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Baby, Lifestyle, Motherhood

How To Select Learning Toys For Children

I often get asked on how to engage a toddler with educational and learning toys. While every parent wishes their toddler learn and develop through play. The key lies in introducing activities that are age appropriate and match the developmental milestones. A good learning toy can help foster the child’s imagination and creativity.

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So how do we as parents choose the correct educational toys for our children? A few key criteria in toy selection can go a long way in enriching our children cognitively and simultaneously build a collection of toys that lasts a long time.

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Selection Criteria For Learning Toys

Safety First

That shiny train set staring back at you from the toy store window may look like the best gift for your child, but you need to check a few things before you go ahead and buy it.

Always look for the age group indicated on the toy. This is a safeguard against buying toys meant for older children that contain small parts that pose a choking risk to your young child.

  • Check that a toy has smooth edges and is devoid of pointed parts.
  • It should be made with sturdy materials that can sustain extensive rough use.
  • The size, shape, and weight should also be manageable for your child.
  • Paints used in the toy are lead-free and use natural pigments.

Age Appropriate

Each stage of development goes hand in hand with a certain set of skills. As children grow they become adept at performing certain tasks. The toys you choose should also match the difficulty level according to the age of the child.

If a toy is too complex the child can get frustrated with it and may not be able to enjoy the toy. The recommended age group specified on the toy should help you in making this decision.

How to select age appropriate toys? Ask yourself these questions when you are shopping for toys the next time

  • Does the toy allow age appropriate problem-solving?
  • Is it challenging the child in an incremental manner as he grows, allowing the child to use the same toy in different ways?

A simple example can be stacking toys that vary according to age and skill level of the child. These toys challenge the child’s age appropriate skill level and their simple design foster creativity to use the toy in different ways. Look at the below example of a stacking toy designed for age and skill level of the child.

Durability

It’s a simple fact that wooden toys outlast plastic toys. There is a reason why they are called generational toys. They serve as toys when we are kids and take us down the memory lane, as we grow older. It’s important to check that the wooden toys are made out of hardwood and use safe natural paints.

Simple & Open-Ended

Toddlers are great at repurposing household articles; a rectangular cardboard box can serve as a bus one day and a house the next.

Open ended toys are often simple and don’t overwhelm the senses, on the contrary they challenge children to use their creativity. Great examples of open ended toys are building blocks and stacking/nesting rings. These toys allow the toddler to take charge of how to play with them. They grow with the child and provide limitless opportunities for play.

Battery operated toys often overwhelm a child’s senses. This is especially true if a single toy contains varied colors, shapes, textures, flashing lights and loud music. The child may not be able to focus on any one learning concept.

However a simply designed wooden shape sorter, for example, allows the child an opportunity to focus on shape sorting and from there to move onto other concepts.

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In my quest to find such educational toys I came across Skola Toys. They design wooden educational toys that are researched to target developmental milestones. Skola Toys aims to break down key developmental skills and learning concepts as per the age of the child. This helps cement learning the concept through play. They call this the Learning Journeys.

They cover learning journeys like Dexterity, Environment, Numbers, Language and Cognition through their wooden toys.

These type of learning toys are more enjoyable to the child and help in the better understanding of concepts. You can check all their learning toys here.

What criteria do you use to select toys for your little ones? Leave me a comment below.

Posts on toy gift guides:

  1. The only toys you need for baby (0 – 12 months old)
  2. The only toys you need for your toddler (1 – 2 years old)

This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

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21 Comments

  1. Disha Bhandari Dadala says:

    This post helps! Especially if you are a single mom handling everything and need to figure out how to keep the toddler busy.

    1. Ophira says:

      Yes, the correct toys can engage the child over and over again.

  2. Divya says:

    As usual there is so much information here. I don’t look at so many points when I choose toys for my kiddo. Will check Skola toys too.

    1. Ophira says:

      Thank you so much, Divya.

  3. I found this post totally useful as i have been always in a dilemma what to get for my little one and whether it would be useful. Would follow these tips next time

    1. Ophira says:

      That’s great Melani, let me know if it helps!

  4. A very helpful post with a lot of information. Will follow the tips during next purchase

    1. Ophira says:

      That’s great Anjana.

  5. So much choice and variation for kids these days. Sometimes it just boggles the mind to find which toy is suitable for which age.
    I love toys that are open-ended as you have suggested to encourage creativity and learning.

    1. Ophira says:

      Yes, I love watching my son get creative with his open-ended toys. So wonderful to see how their little minds work.

  6. Salma Mehajabeen says:

    While getting toys i usually get tempted but later resist myself to get them. Will keep these points on mind when getting a toy. Thanks for writing this

    1. Ophira says:

      Yes, I have to agree I feel like buying everything too. But we have to be mindful about our purchases especially toys and how they impact our children.

  7. These are some really good toys to keep the kids busy and engage them in learning too.

  8. very useful post. I too spend hours researching for development levels and skills that are needed for toys. I have spent too much money on pretty looking toys only to realise later that my son was unable to play with them at that stage.

  9. An informative post indeed! gone are the days when toys were just for fun. It is time for toys and learning tools which help in brain development along with the fun angle as well

  10. Yes selecting the right toys is very important. These are great tips for selecting toys for little ones. I am sure it will be helpful for moms with small kids.

  11. I swear by Skola when it comes to quality wooden learning toys! They’ve a fantastic collection

  12. Anchal says:

    I love open ended toys. Help in developing imagination.

  13. Love simple open ended toys that my little one can play with as he grows!

  14. Very informative! I’m in need of some new toys for my baby, so this came in handy!

  15. Thats why I love reading your blogs. Its like reading a digest for that related topic,the research is so intense. And yes,thanks to you as I got to know about wooden toys especially Indian brand like skola toys

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