Toys that Support Development

I wanted to keep it simple and do the theme, "want, need, wear, read" for  Christmas presents.

But I literally have enough books to start a library for the first five years of Charlie's life. He has plenty of clothes. In fact, too many.  And want/need… I had a new thought.

Just a side bar here. I'm FAR FAR FAR from super mom. I'm not the best when it comes to making the most nutritious meals for my child. Sadly. It's something I definitely need to develop in my parenting. He's fed! And he liked it. A victory. He doesn't get his bum changed as often as he should. He definitely doesn't get his teeth brushed as often as he should etc. We all do our best. 

 However, something I really value is child development through play.

something I really value is child development through play.

So with toys and books this year, I am not going to look at the most popular toy. I'm going to start with the developmental areas… see what toys he have that supports those areas. Notice where he may need more support and get the toys that can help him develop those skills!

Are you with me?

There are five main areas that children develop.

  1. Cognitive Development:  This is the child's ability to problem solve, count, math, etc. etc.
  2. Social and Emotional Development: The child's ability to interact with others. Something we are particularly working on is sharing space (not even to the sharing toys stage yet, just space) with other kids. This also includes self-regulation, which is practiced and learned over time.
  3. Speech and Language Development: Speaking, reading, text-rich environment…
  4. Fine motor skills: This is going to look different for each age and stage. Charlie has excellent fine motor skills. We play with stickers, he feeds himself etc. But instead of looking at where he's at according to his age. I look at what skills he has yet to learn and get him working on something beyond his abilities and support him through it. So if your child is 4, maybe that is drawing, maybe it's stringing beads on a necklace, maybe it's the little legos.
  5. Gross Motor Skills: Again we have no problems here. Charlie is a CRAZY climber. But he LOVES it. And I want to get him toys to use his gross motor skills in an appropriate way so he's not balancing on the edge of my couch trying to get the lights.

K, now that I did an intro on the five areas of development.

Think to yourself these two questions:

  1. What toys/activities do I have that would support these developmental areas?

  2. What developmental areas does my child need particular attention?

Rules of Thumb:

Toys that use more senses, will generally support more development.

Toys that have more than one use or purpose will support more development.

Toys can serve multiple developmental areas at the same time.

SIX MONTHS

  1. Cognitive Development:  Xylophone / Balls / Noise Shakers
  2. Social and Emotional Development:  Mirrors / Books
  3. Speech and Language Development:  Board Books
  4. Fine motor skills:  Xylophone / Balls
  5. Gross Motor Skills:  No toys need, just a clean space and opportunity to move . Place a toy they love out of their reach, put a mirror on a wall that they sit in front of.

ONE YEAR

  1. Cognitive Development:  Blocks / Dramatic Play / Sensory
  2. Social and Emotional Development:  Dramatic Play / Experiences
  3. Speech and Language Development:  Books
  4. Fine motor skills:  Chunky crayons / sensory activities / paint brushes / finger paints / cars
  5. Gross Motor Skills:  Slides, Ball Pit

TWO YEARS

  1. Cognitive Development:  Blocks / Dramatic Play / Sensory
  2. Social and Emotional Development:  Dramatic Play / Experiences
  3. Speech and Language Development:  Books
  4. Fine motor skills:  Art / Sensory / Building Materials
  5. Gross Motor Skills:  Playground / Trampoline

THREE YEARS

  1. Cognitive Development:  Blocks / Dramatic Play / Sensory
  2. Social and Emotional Development:  Dramatic Play / Experiences / Games / puppets / pet
  3. Speech and Language Development:  Books
  4. Fine motor skills:  Art / Sensory / Building Materials
  5. Gross Motor Skills:  Playground / Trampoline  / Balance Boards / Bikes

FOUR YEARS

  1. Cognitive Development:  Blocks / Dramatic Play / Sensory
  2. Social and Emotional Development:  Dramatic Play / Experiences / Games / puppets / pet
  3. Speech and Language Development:  Books
  4. Fine motor skills:  Art / Sensory / Building Materials / Piano?
  5. Gross Motor Skills:  Playground / Trampoline  / Balance Boards / Bikes / Scooters / Soccer / Basketballs / Tennis

 

My next blog will have specific ideas that work for various ages! (with amazon links for ease)

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Think to yourself these two questions:  What toys/activities do I have that would support these developmental areas?  What developmental areas does my child need particular attention?  Rules of Thumb:  Toys that use more senses, will generally support more development.  Toys that have more than one use or purse will support more development.  Toys can serve multiple developmental areas at the same time.