by Amy Thomas
Choosing the right toy for your child's age is not just a matter of selecting a toy that will engage, entertain and educate them; it is also a matter of safety. If you've browsed the aisles of any toy store lately you probably know that selecting the right toy can be a difficult undertaking. Not only do you want a toy that you can rest assured will provide no danger to your child, but you also want to select a toy that will help your child develop their full potential.
Research indicates that stimulating age-appropriate toys will help children to more fully develop their physical, cognitive and creative abilities. By learning which toys are right for your child's age you can help them to stimulate the connections in their brains that are responsible for building your child's future intelligence.
Keep in mind that it is never to early to begin this all important process. Even the youngest babies can begin responding to bright colors, helping their vision to develop more quickly.
During this time period, it is important to begin focusing on interactive play with your child. This includes introducing the concept of cause and effect as well working on eye-hand coordination. Simple games such as "peek-a-boo" and "pat-a-cake" are fun ways to help your baby discover the wonders of their new world. In addition, look for these types of toys to further stimulate your child's development and learning:
Around the time your child turns one he or she may begin to walk or experiment with taking those first steps. Toys at this age should focus on supporting your child's curiosity in exploration while further developing fine motor coordination.
By the time they are a 1½ years old most children begin to use their imagination in play. This typically takes on the form of make-believe; however, in reality this type of play is helping them to develop problem solving strategies. Look for toys that support this important time of development by expanding their exposure to shapes, colors, ability to follow instructions and language. The important key to remember at this age is that kids are truly learning with hands-on play.
At age two children begin to really focus on fine motor coordination, even though they do not realize it, of course. By this age kids can begin working with board games suitable for their age as well as craft type projects and toys. Most kids this age are also ready to begin playing with other kids, so you may also wish to look for games and toys that are more structured in nature that previous toys.