Shopping for your baby’s first toys seems like a simple and straightforward task. But if you want your child to have safe, durable and entertaining playthings that will last for a long time, you will have to put a lot more effort into this task.
It is also crucial that you choose the right toys since natural wooden toys for babies and playthings made of other safe materials will help your child learn new things and develop certain skills.
To be sure you pick the perfect toys for your baby to play with, here are five tips to keep in mind:
Read up on recommended baby toys before you go shopping
Prior to hitting up toy stores and other shops, go online and read about the different types and brands of recommended baby playthings. Know which ones child experts and other parents regularly give babies and endorse so that you can narrow down your list of toys to get.
By doing ample research before you start shopping, you can avoid buying toys that are unsafe, unhealthy and won’t offer any benefits to your baby.
Choose toys that will stimulate your baby’s senses
Every day is an opportunity for your baby to explore and learn something new. As such, it is essential that you select playthings that can stimulate your child’s sensory development.
Fun and attention-catching toys such as those that showcase a variety of bright colors and textures, and make sounds when touched or grabbed, will give your little one multi-sensory experiences.
You can also enhance your child’s awareness of how to perform an action to make things happen by selecting toys that are easy to activate and encourage interaction, such as a baby gym or activity center.
Select ones that also encourage creativity
You can foster creativity in your baby by selecting toys that will allow your little one to use their imagination. Wooden building blocks, Dubai child development experts say, are great for letting kids at any age bring out their creativity. With building blocks, children are given free rein to do and build whatever they want. They will practice creative thinking to construct something from their imagination or something they have seen before.
Wooden blocks are also among the few toys that can grow with your child. Babies can play with them under your supervision. As your child grows older, he or she will still find this plaything fun and interesting.
Consider the age-appropriateness of the toy
Although you may think all baby toys seem suitable for your child, think again. For your child to benefit mentally, emotionally, socially and physically from the toys you buy, you have to choose ones that are appropriate for your baby’s age.
You can do this by knowing where your child is, developmentally, at a certain age and getting toys that fit your baby’s level of learning. However, make sure you select ones that will challenge your child without causing frustration.
You can also gauge the age-appropriateness of an item by checking age labelling on the toy. The label is based on a child’s physical and mental abilities, play needs, and interests. This label will also help you decide if a plaything is safe for your baby or not.
Prioritize safety when selecting a toy for your baby
Lastly, make sure you buy toys that are sturdy, come in age-appropriate sizes, and won’t come apart easily (which could present choking or cutting hazards). Babies tend to put everything in their mouths as well, so choose toys that do not contain toxic and harmful chemicals such as lead.
Organic toys are some of the safest toys around but you still have to be sure you buy a good quality product. If you will be buying a wooden toy, read the product label first to be certain that the processing of the wood was done through natural means. This is because some wooden toys are manufactured with hazardous chemicals that are harmful to your baby and even the environment.
Most wooden toys are also painted or will have some painted parts. Make sure the paint used is lead-free or toxic-free as well so that they are safe for your baby to play with.
Researching and putting much thought into the kind of toys you buy for your baby will help assure you that your child will be receiving something safe to play with. This will also enable you to choose the best ones that will grow with your child as they develop physically, mentally and socially.
Sreeya Patil Wiesner is the founder of EcoToys in Dubai, UAE. She started her online toy store with an aim to provide healthy, safe and eco-friendly wooden toys to kids 0-6 years of age.