The baby and pre-school years are a fleeting but magical time. Little ones learn and develop in the blink of an eye and are filled with joy and wonder with every new experience and object they encounter. One day they’re on playmats and bouncers, then they pull themselves up and whizz off on a trike. Stages come and go so quickly and parents naturally want to give their child the best opportunities to develop and learn. A good range of quality toys go a long towards giving children the best start in life, at a stage when they absorb new information like little sponges.
Play is a serious matter. Skills developed through play include: touch and dexterity; listening, language and speech; object, shape, texture and colour recognition; sorting and matching; cause and effect; problem solving; strength and confidence; and a love for exploring and learning. And all this through having fun!
Books, puzzles, building blocks, CDs/DVDs, playmats and gyms, travel toys, wooden toys, bath toys…
These toys teach children valuable skills, as well as being hugely enjoyable. Playmats, nests and gyms help develop muscle strength and hand-eye coordination, with bright fun colours, textures and patterns. Building blocks further develop colour and shape recognition, dexterity and motor skills, and imagination. The best toys develop several areas of learning. Books and puzzles are great for more structured learning but also provide time to cuddle up and be enjoyed with all the family. Participating in these activities with children teaches them about the shared aspect of learning and playing. And reading to children, from an early age, can develop a lifetime love of reading, as well as promoting close bonds, contentment and security.
Wood and water are great natural materials for children. Wooden toys introduce warm, durable textures to play and are often clear favourites. Simple bath toys can give hours of measuring, pouring and splashing fun, and all without too much real mess! Also water play need not only be for the bath – paddling pools or a bucket can be just as much fun.