Sunday, 3 February 2019

Toys that Stimulate Brain Development in Toddlers

The nature of toddlers is very fragile, that is, we should handle them carefully. They are always on the move and does not like to sit idle. We are also not sure what things will keep them occupied and for how long. They are curious and tend to do those things that we adults like to do, but we don't want them to do at this point of time. As toddlers are too young to attend a main school, they tend to learn from the toys we provide them to play. Thus it is extremely important to choose useful and age-appropriate toys for your toddlers to encourage intellectual stimulation, motor skills and physical growth.
Toys that Stimulate Brain Development in Toddlers

I have classified toys into below 4 categories:

Activity Play Toys

  • Riders are a good option for kids aged 1.5 years and over. Not only they help in building the kids muscles but also help in improving their gross motor skills. I got one for my daughter when she turned two and she enjoys driving it around the house.

  • Play Dough is a modelling compound that kids can use to develop something out of their imagination. They can cut, roll, mould, chop, etc that not only develops their hand muscles but also stimulate their sensory skills. Similarly, Play Mais is a corn made product that kids can use to develop objects as per their own wish. A piece of advice to make most out of this activity is to sit with the child and interact with them on what they can make and how to achieve it. Also, keep instructing the child not to take the dough in the mouth
Play Mais

  • Kinetic Sand is primarily made of sand and polymer which can be shaped and moulded easily. They come in different colours, have non-toxic properties, usually are odourless and are mess free, that is, they don't stick on our hands and can be easily cleaned up. Kids love to manipulate the sand into different shapes and sizes and is a very calming and occupying activity for them. I even tried playing treasure hunt activity by hiding few items in the sand and asking my daughter to find them.
Kinetic Sand

Pretend Play Toys

  • Toys such as kitchen set, doctor sets, telephones, walkie-talkies fall under this category. Such toys encourage your child to use words and language in fun and meaningful ways and help nurture your child’s vocabulary—the words he/she uses to communicate their own thoughts and ideas.
Doctor Set

  • I got a Doctor and a Kitchen Set for my daughter and she has been playing with them on a regular basis. She understands a thermometer is used to check fever, a stethoscope is put around the ears and medicines are given when someone falls ill. Similarly, she understands food is cooked inside the kitchen and it is supposed to be eaten with spoon and fork.
  • Parents can silently observe what their child has learnt by seeing their child play with the dolls. My daughter loves pretending being a mother of her dolls.  For instance, I keep telling my daughter to pee in the washroom pot. One day she took her doll in the washroom and instructed her to pee there. Similarly, when I face network issue on my phone, I usually step outside of the room to talk. Many a times I have seen my daughter do the same with her toy phone.
Toys that Stimulate Brain Development in Toddlers

Educational Toys

  • Toddlers play and learn mats are available in the market which are the most basic and easiest way of educating a child. I got 2 mats - one having alphabets and numbers and one having birds and animals pictures. I started teaching my daughter to identify the alphabets on a regular basis by giving examples and she quickly started recognizing most of them. Similarly, the birds and animals mat even had a sound on their picture which helped my daughter in recognizing their sound as well.
Play Mats

  • Educational Play Cards, such as having pictures of fruits and vegetables, are also an effective way of teaching about them. I even placed real fruits and vegetables on their respective card for a better understanding.
Play Cards

  • Building Blocks/Lego and Puzzles are another good way of educating your child if your child shows interest in them.  My daughter likes joining the blocks and develop a tall structure. Similarly, I have got a couple of puzzles, such as match the card with the board pictures or placing the right shape on the board to enhance her intellectual development
  • Lastly I have got a plethora of educational books, which I use at regular intervals to maintain her interest in them. There are various categories in books, such as activity books, reading books, sensory books, etc. You can get more information on the below link. ( Books are an interactive way to communicate with your child and also helps in fostering the child's receptive vocabulary.

Creative Play Toys

  • For kids below 1, I would suggest finger puppet toys is a creative way to interact with your child and develop early communication skills in them.They can be used for story building which binds the interest of the toddler and this helps in enhancing their concentration.
Finger Puppet Toys

  • As toddlers gain greater control over their voices, they appreciate toys like microphones or musical instruments such as keyboards and pianos. Small performances motivates them and gives them self esteem and confidence.
Toys that Stimulate Brain Development in Toddlers

  • I even got a Camping Tent for my daughter where she likes to play with plastic balls, an environment similar to an indoor play area.
Toys that Stimulate Brain Development in Toddlers

To conclude as your child's brain continues its rapid development, it's important to actively nourish intellectual growth with fun and knowledgeable toys designed for this age group. While selecting any toy, we should keep our child's interest in mind, while encouraging them to expand their horizon. If we make them play with a toy and we are busy surfing our mobiles, then let me assure you the child's interest in the toy will be minimal. Rather his interest will be more on what we are doing and that is why they easily get attracted to electronic gadgets. This is the stage where a child requires maximum attention from the parents and we should direct all our efforts for their development.