If you’ve recently given birth to a bundle of joy, you may have noticed that your house is now filled to the brim with colorful toys that squeak and shake. While this is a whole new ballgame of clutter to deal with, the great thing about children’s toys is that they have educational purposes, often without you even realizing it. The toys you have bought or had gifted to you for your new baby are designed with developmental goals in mind and have different benefits for children of different ages.

Naturally, some toys have better educational benefits than others. However, any toy can be used in a play setting and contribute to your baby’s educational development. For this article’s purpose, educational development refers to cognitive awareness, gross and fine motor skills, and kinesthetic reactions.

Using the toys that are now inhabiting your home, you can implement some of these strategies with your child to help give them a head start in their early educational development. With any strategy you choose to give a go, remember that this is all play-based and fun is the ultimate purpose, so enjoy the activity as bonding time with your baby and make the overall goal to see them smile.

Building Blocks

These simple three-dimensional squares have amazing potential for helping children develop their gross motor skills. Once babies are at the stage where they are gripping and reaching out with their hands, they are ready to start moving things with this grip. Blocks are great because they are larger than the span of a baby’s hand, meaning they have to use both hands to actually pick the block up. This develops the gross motor action of moving the arm and coordination of using both arms together.

Play Dough

This squishy delight is fantastic for children to experience something kinesthetic and get used to new sensations from the touch. Infants can develop fine motor skills by using their fingers’ tips to grip, squish, and poke. You can aid their inquisitive development with your infant by showing them how to roll a ball or make a play dough sausage. They may not achieve this, but they will be intrigued watching you do it, which is excellent for their cognitive development.

Musical Items

Get your ears ready for some exciting tunes when you allow your infant to let loose with a musical toy. While they may not immediately compose something worthy of Mozart, music is highly important for the early development stages. Toys with musical buttons or something like a xylophone where an action is required from the infant’s hand to create the music are the best. This means that infants are using their gross motor skills, or fine motor skills depending on the toy, to create an audible reaction. This will also delight your infants’ musical recognition and grab their attention with the sound. Have fun with your baby and musical toys, and enjoy the way their eyes and smiles light up at the sounds they can create.

Sensory Books

Reading to your newborn is one of the best things you can do as a new parent. At any age, books and stories tap into the imagination and allow words and images to formulate and collaborate in the developing brain. This is fundamental for imagination and literary skills further down the track. With your infant, books that have sensory features are fantastic. Think of books with touchy-feely things throughout it that can engage your child’s kinesthetic recognition. Books that have words to match the sensory object, such as rough or fluffy, are ideal as this means your baby is hearing the word and subconsciously associating it with the thing they are touching on the same page. Reading to your infant each bedtime is a great habit to get into from the youngest age possible.

Phone And Tablet Apps

 While screen time should be kept to a minimum in the early development stages, it is important to acknowledge that your baby is growing up as part of the technological generation in today’s society. This means that introducing them to apps and screens early on is beneficial. Consider apps with colors, sounds, and moving images to engage a variety of senses in your infant. Interactive stories are a fantastic feature. Just keep screen time to no more than 30 minutes a day as other play-based strategies are much more important for physical and cognitive development.


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