Going down the toy aisle of any store can cause a panic attack—there are so many cute things, fuzzy things, colorful things! Worst of all, every toy insists that it’s the best for your kid. What to believe; what should you pick? Here are seven things to consider when you buy toys for your baby.
1. The age range is suitable for your baby.
This is the first thing to look for. You don’t want to find the perfect toy, then realize that it’s still a year beyond your baby’s comprehension. This is also important to note when buying gifts for others’ children. Giving a gift intended for younger kids might insult the one you’re buying a gift for, so make sure to check for the appropriate age range.
2. It’s safe for your baby.
You’d think every toy on the shelf these days would be safe for babies, but that’s not true. Toys are safe for the most part, but a lot of this could be personal to you and what you want for your child. Thankfully, much of this is covered when you find age-appropriate toys for your baby: toys with small parts are unsafe for infants, but then again, they’d be marked for an older age range. Still, look at the components of the toy and see how it’s made. Does it seem safe for your child? Are there small screws that might come loose? Would the paint start to flake off the wood if your baby drooled on it?
3. It encourages creativity.
Toys that do everything for a child are no fun. Kids love to use their imaginations, so make sure you’re giving them toys that encourage this! Instead of a Lego kit to construct a ship, why not just buy some building blocks so your child can build whatever they want? Toys that cater to your child’s specific interests can be great sometimes, but also pull back a little and make sure you’re giving them a chance to make toys fun for themselves.
4. It promotes physical activity.
There’s plenty of time for your kid to get into video games once he or she is older. Why not start them off with more physical toys while they are young? There are toys that involve more action than just sitting on the floor playing, like toys that require the child to walk and push before they light up. Toys like this don’t have to be the newest and greatest—think of all the classic toys you might have played with. It was always fun to fly a kite on a beautiful day and run along behind! Don’t get stumped just because the toy aisle isn’t offering what you had in mind.
5. It grows with the child.
Raising a kid is expensive. And guess what? Kid’s toys are expensive, too! Don’t throw away all your money on toys that will only amuse your child for a few months. Take time to research and find toys that will grow with your child. There is a wide assortment of toys that start at one level for your baby, then can easily be transformed into something slightly different and more challenging as your child ages.
6. It provides a multi-sensory experience.
Find toys for your baby that do more than just one thing. Toys that light up, make noise, and have different textures will engage your child more than a toy that simply lights up. These types of toys have been proven to help children, especially those who have special needs, with stopping behaviors, reducing stress, and providing a different type of stimulation.
7. It encourages learning.
Toys that light up or make noises can be fun, but make sure they stimulate your child’s mind. They’re so young that they can pick up on things and learn quickly, so take advantage of this time! Invest in toys that ask for the child to problem solve or think critically to play or build with.