Choosing fun, safe toys for babies and toddlers
Playing is an essential part of growing up and exploring the world, and that's why it's essential for little ones to have plenty of safe, fun and exciting toys around as soon as they enter the world. You can discover a wide selection of playtime essentials for newborns, older infants and toddlers that will stimulate, entertain and encourage learning and creativity during those first few formative years. Best of all, we offer them at Every Day Low Prices, so it's easy to fill your child's toy box with fun toys. Here are some important things to consider as you shop.
Toy tips for newborn to 6 month ages
While newborns may not be reaching for those rattles just yet, they do become more and more interested in their environments as they grow. During the first 6 months, they may learn to touch and grasp for toys, and it's important that moms, dads, siblings, grandparents and other loved ones interact with these tiny infants using toys and other attention-grabbing objects to help with development. Larger toys can also assist babies in eventually developing fine motor skills. As a bonus, showing baby a toy can help keep him or her entertained or quiet a crying child. Tips for choosing toys at this age include:
- Choose toys with faces. Babies love to look at faces, so dolls and stuffed animals make an excellent choice for first toys. Just make sure the face is embroidered and doesn't have small pieces that can be pulled off and swallowed.
- Opt for softer toys. Babies at this age can't fully control their movements and may hit themselves in the head with a toy, so the softer it is, the better.
- Play mats with mobiles are another great choice. While babies this young may not have the ability to hold onto toys, they do enjoy watching mobiles that move or play music.
Toy tips for ages 6 months to 12 months
Babies between 6 and 12 months are at a super-fun age. This is when they become mobile and attempt to crawl or walk. This is also when they really learn how to play with toys. The second half of the first year is the perfect time to:
- Consider stacking and sorting toys. They help with hand-eye coordination, as well as the development of motor skills. They're also fun to bang together.
- Introduce push toys at this age if the baby is pulling up or attempting to walk.
- Select toys that move, such as age-appropriate cars and other vehicles. They're perfect for both crawlers and walkers to push and chase to help them build physical strength.
Toy tips for toddlers
By 1 and 2 years old, toddlers love toys and spend much of their day playing with them. They're mobile, using words, able to mimic some adult behaviors and can express more emotions as they relate to playtime. Now, more than ever, it's important to choose the right toys. Safety is also more important than ever because toddlers love to put things in their mouths.
- Bath toys are always fun for toddlers. Most toddlers can enjoy bath time more with the right accessories. Consider squeeze toys, buckets, cups and other plastic toys that are suitable for the water.
- Interactive toys are popular at this age. While most toddlers can't spell or read, they can begin to understand the concepts of animals, colors, numbers and letters. Electronic, musical and pop-up toys with these features are both educational and entertaining.
- Older toddlers may enjoy role-play toys. This can include dress-up clothes, a small kitchen with plastic food, tools like a plastic hammer and anything else that allows them to imitate the older people they see.
General toy tips for babies and toddlers
- Look at the product listing carefully to determine if the toy is age-appropriate. A toy may seem fine for a baby at first glance, but if it's marked for ages 3 and up, it may have detachable parts that can easily choke an infant or toddler.
- Discard any wrapping. This can be dangerous, especially if it's plastic.
- Use good judgment. Even if the label says it's age-appropriate, think of the maturity of the child and even siblings or other children in the household. Make sure the toy doesn't have sharp edges, small parts that may become a choking hazard or dangerous cords and strings.