Ready, steady… PLAY!
We all know that one moment… baby is totally engrossed with a toy. She is playing all by herself
and you can’t believe that you’re actually gonna have time to do… ANYTHING!
It’s like that women in the classic Aero ad, you’re in a blissful bubble, surrounded by peace and feeling oh-so serene.
Oops! Sorry to burst your bubble but although buying entertaining toys keeps your child out of your hair (for a bit), it is
definitely not what you should focus on when buying items for your child.
Toys are way more important to your child’s development than you might think!
It develops language skills
Story time is not only great for bonding, it’s essential to develop baby language skills!
Research has shown that by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language.
The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk.
Hearing words helps to build a rich network of words in a baby’s brain. Kids whose parents frequently talk/read to them know
more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. And kids who are read to during their early years are more likely
to learn to read at the right time.
Don’t have time to read stories? The Picture Book Buddy is perfect for a first book;
With beautifully illustrated pictures and soft crinkly pages it’s easy to turn, with sweet day and night scenes.
Little Tiger can be baby’s friend and together they can “read” the story.
It helps learning fine and gross motor skills
Just starting out as a foundation phase teacher I had no clue what all the fuss was about fine- and gross motor skills.
It sounded like fancy words that teachers use – to confuse parents!
A motor skill is an action that involves your baby using his muscles.
Gross motor skills are larger movements your baby makes with his arms, legs, feet, or his entire body. So, crawling, running,
jumping and throwing a ball are gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills are smaller actions.
When your baby picks things up between her finger and thumb,
Or wriggles her toes in the sand, she’s using her fine motor skills.
These skills are the building blocks for all the learning that is still to come. It’s about exercising muscles (big and small)!
For your baby to really do things for himself, he’ll need to use gross and fine skills together.
for example, when kiddo is about 18 months old he’ll be able to use a shape-sorting toy like the butterfly sorter.
This is great for developing fine- and gross motor skills.
He’ll use gross motor skills to hold his body steady enough to grasp the shapes firmly. He will
then use fine motor skills to twist or turn the shapes. There is six chunky, colourful shapes to help baby’s fine motor skills take flight!
Make sense? See, now you won’t look all flabbergasted when the teacher talks about gross-and fine motor skills.
It develops social skills
We all know that no kid can resist Mommy or Daddy’s cell phone. Yes, it’s annoying but it’s actually baby’s first attempt at socialising.
Putting the phone (or any other object for that matter) against their ear and saying “Hello” is not only cute, but baby is
learning important social skills.
The Chatter Telephone encourages early role play, the dial introduces baby to numbers and counting from 1-9 and helps exercise fine motor skills.
*Remember that most toys integrates more than one skill. Most toys are not limited to developing only one skill.
Encourage cognitive thinking (cause and effect)
Simply put: If I cry, Mommy comes, If Mommy laughs, I laugh. Babies are learning cause and effect from early on.
Lil’ Snoopy is the perfect toy to teach cause and effect:
(Baby grasp the leash and pull, Snoopy walks).
Stacking rings like the classic Fisher Price rock-on-rock-a-stack are another perfect example: Mommy stack the rings, if I push them they fall.
It creates a sense of safety
After all this technical stuff this one is the easiest AND the most fun!
Just PLAY with your baby!
Take time out of each and every day, no matter how busy you are to play with baby. It creates a sense of well-being and safety.
Any toy or game which you can play with your child teaches them that mum and dad are there for them, that you
value them and that they are living in a safe environment.
So, next time you are feeling overwhelmed in a toy store, think about what you are buying!
Quick questions to ask yourself:
• Can your child play with this item independently?
• As well as with others (siblings, parents, caregivers) to promote socialization skills.
• Does it support your child development in the key areas as discussed above?
**All toys mentioned are from Fisher-Price and available at leading toy stores nationwide.
We are teaming up with Fisher-Price to give one lucky reader this fabulous hamper of educational toys!
The hamper consist of:
1 x buddy book
1 x Little Snoopy dog
1 x Butterfly sorter
Total value: R500.00
Go to our Facebook page and LIKE (our page), COMMENT (favourite play-activity with kiddo), SHARE (the post) and TAG a fellow mama,
to stand a chance to win this educational price.