Choosing Educational Toys For Your Child
One of the best ways to promote learning and education is providing your child with a safe, relaxed and risk-free play environment. And this includes surrounding him with the right kind of educational toys. The toy should motivate your child to play and learn at the same time. An educational toy is useless if your child doesn’t play with it.
In today’s toy market, there are many toys that are marketed as having educational value. While it’s true that any toy can be an educational toy when played a certain way, you can’t just buy a random toy and expect your child’s skills to improve. It really doesn’t work that way. And you have to be skeptical with toys claiming to be educational, especially if it’s a toy you’re not familiar with.
Finding the right educational toy takes a bit of research. Your research should start with your child. Learn what your child likes and dislikes by playing with her. Not only will you get to know your child better, you’ll also have an idea how far up or down she is in the developmental ladder.
Of course, developmental milestones are not rules, but rather they serve as guidelines. You can use developmental milestones as reference or guide to how you approach early learning and development which includes buying the right toys. Remember that all children are unique and they learn in different paces.
Buying education toys for your child should be easy. However having so many options to choose from can be a bit of a challenge. So we hope this short guide will help you.
Choose safe toys and age appropriate toys
The first thing you should consider when buying an educational toy, or any toy for that matter, is safety. You shouldn’t buy any toy that is unsafe even if it has great educational value.
Always read product descriptions to know the components and parts of the toy. If you’re buying an educational toy for a toddler, make sure that toy has only a few detachable parts. These can be potential choking hazards so you also need to heed warnings from the manufacturer.
Buy toys that are suitable to your child’s age. Toys for 3 years old and below require more safety precautions and tend to have more warnings.
When buying a wooden educational toy, make sure that it has a smooth surface and soft edges to avoid any potential splinters and injuries. The toy should be chunky in size especially if you’re buying for a toddler who has picked up a nasty habit of putting toys into his mouth.
Consider the materials used in the toy
This is a bleed-over the previous section because the material of the toy also affects its safety. Plastic educational toys may contain chemicals and substances that are considered toxic, even carcinogenic. BPA, phthalates, lead and flame retardant chemicals are only a few of these chemicals. Even the ones marketed as BPA-free still contain BPA so it’s better to stay away from plastic toys altogether.
Most wooden educational toys on the other hand don’t come with the aforementioned toxic chemicals. They are eco-friendly and safe provided that they’re well-made and have smooth surfaces and have no sharp edges.
Support your child’s interests
It’s important to choose educational toys that support your child’s interests. It will motivate your child to play more thus maximising the time he spends playing with the toy which could lead to optimal learning and development. It’s just as important to not force your child to play toys he doesn’t find interesting.
Toys are important components to a child’s development. They make learning fun and exciting. And a child tends to learn more if he is having fun. But most importantly, you should only buy toys that are safe and trusted by other parents.
Next Up: What Are the Best Educational Toys?