Raising a child in the age of the Internet is a difficult task. There is a lot of false information online that can seep into a young person’s brain, creating confusion and impacting their world view. Age-appropriate developmental toys are more important than ever before.
That’s why it is important to help your child learn how to think critically and use reason to solve problems from an early age. Luckily, there are more toys now than ever before that serve this purpose. Promoting a growth mindset in children is more important than ever. Learn about the best science toys, whatever your child’s age.
One of the most important things for a child to develop at an early age is the imagination. Here are nine toys that are not only fun but will boost your child’s mental capabilities.
1. Blocks and Cubes
Not only will your child have tons of fun with blocks, they serve multiple purposes. Blocks help children understand counting, shapes, ABCs, spelling, and colors. Children can stack, make patterns, and sort. They are also some of the oldest developmental toys around… a back-to-the basics type of wholesome toy. There are blocks strictly for building, arranging on the floor, stacking, and categorizing by shape or color. Then there are blocks in which your child can put them in ABC order and spell words.
Cubes are also excellent, like blocks, for developing fine motor skills. With cubes, children can stack and pull apart. They can also sort by color or by size. Learning Resources Mathlink Cubes set of 100 will help children of all ages. These blocks come in numerous colors and link together on all sides, sparking creative and mathematical thinking.
2. GYBBER&MUMU Wooden Preschool Shape Puzzle
This toy is deceptive in its simplicity. A wooden board with shape cutouts doesn’t seem like much, but it is a powerful learning tool.
Children can learn shapes and colors, and will also get a head start on problem-solving while figuring out which shape goes where. These types of toys help cognitive development in children.
3. VTech Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet
This is a great developmental toy for younger children. You can take easily take with you when you’re out and want to entertain your child. If your child wants to play with your tablet, they will enjoy having their own. This engaging touch tablet allows a child to mimic what they see their parents doing.
The VTech also helps children learn letters and numbers, giving them a head start. The lights and sounds will keep them interested and engaged. Bonus, it’s not too noisy.
4. WolVol Musical Activity Cube Play Center with Lights, 15 Functions, and Skills
Good developmental toys are ones that have multiple exercises. The WolVol has 15 different functions to engage your child and has sound effects to stimulate a child’s curiosity. It works to teach different motor skills. There are buttons, levers and knobs. There are some pieces which will engage your child to make music. Your child will be sure to love the little cell phone and microphone too.
This offers creative play in a compact space. This is a toy your child and his siblings will enjoy as it spans a range of ages and stages.
5. Magnetic Alphabet
Having kids use manipulatives helps to enforce skills and helps them learn in new ways.
One of the best ways to judge a child’s development is the alphabet. Language is not only an important way to communicate but opens up doors to creative expression, independent thought, and reading.
Your child can feel proud mastering smaller words — mom, dad, dog, cat, book, toy — as well as sorting them by color. In time, you can teach your child about vowels. Having tangible letters that kids can manipulate fosters and speeds up learning.
Children can leave messages on the refrigerator for their parents, learning new words along the way. The magnetic toys also allow for interaction between the parent and child, giving you the opportunity to take part in the teaching process. This is a simple developmental toy the entire family can enjoy. If your refrigerator isn’t magnetic, you can use these ABC magnets on a cookie sheet.
Even as my kids got older, we used these letters for them to practice their spelling words.
6. VTech Musical Rhymes Book
This musical rhymes book helps teach children how to read, associating words with sounds and images. This sound and word association will increase literacy in all age groups. It’s an advanced version of the old developmental toys we all remember from when we were kids.
The book also comes with play pieces to help develop motor skills. The book also has bright pages and a flashing star that lights up with the sounds and music, giving your child positive reinforcement for learning and playing.
7. Math Flash Cards
Basic math is the foundation for knowledge in STEM fields, and learning it at an early age will put your child ahead, enabling them to develop numbers sense at an early age.
Flash cards serve two purposes:
- Helping the brain memorize patterns needed for early math skills
- Providing positive reinforcement for learning
Math cards will also help you identify where your child needs help.
You can use flash cards to build on concepts your child learned with blocks. Show them “one plus one” on the card and have them do the same with blocks or cubes. Having them use math manipulatives along with flash cards will make it resonate with children more easily. You can make it fun for your child while enjoying spending time together.
There are also flash cards for letters, words, sounds, animals, telling time, and more. As your child gets older, you can use flash cards to help them study. We bought our fourth grader flashcards about the 50 states so she could practice learning the states and capitals.
8. Backyard Safari toys
Most developmental toys are for indoor use, which is problematic because children need to get outside and play. Backyard Safari solves this problem by taking play time outdoors.
These toys and gear enable kids to explore and discover while outside. Your child will be able to go out and explore nature, learn about insects and develop a sense of curiosity for the natural world while being outfitted in a safari vest or hat, using all the tools the professionals use.
Parents can encourage this learning by teaching their children about different bugs, plants, and insects that they find while playing. Science has never been this much fun!
9. Thames & Kosmos Master Detective Toolkit
Have you ever thought that you might have the next Sherlock Holmes in your home? Now is the time to find out!
The master detective toolkit is a great way to engage your young child in learning. By using forensic science, general biology knowledge becomes easy to digest.
Deduction and problem solving are also used when solving crimes using the toolkit. Playing detective develops imagination and curiosity. There is also an experiment book with a mock crime to solve. Step-by-step directions help crack the case and teach kids how to follow directions.
Parents can set up mini-mysteries for their children to solve, leaving clues around the house and yard. Children can also use the toolkit to play with other kids, solving these mysteries in teams. If you are looking for ways to spend more time with your child, this is a fun way to keep you both engaged. This is recommended for ages 8+, so, like playing with LEGO, it’s great for preteens who may be aging out of toys.
Developmental toys prepare children
Learning cognitive skills early in development helps children in school and social situations. Playing with the appropriate toys and proper parental engagement can give your child a head start to success.
That head start can help develop a gifted child, opening up opportunities for him or her. These opportunities lead to better schools and scholarships once they become college age.
One way to measure where your child is at in cognitive ability is the CogAT test. This test can be stressful for the parent and the child. If you decide to test your child, we are here to help with information and developmental toys like the Spacerail.
Investing in educational toys can make a big difference. These are the key years for your child’s learning and development. Stimulate your child’s curiosity and imagination and improve their fine motor skills. They will have plenty of time for the iPad when they’re teenagers!
Learn about how construction toys promote an interest in STEM.