As a parent, you probably have fond memories of some of your favorite childhood toys, and it only makes sense that you’d want to bring that same joy to your kids. While the toy aisle is constantly evolving, some classics have lasted the test of time — and for a good reason.
Here are four classics that should be staples in your child’s nursery.
From simple wooden blocks to brightly colored Legos, building blocks come in all shapes and sizes. Babies and toddlers can spend hours building, stacking, and then toppling their blocks over.
Besides providing plenty of fun, building blocks also serve as a powerful learning tool. Figuring out how the blocks fit together can help develop hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and mathematical skills. As toddlers play, they have to decide how many blocks they have, identify patterns, and then figure out how tall their tower can be.
In pre-K or kindergarten, children can use blocks to develop social skills with other kids. When your child builds, others might wander over and want to join in on the fun.
The best part is that the skill development that comes from playing with blocks will feel natural to your child — they probably won’t even realize they’re learning something.
So, you probably won’t be buying your 6-month-old a full-size drum set anytime soon, but you can start with a shaker. As soon as your kid has enough motor skills to grasp a rattle, they can start playing music. Many infants become mesmerized by the sound of music and the sounds they can create with a little bit of movement.
Once they’ve got more coordination, you can upgrade their rattle to a musical play set — like the piano or drums.
The cognitive benefits of musical instruments are endless by the time your child becomes a toddler. You’re feeding your baby’s attention span, brain growth, and language skills.
As your baby grows into a toddler, they’re learning to navigate the world for the first time. While their own feet might be unsteady, push bikes or “toddler bikes” can get them mobile.
The “little red tricycle” has been a signature toy for decades, and the design of these vehicles has only gotten safer. Push bikes can be safe for toddlers who are as young as 2 years old.
Toddler push bikes come as regular bicycles but also as tricycles that have a handle for parents to grab onto. With three wheels, the tricycle tends to be more stable. For tots that are still wobbly, you might want to start off with the tricycle before graduating to the bicycle.
Push bikes are also a toy that you can interact with, too. Whether you’re riding alongside your toddler or pushing behind them, it’ll be a bonding experience for both of you. And, even if you’re the one doing most of the work, cycling is a great form of cardio for your little one.
If your baby is trying to draw on the wall or make marks where they shouldn’t, it might be time to head for the art aisle.
Not all kids will grow into the next Picasso or Frida Kahlo, but most toddlers still enjoy drawing. Even just scribbling with crayons or markers can develop motor skills that transfer over into other parts of your kid’s life. If they’re able to hold a crayon correctly, they might have an easier time tying their shoes or working utensils.
Art is also a crucial way for toddlers and preschoolers to express themselves. They’re creating their own work and building self-confidence that can last for years. Many art or craft projects often require time, so as your kid draws or paints, they’re slowly learning patience and discipline.
Not to mention, there’s evidence to suggest that early art education plays an important role in developing visual-spatial skills. As they work, your toddler must analyze what they’ve created and what they need to do to make it better. Kids can start drawing when they’re as young as 12 months, so you can start art education whenever you want.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy an expensive art set for your kid to reap the cognitive benefits of drawing. A pack of crayons, washable markers, and some colorful construction paper are usually all that toddlers need to get started. If you find that your toddler really enjoys art, you can always upgrade to more advanced supplies.
Toys are constantly changing, and it can be difficult to keep up with every new trend that makes it to the toy aisle. However, many of the best baby toys are still the classics — the ones that continue to last the test of time.
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