Toys are essential for the development of your baby. Nevertheless, some safety rules must be followed and the best ones for your child’s stage of development. If a good toy is to be a source of discovery and entertainment for your child, it is not easy to find yourself in the jungle of toys. Our advice to help you better choose your playmates.
Games and toys
When a child plays, the game is not just a distraction for him. When adults play cards or tennis, they seek relaxation: playing is the opposite of working. For the child to play is to work his mind and exercise his strength. Play is its normal activity, it is an essential element for its development.
By playing, the child develops his imagination, his creativity: he experiences an activity that belongs to him by expressing his reactions, his emotions. When Lisa scolds her doll because she wet her panties, she probably imitates the severity of her parents. Axel was very scared because a car skidded in front of theirs: for several days, he “replayed” this accident with his small cars. Sarah had a lot of fun at the school fair; With her soft toys, she redid the activities and games that she liked. It is important that the child has time for these free, spontaneous games; it does not need to be permanently busy with activities that may seem more useful or with sophisticated toys.
Preferences at different ages
Depending on the age of their child, parents do not always know what toys to offer. When they enter a store, it’s more often to ask for “a toy for a 2-year-old girl, or a 3-year-old boy” than a doll or a car. But each age has its preferences. That is why we hope to be useful to you by indicating to you hereafter a commented list of toys that will please your child from 1 month to 4 years old. Of course, if he does not like building games or puzzles at the age when other kids are interested, do not draw conclusions about his development. Simply, he has other interests and you will surely find them.
1 to 4 months
He discovers sounds and colors. This is the age of rattles: big with wide handle because a baby has trouble grasping; with colored balls or bells; chew to relieve the gums; with chain that clings to the cradle or pram, etc. You can also hang animals in bed; choose them rubber, or fabric, so washable because soon your baby will bring them to his mouth. You can also hang a mobile, the baby likes what moves. You will notice that already at this age, the child makes the difference between hard and soft, between a rag doll and a plastic rattle.
4 to 8 months
Your baby learns to use his hands in many different ways: he feels, scratches, pulls, presses, lets go. Install it on a mat of awakening: he will have the opportunity to do the gestures that tempt him at this age. Alternate positions on the stomach and back as he does not know how to turn alone. Give him rubber animals, which make noise when pressed, more scholarly rattles that will give him new satisfactions like the musical rattle. He likes to look at small mirrors and sometimes discover, without knowing it, his face. He enjoys watching picture books. This is the age when the child tries to lift up to sit down; a small portico hung on his bed or in his park will amuse him very much. In the evening, a music box will help him fall asleep.
8 to 12 months
You can put your child in his park, with his toys around him. Throwing objects away as far as possible, not to annoy you, but to see where they fall, that’s what amuses you the most. So give him toys that do not break: rubber animals, plastic cubes, cloth dolls, stuffed animals. He also likes the game of pearls and spirals: you have to move big beads along several axes. He exercises his skill with rings to place on a central axis to build a pyramid. Shaking a game that makes noise (a rain stick or a “moo box”) makes him laugh a lot. He loves – and he will like again at the next stage – the boxes of all kinds: shoes, plastic … He places and withdraws tirelessly his cubes or other treasures and also trains to close the lids. At this age, he begins to crawl and he appreciates the small objects he can hold in one hand while moving. For the bath, give him floating animals: fish, ducks, frogs …
12 to 18 months
Pushing before him a toy that rolls, and on which he has the impression of leaning, gives assurance to the child who takes his first steps: wooden animal, musical roller, etc. He will also like to pull toys on the end of a string. When seated, with his hands now more skillful, he stacks and fits circles and goblets. He also appreciates the books on which it is necessary to press to emit the sounds corresponding to the images (the cries of animals, the wind, the rain, the musical instruments …), the small plastic cars, the big Lego®. As it is also the age when he begins to want to eat alone, he plays and exercises with a spoon and a plastic bowl. For the bath, give it containers that allow emptying, filling, transferring. It is also the age of the first sand pies. Offer him mussels, a bucket, a watering can, and the water or sand mill. Think of balls and foam balls.
18 months to 2 years
He touches everything, runs everywhere, makes noise, moves, transports. So, to satisfy these new interests, give him a horse on wheels, a wooden train he will drag from one end to the other of his room: for him, hanging out is a progress, it is more difficult than push. He also knows how to get on a truck and move it forward; he fills his trailer with wooden bricks. He likes to knock down plastic pins and tries to lift them. For moments of calm, give him something to exercise his skill: wooden puzzles, nesting eggs and barrels, “form sorter” (toy box-shaped, whose lid is pierced with holes of different shapes: corresponding pieces to these forms are attached, the child must enter each of them in the corresponding opening). At this age, he also enjoys hitting on a wooden workbench with a mallet, or on a xylophone. Finally, as early as 18 months, a child likes to be told a short story.
2 to 3 years
Until this age, the same toys are usually offered to boys and girls. But from 2 years-2 1/2 years old, the habits, the environment, make girls give dolls and cars boys. But if one desires games generally attributed to the other sex, why refuse them? Some girls enjoy playing small cars, as some boys like to take care of a bear or a doll. Jules’s parents noticed that when he went to his cousins’ house, he had fun with their little stroller. They gave him one for his 2 years and Jules is delighted to walk his stuffed rabbit. This is the age when children begin to imitate parents and adults around them: driving, phoning, traveling, cleaning or the market. Melody, 2 years and a half, can play very long at the dinette: to give food to her dolls, to the adults who surround her, to herself, to cook. Ernest loves to participate with his parents in the preparation of the family meal.
At this age, boys and girls love the wooden village, the farm animals, and, for the garden, a wheelbarrow. Remember to offer your children stickers, pens, colored pencils, modeling clay (even if you find it “dirty”!), And later cuts with scissors (round and always in the presence of an adult). These activities are simple, inexpensive and yet many children arrive at school without ever having these items in their hands. For exercise, children like the tricycle, the rocking horse and, when they are tired, enjoy looking at a picture book, or exercising their address with nesting boxes.
It’s the age of imagination. A long dress and a crown transform the little girl into a princess; with a scarf and a cloak, the little boy becomes a pirate. Some kids love anime dress up games, others hate. Wearing a mask can impress them. Boys and girls look after their bear or doll with a doctor’s kit. The books interest them more and more: by looking at the images, they invent stories themselves. They like building games, big puzzles, first coloring; and in the garden, the swing and the toboggan.