Baby Toys

Guide to educational baby toys

The best educational toys don't say "educational" on them. In fact, they don't need to have fancy labels or expensive price tags at all. The best educational toys for children's development are unstructured toys, meaning toys that don't only have one "right" way to play with them and that promote creative discovery.

Child development experts study children's growth by looking at several "domains" of development. We want to see children grow socially and emotionally, develop language and communication skills and use analytic thinking domains, including the abilities to sort, count and solve problems.

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Development also happens along a continuum, and no two children progress along the continuum of development at the same time. This is why instead of relying on prepackaged "educational toy" products, the best child care and child development programs are stocked with toys that are unstructured, engaging in many ways and able to grow along with each child. Children will use them in different ways as they grow.

What are the advantages of open creativity toys?

Unstructured toys have several advantages:

What do you need to stock your toy box with unstructured toys?

Here are a few items experts suggest you have on hand:

Really, it doesn't take much to ensure that your child has the advantages of exploring, mastering and reinventing unstructured toys. Even a shoebox will do at times! Just see the world through your child's eyes - as a place full of adventure and creativity - and the learning will happen through joyous play and discovery.

By Eva Smart