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Toys That Can Encourage Your Child's Development

Updated on April 7, 2015
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LaDena is a special education teacher that loves to write. She writes about things that interest her and things she loves!

Make Sure Toys Are Developmentally Appropriate For Your Child


Developmental Milestones through One Year

While not all children develop at the same pace, here is a general guideline of a child's development:

Birth to 3 months -

  • Your child is seeing things as a blur, but his hearing is fully developed. Sit with your child close to you and sing songs and talk with your child. Show your child patterns with blacks and whites and reds to help him focus.
  • Give your child plenty of tummy time - help her to develop those core muscles. Let her explore her world from her tummy.
  • Your child wants to lift his head and push himself up. Encourage this with tummy mats and toys that he can reach for.

3 - 6 months -

  • Your child is beginning to babble at this age. Encourage her by talking to her. Tell her all about your day. Explain what you are doing as you go through your daily routines.
  • Your child should be holding his head up on his own by now and trying to sit up. Encourage this by sitting your child in your lap as you sit criss cross on the floor.
  • Your child should also be smiling and cooing. Encourage this by placing a non-breakable mirror at her level and show her how to make silly faces.

6 - 9 months -

  • Your child should be sitting on his own. Give him toys that encourage this such as stacking toys or blocks.
  • By the end of this time your baby may be starting to pull herself up to a standing position. Use toys that encourage this such as table games or toys that encourage beginning walking.

9 - 12 months -

  • Your child is beginning to scoot and crawl by now. Now is a great time to play with balls and other objects that will roll away from your child so he can chase them.
  • By the end of this time is when you really want to encourage the walking toys. Although many children don't walk until around 18 months old or longer, you can help encourage your child by providing toys that allow her to stand and walk along.

Encourage Your Child's Development Through Play

There are so many cool toys that help children to learn these days. Some are new and electronic while others are old fashioned toys that have been around since the dawn of time. No matter what kind of toy, make sure that you sit down and play with your child, as well. All of the toys in the world won't do as much good as a few hours a day of quality time with mom and dad.

Developmental Toys for Children Birth to Six Months

Tummy mats – there are a variety of these out now. Some are simple play mats that allow babies to lie on their tummies while looking at different patterns on the mat. Others are more advanced and have buttons to push that make a variety of noises. All are great and they encourage much needed tummy time.

Stuffed animals – again, there are a variety of stuffed animals around now. Some animals are just simple stuffed animals – teddy bears, horses, cats, dogs and bunnies are just a few. Some have electronics that can teach a variety of things such as the alphabet or colors. Other can even read stories to your little ones. Stuffed animals can teach pretend play or any of the activities that might be on the animal.

Toys For Children Six Months to One Year

Babies are starting to explore their worlds at this age. Things that can help them explore will be fun for your child.

Blocks – Soft blocks that encourage your child to build and stack are fun for them. If they have bright, bold colors, they are even better. Wooden and plastic blocks that attach to one another so that your child can make towers and such things are also fun.

Bead mazes – those little wire and bead mazes that have been a staple at doctor’s offices for a while are now available for your home. These bead mazes encourage creativity and problem solving. As your child gets older these mazes can also teach colors.

Musical or learning tables – these tables are often made with different buttons to push that make different noises and play different songs. Some play familiar nursery rhyme songs and the alphabet. Some even teach another language. All have bright colors to encourage your youngster to play.

Stacking toys – these can be blocks or rings that are made to be stacked in a certain order, usually from big to small or from small to big. Either way they encourage small motor development for your child.

Encourage Your Child To Play With A Wide Variety Of Toys


What About You

Does Your Child Have A Variety Of Age Appropriate Toys?

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Toys for Children One to Two Years Old

Children at this age are starting to crawl and walk. Toys that will encourage this are wonderful.

Walk to ride – toys in this category are ones that will help your child to walk. Often they are toys that start out as one that can be pushed as your child walks along and then they convert to toys that can be ridden on later on.

Musical toys – there are many musical toys that encourage your child to make noise. Many of these toys are made to pull along behind your child – xylophones, drum sets, guitars and pianos are popular musical toys for children.

Toys For Children 3 to 4 Years Old

Two to three years old –

Magnetic letters and number – these can be used to teach letters and numbers, as well as colors and sometimes even shapes. Children can begin to spell their names and simple words such as cat, dog, mom and dad.

Electronic learning games – there are tablets and laptops made especially for this age of child. Made simpler than mom and dad’s laptops and tablets, these teach children colors, numbers, letters, shapes and a variety of other things your child should know before kindergarten.

Pretend play – toy houses, kitchen sets, barbecue sets, and other play sets encourage children to pretend and expand their imaginations. Put dress up clothes with these sets to really encourage their imaginations!

Developmental Toys For Children 4 to 6

Children this age are beginning to go to school. They want to learn. There are many toys and games that can help to encourage your child to learn.

Puzzles - wooden puzzles with just a few pieces are great for younger children, while puzzles with more pieces can keep older children entertained for hours. There are puzzles that represent anything your child may be interested in - from a favorite television show or movie to a favorite activity such as dancing or playing with trucks.

Books - While you should have been reading to your child all along, he or she is now old enough to read a few books on his or her own. There are board books with just a few words in them to simple chapter books depending on where your child is at academically. And of course there are books about every subject under the sun!

Play dough - children this age love to get their hands messy while they play. This is a great time to introduce play dough. Children can mold anything from play dough including letters and shapes and complete scenes. There are even sets that help children design whatever their little hearts desire.

Activities and Toys for Children 6 to 10 years old

Children this age have been exposed to school and higher thinking skills. They want to expand their knowledge while playing.

Science activities - there are science museums and stores that cater to your child's inner scientists. There you can find kits that can teach your child about plants, dinosaurs, rocks, electricity or about their own bodies. Some of these kits require parental supervision - but you should be spending time with your child anyway. Have fun with them - maybe you'll even learn something new!

Kites - whether you make a homemade kite from sticks and newspaper or buy a fancy kite from the store, you and your child will have fun learning about how the wind works while you play. Trying to keep the kite in the air is half the fun - spending time with your child and laughing about how many times your kites fall is even more fun!

Bicycles - Children in this age group want to some exploring on their own. While I wouldn't suggest letting a six or seven year old ride a bicycle out of your sight, they feel more independent when they can get places on their own. Children who are closer to ten years old may have a little more freedom - if you live in a safe place you might let them ride their bike around the block - or maybe down to the end of the street. Either way, children can have a little more independence - even if mom or dad is following behind at a safe distance.


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    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Seafarer Mama - thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 4 years ago from New England

      Great hub about children's toys. Great organization of information according to age groups. Voted up and useful.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Thanks for reading Frank! I hope this is helpful for those new parents!!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Hatter - thanks for reading!! I am so glad that I have grandchildren - I still have an excuse to buy cool toys!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Very important hub for young parents or newly weds who plan on being parents well done again Justateacher :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I was a dad who bought myself toy. My kids were just an excuse, sorry but thanks again.