Tap to Read ➤

Things to Consider When Buying Toys for Your Baby

Parul Solanki
There are parents who randomly buy toys for their baby without giving much thought to its use. Toys not only keep the baby engrossed, but also help in the emotional, physical, and cognitive development of the child. This Parenting story provides some simple tips that you should consider when buying toys for your baby.
"To a child, often the box a toy came in is more appealing than the toy itself."
―Allen Klein
Children are like little explorers who understand and learn things by doing. One of the best ways in which a child learns to make sense of his surroundings is through toys and playthings.
Although you may buy an expensive toy which the manufacturer has labeled as 'educational' or 'developmental', your child may be clueless about how to use a toy with too many contraptions. Instead, he/she would likely focus all his/her attention on simple toys that allow him to think, solve problems, and acquire certain skills.
Instead of being overwhelmed in a store filled with thousands of toys, it is essential for parents to pick the right toys that ignite the child's creativity and imagination. Here are some things to consider when buying toys for your baby.

7 Tips for Buying Baby Toys

When choosing toys there are many things that you need to consider. Are they high quality, safe, educational, and fun? Do they promote the child's physical, mental, and emotional development? Parents need to buy toys that:

Provide Multi-sensory Experience

Since toys encourage the development of the senses, it is important to find toys that provide a multi-sensory experience. 
For instance, a child is more attracted to colorful toys or ones which produce sound and light. Look for toys that have different textures and interesting sounds and movement. These toys are ideal for early interaction and exploratory play. They are also ideal for children with special educational needs.
Some great multi-sensory toys include soft toys that emits squeak sounds or jingles when pressed, and solid carousels with knobs that teach a lot about cause and effect.

Encourage Learning

Baby toys encourage learning and problem-solving. 
Toys that encourage children to think and do something on their own can help in the development of logic and problem-solving skills. Toy blocks may seem trivial to a parent, but for a young child, piling on the blocks without toppling them can be a major milestone. 
Apart from cognitive skills, these toys also aid in development of physical skills, balance coordination, and fine motor skills. They teach the child about balance, proportion, and color. Look for toys that teach new concepts and keeps the child engrossed.
Some amazing educational and learning toys for babies and toddlers include wooden puzzles, blocks, shape-sorters, and art material such as crayons and clay.

Grow with the Child

Do not buy toys that have limited use. 
While we may all love craft toys, these are generally used only once or twice. Try to buy toys that a child would use over and over again. Toys which grow with the child can be fun at different developmental stages. Look for toys that are more versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.
There are special activity sets that are designed to engage the child through his/her developmental stages. These activity sets have buttons and levers that help in the development of fine motor skills. As the child grows, he or she can learn letters, numbers, and much more, through songs and stories. 
Even simple toys like small animal figures can be used for pretend play and for acting out stories by an older toddler. Blocks with different shapes, colors, and letters can be used by younger babies to learn balance by stacking them, while toddlers can learn concepts like building and creating.

Promote Physical Activity

Babies and toddlers need playthings that promote physical activity. 
This allows them to grow stronger and more confident. Choose age-appropriate toys that encourage the child to enhance their physical abilities, and challenge them to try new ones.
Consider getting tricycles, ride-ons, or three-wheeled scooters with safety gear. Balls of different shapes and sizes, and basketball hoops are also great for getting your child outdoors for some fresh air and lots of physical activity.

Spark the Child's Imagination

Two- and three-year-old babies love creative, make-believe play. 
Pretend play which involves the invention of scenarios and stories by children help in the development of language, problem-solving, and social skills. Acting like superheroes make them feel brave and invincible. To encourage children to embrace the art of make-believe, you can introduce pretend-play toys. 
Simple toys such as dolls and old sheets can be used for pretend play. Other things that can be used for pretend play include dollhouses, trains, trucks, medical sets, costumes, and figurines.

Safe for the Baby

Toys may look like loads of fun, but you need to consider whether they are safe for the baby. 
Do pay attention to the warning on the label. While buying the toy, watch out for sharp edges, points, and corners. Avoid any toy with little, loose parts which the child might accidentally ingest. Always look for toys that are well-designed and durable. If you are buying craft items such as clay or paint, then ensure that the supplies are non-toxic.
Avoid projectile toys, such as rockets and darts, as they can lead to injuries. Also, toys with battery chargers and adapters can pose a serious risk to children, and should be avoided.

Suitable for Age Group

Children enjoy toys that they can control and master at their age. 
Choosing age-appropriate toys for your child ensures that he benefits most from these toys. Look at the label on the toys to ensure that you buy the right toy for your kid.

Infants are fascinated by sound and light. 
Some great toys for them would be rattles and busy boxes which they can pull and shake. Toddlers can solve problems and repeat activities over and over again. Building blocks, nesting cubes, and shape sorters are the best for them. Children older than two years enjoy pretend play with firetrucks, dollhouses, and kitchen sets.

Others Things to Keep in Mind

  • Avoid similar toys and make sure you have a place to store the toys.
  • Check for toy recalls on government-sponsored sites such as Consumer Product Safety Commission and Recalls.gov. Avoid hand-me-down or toys from garage sales.
  • If you plan to buying toys in bulk, then do consider buying from a reputable dealer who adheres to toy safety rules.
  • Check whether parents and experts recommend the toy instead of blindly getting it.
  • Check if the toy is worth the price, and necessary for the child.
Toys are meant to be fun for your baby. Avoid giving too many toys to your baby. Instead, give him simple toys that are age-appropriate, stimulating, and safe. Avoid flashy gadgets and gizmos which, apparently, are 'educational' for the child. Instead, choose toys that prompt him to think, and spark his creativity.