It is easy to become overwhelmed with the many choices of toys on the market. It can also be overwhelming to shop for kids who already have everything. As a PT, I have some favorite toys and games that address many educational and developmental issues.
This blog series will cover the best toys for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. These toy recommendations will foster a child’s development; encourage opportunities for exploration, learning, movement, and independence.
The Best Developmental Toys for Infants
Activity Mat. An activity mat allows for stationary and movable toys to encourage overhead play, which develops hand-eye coordination. It can also be used for tummy time to increase strength in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and trunk muscles.
Activity Mirror. An activity mirror is a great option to take everywhere. It can be used in the crib, the car seat, or propped on the floor to promote tummy time. This toy is great to stimulate visual and tactile senses.
Musical Instruments. Musical instruments are great for supported sitting and standing, crossing midline, visual tracking, and tummy time. They encourage the child to manipulate, move, grasp, reach, and shake. Musical instruments are great toys at any age.
O-Ball Products. An o-ball is helpful for encouraging rolling, motivating tummy time, facilitating sitting and crawling. They are flexible and allow for the child to grasp and manipulate as well as are visually stimulating due to their bright colors.
Ring Stacker. There are many different options for ring stackers but you can’t go wrong either way you choose. A ring stacker is beneficial for a child’s hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It engages their sense of touch, sound and vision. A ring stack is a great toy to encourage tummy time and independent sitting.
Tactile Rings. Tactile rings engage the child in tummy time, independent sitting, sidelying, and encourage rolling. Each ring is made up different tactile material to promote future fine motor skills by using small muscles of the hands. These tactile rings also promote reaching, grasping, and hand to mouth movement, which will be beneficial for self-feeding skills as the child gets older.
Listed above is only a short list of toy recommendations. There are many more options that you can choose from that will be equally as good as those above. However, these are some of my favorite tried and true toys that address some of the important building blocks for development.
Stay tuned for next week when we discuss toy recommendations for toddlers.