Are Interactive Toys Useful for Babies and Toddlers?
Our First Toys are Important for Development
Toys help babies and young children to experience and learn about the world they live in. Age appropriate toys are actually very important for development of the senses, physical skills, and the intellect. They are also important for social development, expanding a child’s horizons and gaining an understanding of their place in the world. Good toys are not just entertaining, they are a motivation to play and to learn.
First toys should be stimulating. A bright and colorful mobile that plays music will fascinate most babies, and will stimulate sight and hearing, as well as help motor skills and hand/eye co-ordination.
Between 3 and 6 months, babies become more aware of size, colors, tastes and textures. Most have discovered their mouths, hands and feet. They like to grasp and can hold on to toys, wave and shake them.
Active Toys, Actively Promote Development
Between 6 and 9 months old, most babies are able to sit and may be learning to crawl. They will be actively pinching and grasping objects with fingers and thumbs, and learning fine motor skills. This is usually a time of bath time fun - filling objects with water and making ducks squeak are highly entertaining for this age group. “Dry land” activities encouraging movement, stretching and reasoning are particularly important. Here the classic toys such as balls and fitting objects into other objects come into their own.
Each child will develop at their own rate, but watch out for the stage where they discover that they can make things happen. You won’t miss it because once they find that pushing a button makes a song play or a light turn on, they are likely to repeat it over and over again.
This is the time when interactive toys will become interesting. The baby can now 'provoke' a toy and enjoy getting a response. They start to learn about cause and effect, language and roles.
Cute and Cuddly Interactive Toys
Many young children are fascinated by smartphones and tablets. You have almost certainly seen babies and toddlers playing with mum or dad's iPad. They simply love interactive touchscreens and the exciting actions that result from a touch. In short, interactive toys are fun, friendly, and educational for a young child.
The real magic comes from combining interactive technology with a lovable plush creature, such as a teddy bear, a lion or a puppy. My favorite of the bunch is the interactive Beary happi. You can download the free HappiTaps app and place your phone in the bear-design plush cover to make a real 21st century toy.
Beary Happi and Puppi Love
Beary Happi is a cute teddy bear. In fact, he is part of the next generation of teddy bears. When paired with a smartphone, he comes to life. Children can listening to him chat, tell jokes, tell stories or sing songs. They can nuture and feed him, as well as help him go to sleep.
Beary Happi, powered by a baby toy app, has more than 150 different expressions. A great way to keep children engaged and enjoying some fun learning experiences.
Puppi Love is a pet who doesn't need feeding. No mess to clear up either! He is similar to Beary Happi, and provides hours of interactive fun for toddlers and small children. The Puppilove app is interesting and entertaining with more than 150 built-in facial expressions. You also have the security of knowing that the Puppilove cover locks your phone so kids stay within the app.
Beary Happi in Action
Laugh and Learn Cases for Kids
Fisher-Price also make a good range of cases, which can protect your devices from dribbles, sticky fingers and rough treatment. They can also help minimize the possibility of random baby phone calls to surprised friends, family or strangers. The learning apps are available to download free from the App Store.
For children ages 6 months and up, this dribble-resistant case will protect your device while baby enjoys games or FaceTime with the family.
The Fisher-Price Apptivity Monkey is a plush toy and an interactive learning toy for use with mom or dad's phone. Kids can squeeze the monkey's hands and feet to interact and learn about colors, numbers, songs and animals.
Children and Technology
Should small children play with iPhones?
Five-legged, huggable case that lets kids play games, listen to music or watch video while protecting your device with a see-through pocket and Velcro closure integrated with the plush toy, for children 3 years and older