In recent times play has become increasingly seen as a means by which a child gains insight into life and into the universe. Through proper play children not only receive entertainment, but are able to develop various social and coordination skills.
From an early age, play allows a child to learn about themselves, their relation to others in the world, and the world itself. With a proper kind of engagement, play can help a child fine tune their physical, emotional, mental, and creative skills, enabling a sense of wholesomeness and integrity to enter their life.
Given the benefit a child reaps through constructive play, it only makes sense that a parent and/or caregiver would seek to think carefully about catering to their child’s dolls and everything they need, in order to provide their child with the right toys, ones which provide an adequate, healthy, and productive experience while also ensuring a safe environment.
First 6 Months Divide Opinions
The first six months in a child’s life mark a crucial development in many areas of the brain, and this change is reflected in the way in which they play. This change makes choosing a toy for a baby quite a challenge, sometimes an overwhelming one.
Some are of the idea that a baby ought not be given too many toys, as there is a risk that this might become too overwhelming. Others say the very opposite could happen, that a lack of toys and variety of play could result in a lack of proper brain development.
Both views share in the same insights: that babies learn through play, and the more the variety, the more possibility there is for the baby to learn; but an overwhelming variety will usually end up in a lack of interest on the baby’s part. Thus, it is crucial that toys stimulate and excite all of the child’s five senses, namely sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.
A mixture of toys should aid babies in bettering their quality and sense of life, encouraging them to grow and learn. Such learning can be carried out both through expensive, flashier toys, or even from something as simple as a set of measuring spoons, a leaf, a box, or even a piece of crumpled paper. This means that parents and/or caregivers don’t necessarily need to break the bank in order to help promote their baby’s development and subsequent learning skills.
Thus, home-made, open-ended toys can make for easy options. ‘Open-ended’, ‘bottomless’ toys should be of differing weights, textures, materials, sizes, shapes, smells and colours. Household items one may consider ‘trash’, namely used egg cartons, tin containers, shoeboxes, etc., can provide hours of exciting play for a baby.
Fine Tuning Your Baby’s Senses
On the other hand, there are so many store-bought toy possibilities that shopping for one may be a daunting experience, given the immense features with which they often come packed. Toys should strike your baby’s interest and help them engage for a long duration of time through a mixture of stimulation, versatility and interactivity. Toys like boardbooks, hand and/or foot puppets, rattles, squeaky toys, small and easy-to-grasp toys, teething rings with a variety of textures, modelling dough, musical toys, simple puzzles, shape sorters, and stacking rings, amongst others, are all excellent choices for the younger babies and children.
Toys help the baby to engage and fine tune their senses, by for example giving the encouraging the baby to control the movement of their body, allowing the baby to figure out for themselves just how it is that things work, and giving the baby a sense of self within the world. Toys also teach the baby perspective and new ways of doing things, helping build coordination through muscle control and strength, and helping to harvest their imagination and creativity, simple problem solving, and solo-play. Toys ultimately teach children how to behave and co-exist with others.