Educational Toys for Babies – 1 Year Old

Every parent wants the same thing; for their child to grow up happy. It is not uncommon for caring parents to stress over their baby’s educational development. The 6 months leading up to their 1st birthday is a crucial time as babies become much more communicative and mobile. This article focuses on educational toys for babies 1 year old and why they are important for your child’s development.

A ball can be just a simple play thing for the park or garden, but when a baby is learning to walk, stand or crawl it becomes an important educational toy for strengthening your baby’s leg muscles. Firstly you should sit on the floor holding your baby facing away from you. Put a ball in front of their feet and encourage them to kick it. You can help by moving their legs if your baby can’t do it unassisted. Give praise each time they make contact and this will give them confidence. With another parent and baby playmate you can have them kicking the ball to each other. They will both improve their gross motor co-ordination skills whilst having a lot of fun.

As your baby becomes a 1 year old they will begin to babble word-like sounds. To help improve your baby’s verbal and hearing skills you can use felt to create animated stories. You can buy ready-made shapes from educational toy shops or make your own. Face your baby and tell a simple story using the shapes to illustrate. Speak clearly and point to the pieces as you talk about them, don’t worry about making the story complicated just keep it animated.

Babies love to put items into categories, particularly at about 9 months. A shape sorter is an educational toy that will help to develop your baby’s fine motor skills. Although a shop bought toy may be fun to begin with, the novelty will soon wear off. It is easy to make your own shape sorter at home instead, for very little cost. Provide your baby with different objects or food cut in small pieces and small containers to put them in. Encourage your baby to sort the items by colour or shape.

A rattle can help develop your baby’s fine motor skills and sense of rhythm. Any toy that is musical can be entertaining, even ones you have made at home with pasta and a plastic bottle. Add variety with colours and different sounds to ensure that your baby doesn’t get bored. It may give you a headache but your baby will love it.

Babies begin to understand language and develop motor skills before they can actually speak. Baby signing toys can be used to help improve your baby’s communication skills. Signs are attached to words and this enables you to better understand what your child wants. Some people think that baby signing will negatively affect their baby’s speech development; however it actually enhances their vocabulary and language skills.

The range of educational toys for babies 1 year old is extremely vast. There are products to suit every parent and baby, whether it is a ball, a homemade rattle or baby signing toys. When choosing a particular toy think about the skills that your baby will develop and try to target all the senses over time.

Educational Toys and Games – Their Role in a Child’s Development

For many years now child psychologists and educational specialists have known the value and importance of play in a child’s emotional and educational development.

As time goes on, we are refining the process considerably. It is now the case that educational toys and games can be designed and manufactured to cater for very specific needs for young children.

Targeting specific aspects of educational growth, these toys can raise awareness of a child’s surroundings, educate child in basic numeracy and literacy and even encourage an emotional understanding of the world in which they live.

As a parent myself, I decided to look into the possibilities of assisting my child’s natural growth and education in her preschool years. Acknowledging the importance of play as a fun activity that should not be too regimented, and allowing my daughter to enjoy using her imagination, I set about looking for a range of toys and games suitable for preschool children.

At the time the government of the United Kingdom had a system known as Early Years Foundation Stage or EYFS for short. The idea behind this was to promote positive learning through structured play. Allowing a parent’s to provide a child with the correct toys and learning experience and to focus on any particular areas of need.

So what areas in particular can we expect to see improvement?

Before a child is able to grasp and manipulate objects themselves it is important to work on recognition and cognitive skills. Colorful toys and books that are held by the parent or carer are the first group to explore.

Interaction between the carer and child are vital to keep the youngster engaged in the process. You will find at some stage the child will “reach out” to grab the item in question – and probably drop it a few times in the process. Bearing in mind the sorts of toys and activities used at this stage need to be very child friendly (i.e no sharp edges, not to heavy, not fit in the child’s mouth etc) there are any number of factors that make a toy or activity engaging and worthwhile. After safety, it’s safe to assume that colour and movement rank very highly.

