Toddlers are always learning and studying from the world around them. As such, it’s important to support their growth by taking them outside, introducing them to new things and also buying them new developmental toys that can help stimulate their minds. It’s important to get the right educational toys in order to promote learning, but we often make the wrong mistakes and get things like digital tablets which can also be used for things like games which you probably don’t want your child to play when they should be learning.
Being a parent comes with many unexpected challenges, but picking the right toys doesn’t need to be difficult. In this article, we’ve put together a couple of important developmental toys that will help stimulate your child to learn more.
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Whether it’s a large lego set or something more traditional such as wooden building toys, anything that requires your child to be creative and think more about what they’re putting together is always going to be a fantastic choice for developmental purposes. Your toddler will get hours of imaginative fun with the help of a building block set, but it needs to be freeform enough that they can choose to make whatever they want from the selection of blocks. This means that getting sets of blocks with themed characters like Lego Star Wars isn’t such a great idea because they’re more designed to follow instructions.
While getting a themed set is never a bad idea, you should always first consider getting them a standard set of building blocks or toys. This will allow them to use their imagination to think of creative ways to make something instead of relying too heavily on the pictures and instructions given. If they’re struggling to think of something creative, consider supplementing their building sets with something themed that has instructions to give them a helping hand, or you could consider watching YouTube videos about building blocks or follow instructions on various websites to give you some ideas.
While you can generally leave your child alone to think up their own ideas, you should always consider playing with them as well to give them ideas and help them create new things. You shouldn’t be too assertive in correcting them if they make a mistake and should use it as a bonding experience. Don’t think too much about what they’re creating but focus on how they’re creating it as well, such as the way they’re drawing inspiration from books and nature.
Building blocks can be an excellent way to encourage your child to be creative. If they show that they love using them to make things, you can consider getting them new pieces to add to their collection or even take pictures of the creations they put together and save them or even share them.
Whether it’s regular Gibson jigsaw puzzles, wooden block puzzles or even a Rubik’s cube, there are plenty of fantastic puzzle toys out there to help your kids think more logically and also put together something really special. Your toddler will get plenty of mental stimulation thanks to puzzles. They can be a really fun activity for any child that likes a brain challenge and there are countless different puzzles to pick from. We recommend starting with something simple such as 2×2 Rubik’s Cube or even a small puzzle with around a hundred pieces or less. Anything harder could frustrate your child, so you should always start with a relatively low difficulty and work your way up as your child finds it more entertaining.
If you want to encourage your child to try puzzles then they may need a little inspiration. For instance, you could consider trying puzzles that have designs of their favourite cartoons and book series. In addition, you could even have your own jigsaws printed and made if you would like to use a custom picture. Lastly, you could also consider puzzle games on a tablet device. You’ll need to monitor your child so they don’t end up playing other games, but there are plenty of educational puzzle games that are available in digital format. For Rubik’s cubes, you should teach your child the many ways to solve a Rubik’s cube to give them a head’s start, but you should always start with small ones to ensure they don’t get frustrated at trying to work them out. Rubik’s cubes are very popular puzzle toys and there are even competitions and communities to join, making it something that can be social in addition to a developmental toy.
Puzzles can be a brilliant way to stimulate your child’s brain, but it’s important to make a distinction between stimulating and frustrating. If you plan to give any puzzle toys to your child, make sure that you can solve them as well so that you can give them a hand. If you simply leave them with something that’s too hard then they’ll have a tough time and simply get more frustrated.
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Learning Computers and Electronic Toys
If you’re tired of your kids constantly on their tablets and smartphones then restricting their screentime is a great idea. However, it’s vital that you find a suitable electronic replacement or introduce digital learning computers first before you give them a tablet or smartphone to play with. Most parents wouldn’t be willing to give their children something as large or powerful as a tablet, but there is a great alternative; learning computers. These are essentially small laptop or tablet-like devices that have everything from musical keyboards to cameras and standard computer keys. They’re made to help kids discover technology and how to use it, making it perfect for kids aged around 2 to 6 or older. They have wonderfully colourful designs and come with plenty of different learning programs that teach everything from math to spelling and even music. They’re fantastic introductions to technology and will be a great replacement for regular tablets and smartphones if you occasionally let your child play with yours.
However, your child might find them to be boring if they’ve already been exposed to regular tablets since these electronic learning computers do not come with any games that aren’t educational. This might seem great for you, but even educational games will seem more like homework than fun for your child and they will yearn to use your tablet. The earlier you introduce an electronic learning toy the better, but it’s vital that you mix it up and let them play games for pure entertainment and fun now and then without trying to mix it up with educational influences.
As long as you try them out with your kids now and then to see how proficient they are with the latest learning toys, your kids will slowly learn to love them and will use them for a long time. Unfortunately, they tend to use a lot of batteries if used on a regular basis or will require a mains adapter, and they don’t tend to hold much value compared to other toys like puzzles that can be framed or used as decorative pieces. As such, we’d recommend only getting one or two of these, or if you do have a tablet device, consider installing some educational apps and locking it with parental controls so that your child doesn’t download anything addictive like a video game.
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While not exactly toys, flashcards can be an excellent way for your kids to develop reading and writing skills and to learn about new things in life. From flashcards that show fruits to animals or even adjectives, there are a surprising number of flash varieties that can be used in many different ways.
The flashcards themselves can be used in a quiz-style format so that you can test your kids. Alternatively, you can even make up games with them such as dealing them between you and your child and covering the letters so that they need to name whatever’s in the picture. You can also use them in simpler ways such as hiding them in a room and asking your children to find the ones that you pick, making sure to put the cards near something that is related to the card for your children to find.
There are many different types of flashcards so do take a look around to pick one that not only suits your child’s needs but also the things they enjoy. You might even be able to find flashcards that are related to their favourite shows or comic book characters if you look around. You even have the option to make up your own if you have the time to print some off and stick them to pieces of card.
Some Final Words
Hopefully, this article has given you some idea of what types of developmental toys and games are available to your growing child. These ideas will help your child learn more about the world around them while also developing useful skills and knowledge that will help them both early and later in life.
This is a collaborative post.