child’s academic life. The most expensive toys are not always the best though. Toys are truly beneficial only when they appeal to your child and match his abilities.
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