Once some level of motor skills are developed it’s time to improve the ability of your child to handle and manipulate objects. Blocks, fabric books and easy to solve puzzles rank highly. Not forgetting the all important “activity centre”. Motor skills can improve at an astonishing rate given the right environment. It’s not uncommon for a child to go from “unable to grasp simple objects” to “able to manipulate and solve simple block puzzles” in a matter of days. A very rewarding time for parents.

From this stage there are many other more specific areas that can be explored. The most obvious being simple numeracy and literacy “one, two, three” or “D-O-G is dog” It is important not to expect the child to grasp this in a way that is meaningful in adult terms, but rest assured the information structure and associations are being built none-the-less.

What are the exact toys and games a parent or carer should use?

It is a delicate line to follow. Educational toys and games have been criticised in the past four not being as fun as some of the more hedonistic activities available to children. But as we progress, this is becoming less of an issue as modern toys, games, and puzzles for children no longer have this stigma attached to them. Those that develop these activities have learned just what sort of interaction a child needs to have to maintain long-term interest in any particular activity or form of play.

Luckily, we live in a time where there is increasing awareness of the role that structured play can play in a child’s development. The next step will be to see some level of consistency in terms of both the toys and games themselves, and the advice and resources given to parents.

While there is a great deal of crossover in the functionality of these products, it is possible for a concerned parent to focus on such specific growth areas as awareness, emotional well-being, tactile ability, preschool science, basic numeracy and literacy as well as the very important aspects of sharing and acknowledging others with group play.

It should go without saying that all the educational play products available for preschool children in the United Kingdom are first rigorously tested for safety and durability. Parents can now rest assured that when buying from within the UK, the activities and toys they buy for their child will conform to the most stringent safety standards.

I have now managed to bring together a modest collection of educational toys and games for my daughter, and it gives me as much pleasure as it gives her to see the enjoyment she gets from playing with these toys. It’s a far cry from 20 years ago when educational products for preschool children failed in so many aspects to engage the child.

The Rationale Behind Childrens Educational Toys

Children have this natural character to learn. They have this ability to absorb new information and react to a stimulus almost like a sponge. Daily experiences, for instance, are excellent avenued in which children can learn. In this regard, games and play, and consequently the toys that they play with, are very helpful for this purpose. Children’s educational toys therefore, are critical in every child’s learning and development.

This almost insatiable hunger for learning in children, expressed in their natural propensity to play, should not be wasted on toyd without much relevance to their educational development.

While it is true, as some child experts would assert, that any play will serve its purpose in developing the child’s brain and total development, it is equally unassailable that maximizing this natural learning process, is not a bad idea. In fact, it is now an accepted maxim that children’s educational toys should be considered by any couple or individual contemplating of raising a kid.

Regular play will not only give the children their needed physical activities, as would the need of adults to have a daily chore or regular work, but also a venue to develop their personality, emotional capability, and even overall traits, that will help them in coping with the world that they live in as they grow. It is also during play that children develop their creativity, imagination, speech, reading, thinking, problem solving, and even their motor skills.

But children’s educational toys come with a specific purpose, at least in terms of a child’s age. Children up to the age of three will benefit greatly from creative play. Make-believe games are very common in this age-group, so it is best to provide appropriate educational toys. Costumes of their favorite cartoons heroes or heroines should be an opportunity to use as accompaniment for their educational toys.

Educational toys for this purpose can take the forms of teddy bears and other stuff toys, dolls, toys that reinforce arts and craft materials. Toys and other articles that somehow imitate the children’s environment are also beneficial.

Children within the range of four to five years age are more cognitive and need toys that would help in the development of their thinking, problem solving skills, and decision making capability. Educational toys that would serve best this need are arts and crafts with considerable difficulty, like Lego and other construction toys. Puzzles also belong to this group of educational toys.