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Saturday, March 10, 2012

How to Choose Age-Appropriate Toys for Kids

By Nia Lawrence

Some kids toys have small parts that may be inappropriate for younger kids and infants as these pose choking hazards. There are toys for young kids that are unfit for the taste of older kids. On the other hand, there are toys for older children that could turn out to be a source of frustration to younger kids, especially if the toys seem confusing. Since not all toys are appropriate for all age groups, manufacturers aptly label these to target specific age groups. Hence, it's important to look for age-appropriate toys that kids would enjoy playing.

You wouldn't have a hard time finding age-appropriate toys for kids since these are easy to recognize. First, you need to check if the kids toys have loose or removable parts before letting your kid play with it. Young kids, especially babies, are inclined to put anything they touch in their mouths; thus, you need to make sure that the toys don't have small parts that break, lest the baby suffer from choking. You could choose toys that develop their sense of sound, sight, and touch. A few examples of toys suitable for children under one year old are teething toys, stuffed toys, and soft rattle.

No matter what you choose, it's important for parents and older companions to ensure that the moving parts of kids toys are firmly attached to avoid the risk of choking. Now, for children between the ages of 12 to 18 months old, age-appropriate toys are those with movable parts that enhance, stimulate, and develop their motor skills. Toys that twist and turn, make noise when pushed, toys that open and close, or any other toys that a child can manage on his own would be appropriate. Moreover, toys with knobs and dials that may be turned are ideal, too.

Colorful building blocks, push and pull toy cars, or foam shapes and letters would be most appropriate for toddlers aged 18 to 24 months. You need to give those kids toys that develop their hand and eye coordination especially during this phase when kids are much interested in colors and shapes. On the other hand, toys that stimulate the cognitive and physical skills of children such as tool sets, doctor sets, and kitchen sets are perfect for toddlers between the ages of two to three years old. Dollhouses, clay sets, puzzles, paint sets, and Lego sets that usually represent the interests of preschoolers are the appropriate toys for their age.

Although it's fun to buy toys for children, parents would do well to remember that a child's safety should always come first. Children are supposed to enjoy and learn from their toys, but if these would only put them at risk, they'd most likely be fine without the toys. Therefore, make sure you choose age-appropriate toys for kids, which they would most likely have fun playing with.

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