Gift ideas for infants and toddlers – what are the best educational toys?
With small babies there are always plenty occasions for gifts. However, choosing a gift for child may be pretty challenging. Not every gift is a hit, sometimes presents are not suitable for baby’s age and developmental stage, sometimes they are useless or they quickly lose baby’s attention.
How to choose a gift that will be useful, entertaining and educational? Here are 8 gift ideas for children at different ages. These educational toys may be perfect as a gift for baby shower, first visit or baby's first birthday.
Activity Gym and Playmats
This is an example of a gift that has a long term value. Activity gym or playmat can be very useful for children at different ages and they are suitable usually since birth. It is a perfect place for infants for tummy time and overhead play. It’s also great for toddlers for seated play.
Usually these playmats have many colorful pictures and toys hanging over baby’s head – some of them rattle, make sounds like animals or even play music! Therefore it’s not only educational, but also very entertaining and engages baby in many ways.
This type of educational toys helps to develop baby sensory skills and motor skills: kids can learn how to grasp, reach, turn, roll and throw. Playmat is also a cozy space where baby can strengthen upper body during tummy time.
Rattle, activity toys
These activity toys are very versatile and engage little babies in many positive ways. They are usually animals and have many different colorful parts, fabrics and textures and make sounds to stimulate baby’s senses.
There is a rattling bear and owl, elephant with rustling ears and different parts that baby can chew during teething to massage sore gums. These toys are great not only for stimulating baby’s visor and hearing, but also help in tactile development, support hand-eye coordination and develop motor skills. Baby can shake, throw, grasp, squeeze and roll over.
There are many different parts that engage different senses and keep baby’s attention for a long time. Some parts rattle, other squeak, make sounds like animals or lighten up. Some of these toys can be used also as teethers and soothers. Many of them are suitable from 3 months, others from 6 months.
There are plenty education book made of soft material. Thanks to them learning new things can be so much fun! They introduce baby with names of animals, fruits, vegetable, vehicles, color, numbers and letters. They always have colorful pictures, some of them have different textures and fabrics to promote tactile development or make sounds to stimulate baby’s hearing.
Excellent way to develop baby’s cognitive skills and learn first words. Besides, during reading, parent can strengthen their bond with the baby. It’s never too early for reading to a baby. Therefore soft books can be great gift even for newborns!
Bouncers and jumpers
This type of educational toys is excellent gift for a baby that can sit straight and hold head up, but doesn’t walk yet. It provides safety and comfortable place for a child to learn and play. Baby seats in a bouncer or jumper and is surrounded by many colorful toys that engages his vision and hearing. Baby can reach out for the toys, grasp, squeeze and turn around to practice hand-eye coordination and motor skills. It is also a safe place for rocking, spinning and bouncing which allows baby to strengthen legs, back and neck.
There are many different type of blocks: large soft blocks made of plush fabric, wooden blocks and plastic blocks. Child can stack them up, built a tower or pyramid and then knock them down. These blocks have usually different shapes, patterns and colors which not only stimulate baby’s senses, but also helps them to learn to recognize and differentiate shapes.
Some blocks have also a box with shape sorter to promote cognitive development. Playing with blocks is super fun for infants and toddlers and it helps in motor skills and hand-eye coordination development. For older toddlers and preschoolers this toy is also excellent for socialization, because it encourages children to play together.
This toys offer many different learning and entertaining activities. They usually include shape sorters, buttons that lighten up or make sounds and play music when pressed, spinner that can be twisted and a slider. All to help in motor skills development and stimulate baby’s different senses. Activity cubes attract child’s attention for really long time and they are usually suitable since 9 months, but even 2-year-old children still likes to play with them.
Walkers, ride-on toys
They aid physical development and help children to take first steps, develop large motor skills, practice balance and coordination. There are many great walkers that have durable and sturdy construction, perfect for early walkers. Ride-on toys can be used indoor and outdoor and they are great for toddlers and preschoolers. Such a gift will serve even for few years! Thanks to walkers and ride-on toys baby can learn through active play. It’s perfect combination.
Toys for role play
There are many toys that encourage role play and help children to develop their social skills, practice verbal skills and promotes their imagination and creativity. One example of such a toy is a telephone. Baby can pretend to talk on the phone and learn common phrases like “hello” or “goodbye”. Another great educational toy for role play is a box with tools so the child can pretend to repair different thing.
There is also box with a plush puppy and accessories for pet care so the child can learn how to take care of a dog or cat. There's also a baby vacuum which is very helpful for introducing baby with household duties. This type of toys also encourage kids to play together and help them in socialization. It can be a perfect gift for a 9-month-old baby, but also a 2-year-old toddler.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zooey Barnett is a mother of three and a blogger on Little Baby Gear. She reviews strollers for newborns, toddlers and older kids and recommends the best baby products. On her blog you can read articles about pregnancy and parenthood and also find reviews of strollers like Baby Jogger City Tour or Britax B-Agile Travel System.