Christmas is just around the corner! For us adults Christmas is filled with meaning, and for children it’s a very special and magical time of the year. What kids love most is waking up on Christmas morning to find the toys they asked for in their letters to Santa under the Christmas tree.
At Christmas the presents you give your kids tell them they deserve something special for having being good the whole year round.
Playing isn’t just fun, it’s also the best way for young children to learn. By playing, children can practise all the skills they’ll need as they grow up.
Playing is an essential part of growing up and parents should make sure their kids play enough and well.
The toys your children play with are different at different ages so it is important to choose age-appropriate toys for your kids. It’s not the actual toy that counts (simple or expensive, technological or traditional), what’s important is that the toy matches the developmental stages of play and that your child has fun while developing those important skills.
Tips on choosing toys for different development stages
For Babies toys are all about their mouths, hands and sight. Children start to become aware of the world around them and are attracted by bright colours and sounds. Recommended toys at this age are a baby rattle they can look at and listen to while a parent holds it for them, crib chimes and baby mobiles as well as traditional stuffed toys with sounds.
After the first few months, babies will love a baby gym with coloured objects they can grab and pull as they lie on the mat.
At about 6 months, baby can sit up on his own and his movements are more coordinated and precise.
The toys to choose at this age are plastic animals with sounds that baby can play with at bath time, activity tables with multi-sensory activities that help the child understand that he can make sounds or movements by touching objects, colourful interactive books to look at with Mummy and Daddy.
At this age, often children will a favourite stuffed toy that reassures and comforts them when they are not with Mummy.
As soon as children are a little older, you can let baby play with wooden or rubber cubes; making a tower to push down is always so much fun. Pull-along animals, toy cars and trains, bouncing balls, shape sorter and stacking toys, are just of the many toys to choose from.
Most babies learn to walk between the age of 12 and 18 months. At this age babies love anything they can pull or move by themselves, so get them a toy cart or stroller to push and lean on.
These toys help baby acquire a better sense of balance that help them enjoy ride-on games that they push with their feet, from there gradually moving on to a tricycle or balance bike.
Otherwise, at this age, another good choice is a blackboard to draw and scribble on or simple musical instruments.
When they start kindergarten, children are forced to do exercises developed by adults for hours at a time. So when they come home let them play with simple toys like cars, dolls, puppets and stuffed toys with which they can invent stories. Kids also love to play with building bricks and play dough.
When they start primary school, after hours in the classroom or doing a sport, playing is the only way your children can relax and let their imagination run loose.
Building bricks and more complex board games, a bike or football for outdoor fun, are all wonderful alternatives to video games.
At this age, your child knows exactly what he likes and his skills are well defined, so all it takes is intelligence and good sense to choose just the right toy for your child.
All that remains for me to do is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas with your children.