Courtesy of Learning Care Group

The Learning Care Group, provider of early education and care services to children, has shared their toy suggestions.

Infants should learn about size, shape, sound, texture, cause and effect, and repetition. Soft squeezable toys are suggested for this age group to help babies practice grasping and reaching. Plush pull toys will strengthen the baby’s muscles while press-together bricks, blocks, or pop beads will help develop eye-hand coordination. Brightly colored, lightweight toys with texture will encourage the baby to touch and explore.

Toddlers tend to be very active and physical. They also enjoy make-believe and imitating the adult world. The Learning Care Group suggests play sets with people, animals, and cars to promote and expand language skills. They also recommend children’s music, children’s books with colorful pictures, dolls, and stuffed animals. Music helps with the development of listening skills and allows toddlers to experiment with different sounds, rhythms, and patterns. With music, toddlers also learn new vocabulary and story elements.

Preschoolers tend to be interested in each other and the world around them. They enjoy showing off their newly-learned numbers and the alphabet. Puppets encourage preschoolers to explore the difference between fantasy and real-life. Puppets also allow children to expand their language skills by telling stories. Sand and water toys are also recommended for this age group as they allow children to explore size, weight, and measurement concepts. Jump ropes, balls, hula-hoops, and riding vehicles are a great way to get the kids active and help with the development of motor skills, balance, and self-esteem.

School age children tend to be influenced by peers and gender identity. Kids in this age group use advanced social skills. The Learning Care Group recommends complex puzzles to encourage experimentation with cause and effect, strategic thinking, and problem-solving.  Arts and crafts will encourage children to be creative and will raise their aesthetic awareness. Fitness toys such as balls, beanbags, and jump ropes allow children to exercise while gaining self-confidence and developing motor skills. Both fiction and non-fiction books are recommended to aid with reading skills as well as expand children’s knowledge skills.

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