With educational toys soaring in popularity, parents buying toys for their children have more options than ever. So how do you choose the ones that best support your child’s development?
Here is some advice for parents who want to find the right educational toys.
1. Your child’s safety comes first
The Australian government maintains strict standards for toy safety and provides toy safety recommendations online. For example, wooden building blocks should be free of splinters, brittle edges, or broken parts to be considered safe for children while push-pull toys should not have long strings or cords that might put toddlers at risk of strangulation. Further, toys containing lead and similarly harmful chemicals should be avoided at all costs.
If you want to make sure that your educational toys are safe for children, only buy them from a reputable source. Teachers Choice is the leading toy shop for teachers around the world. Our educational toys are hand-picked for quality, design, and safety.
2. Educational toys should be age-appropriate
Age-appropriate toys not only ensure your child’s safety, they’ll also be more fun for your child to play with at their current skill level. Babies do best with simple activities, so just about any toy that they can grip, pick up, and drop without hurting themselves will make them happy. The mere act of banging objects or watching them drop helps babies make sense of the world around them.
Toddlers, by comparison, want to assert their independence during activities as they gain more control over their muscles and learn to sit, stand, and move on their own. Age-appropriate toys will enable them to explore independently.
As they get older, children become more sociable and will show more interest in group activities. Educational toys that they can share with other kids and play with as a group are recommended.
Keep in mind, however, that children develop at different speeds and you, as a parent, will have to determine what is appropriate when choosing toys.
3. Quality trumps quantity every time
The majority of toys in the market are made from low-cost plastic that breaks easily. When choosing educational toys for your child, always choose based on quality. Toys made with safe, durable, and sustainable materials will last longer and can be passed down to younger siblings.
Educational toys made with solid wood, for example, are less likely to splinter and can be expected to retain its shape despite frequent drops and banging.
4. Open-ended educational toys are more versatile
Some examples of open-ended toys include wooden building blocks, balls, and arts and crafts pieces like moulding clay, sand, and paints. These are excellent choices because they can be used in many ways, encouraging children to use their imagination, creativity, and problem-solving skills. They can also be used over and over again, transcending trends and retaining your child’s interest for much longer. In many ways, open-ended toys grow along with your child as their needs and interests change.
5. Educational toys should tie back to your family values
At the end of the day, any toys you choose should reflect your personal values as well as the values that you’d like to instill in your child. For example, if you believe in sustainable living, choose eco-friendly wooden toys that are in line with your beliefs. Whatever values you decide to share with your child, remember to be consistent and communicative to prevent confusion.
As a general rule, the way your child uses their toy should be more important than the toy’s design, qualities, or intended usage when it comes to determining its effect on their growth and development. Teachers Choice offers teacher-recommended educational toys that will bring out the best in your child. Visit our shop today for the best educational wooden toys in the market.