Christmas is around the corner, and you’re starting to think about gifts for your little ones. But before you hand over your hard earned cash for the latest ‘educational’ electronic toy, think about this. Simple toys actually make for smarter babies.
That’s right. Those old fashioned wooden blocks and stacking toys are actually better for your baby.
How? The problem with electronic toys is that they tell your child what to do. Press this button. Look at this. Say this. There’s no room for creativity there.
Children solve problems with creativity
And yet children instinctively solve problems with creativity. They see what happens when they put this block here. Or that piece there. And if that doesn’t work, they’ll try another way.
Toys that tell children what to do don’t allow for the child’s natural creativity. Studies show that toys that allow the child to work out what to do with it means that they come up with all sorts of creative ways to play with them.
Studies also show that playing with electronic toys or media like ipads and television negatively impacts language development. Parents who read books, or play one on one with children help them to develop better language skills early on.
Your child watches you, and works out how to do it. Children learn through repetition. So your child plays with the toy again and again until they’ve worked out how to do it. If it’s a toy with creative possibilities, they’ll find another way to play with it until they’ve worked that out, too.
So what sort of toys should you offer your baby?
Classic toys are classics for a reason. Babies and children love them! They offer endless ways to play with creativity and imagination.
Offer children wooden blocks, stacking games, sorting games, blocks with sounds, and coloured blocks. Children use blocks to stack, sort, build, as animals, trees, and all sorts of other crazy things that they invent. They’ll build them up and knock them down. Use them as roads for cars, or as spaghetti for a pretend dinner, or a tall tower. They’re limited only by their imaginations.
Here’s some of our bestselling simple wooden toys:
- Im Toy Deluxe Blocks Walker
- Wonderworld Colour from Nature wooden blocks
- Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Boards
- Hape Creative Lacers
- QToys Shape & Size Board
- Wonderworld Rainbow Sound Blocks
- Melissa & Doug Wooden Geometric Stacker
Keep toys simple
Keep simple toys simple, and allow your baby to get the most out of them.
Offer only a few toys at a time. When you keep things simple, children can concentrate longer on one toy, and really get to grips with it. Otherwise they get distracted all the time and can’t concentrate and really learn.
Putting toys away, and only having a few out, means that children will really focus on what’s there. Then when they’re tiring of that toy, put it away for a couple of weeks and bring out some other ones.
Choose good quality toys that allow them to be played with in multiple different ways.
And in case you’re wondering, the principle is the same in the playground as it is at home. Simple is best.
I have a lovely example from my children’s primary school. Their school has a pine forest. And one of the most popular games in the pine forest, year after year, is cubbies. My children would come home raving about their wonderful cubby. And yet when I was taken to see these, they’d inevitably be a handful of sticks and a pinecone or two. But to my children, they were fairytale castles and forts.
So this Christmas, skip the expensive electronics and go with good quality, simple wooden toys. Your children will be smarter for it!
Don’t forget to check out Hello Charlie’s range of great wooden toys. Shop the range here.