How To

Select Developmentally Appropriate Toys

The question I get the most when people want to create a playroom and toys that encourage independent play is, “How do I choose a developmentally appropriate toy that my child will actually play with?”  My most straightforward answer is to choose open-ended toys that are safe for your child’s age.

While it may be tempting to buy an electronic toy labeled educational, your child will get more brain development and benefit from a low-tech toy.  

If you feel like the whole toy industry has totally lied to you, don’t worry, I got you.

Let me walk you through some helpful guidelines that will empower you to select developmentally appropriate toys that your kids won’t be able to get enough of.

What is an educational toy really? When it comes to getting an education toy, you may think, “This electronic bear teaches all their colors, shapes, and numbers in 4 languages! This is the best education toy ever.” What if I told you that the little wooden animal your grandma wants to hand down to your toddler is even better?

Research suggests that open-ended toys and traditional toys help kids develop better speech and social-emotional skills, specifically in larger vocabularies, more conversations with parents, and more parental responses to the child.

How do electronic toys help a child’s development? You may be asking yourself, “Okay, but what are the benefits of electronic toys on child development?” To be honest…there aren’t many benefits. If you don’t believe head on over to this NPR article to read more.

What toys can help a child’s development? Traditional toys and open-ended toys lead to more communication between adult caregiver and child, and more adult initiated speech, a larger vocabulary, problem-solving, fine and gross motor skills, social-emotional skills, cause and effect relationships, more speech utterances by the child, and more imaginative play.

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