Imagine this…. You walk into that giant toy superstore hoping to buy some unique toddler gifts only to find you have no idea where to start! If this sounds familiar, keep reading to learn how to pick the right brain boosting toys to encourage and enhance key milestones by age group.
Birth to 6 months
This age group is by far our favorite to buy for. The brain is developing at an astonishing rate and every sound, smell, sight, taste and touch is stimulating the brain to develop faster and denser.
Infant toys that provide visual, auditory and tactile stimulation are excellent for this age group. Look for toys that can be clipped onto the stroller, above a playmat or onto the car seat for plenty of stimulation when baby is awake.
The toy should have some high contrast black, white and red areas as well as areas made up of bright primary colours (Blue, yellow, red). This is sure to provide the right visual stimulation required for babies at this age.
Next, ensure the toy has areas that make a sound, such as a bell or crinkle flap. Lastly, if the toy also has areas made up of different textures, you are on to a winner!
It may not seem like much but for the baby, this will provide months of stimulation and engagement.
Not sure how to make the most of these fabulous finds? Prodigy Packs provide parents with information on how to support their child’s early development using simple, fun and engaging activities. We also save you the trouble of scouring the stores by providing handpicked educational and stimulating toys tailored for your child’s age group and delivered straight to your door, 4 times a year.
6months to 12months
This is usually the age where most parents will see their baby show more interest in toys. Perhaps you’ll have noticed your baby reaching out and grasping at toys or perhaps they prefer to repeatedly drop them from their stroller or highchair. With so much cognitive development occurring at this age, it is difficult to decide what to talk about first!
At this age, babies will start to understand object permanence (that something still exists even if baby can’t see, feel or hear it any more). In conjunction, babies also begin to understand their actions (eg pushing a button on their musical toy), will cause a reaction (makes the music play), otherwise known as cause and effect. This is also the age when gross motor skills are continuing to develop with baby beginning to roll, sit, crawl, stand and even start to walk in some cases.
Choosing toys that cover all key focus areas for this age group can be a tall order. Musical toys, wooden pounding balls and shape sorting cubes are great for stimulating cause and effect, hand-eye coordination and supporting object permanence.
Something as simple as a pull-back car will stimulate these skills but will also encourage the baby to become more mobile and enhance gross motor skills as baby tries to reach for the cars or attempts to crawl after them.
Continue to seek out toys and books with a range of bright colours, textures and sounds to continue to build these focus areas.
Babies at this age will also show much more interest in picture books, especially if the books have plenty of flaps to peek under. What a great way to start introducing more diverse vocabulary.
Finding the shopping experience too overwhelming or would rather just have someone handpick age appropriate toys for you? Consider subscribing for a quarterly Prodigy Pack to have handpicked branded educational toys and activities delivered straight to your door.
12months to 24months
Its mind blowing to think about how much development has occurred already and yet your child is still expanding their brain and building those neurons at a staggering speed. Finding gift ideas for toddlers that parents will love doesn’t have to be difficult.
Look for toys that build vocab, social skills, motor skills, introduce new concepts and independent learning. “How on earth do you cover these skills in a single toy?”, I hear you say. You could start by letting our experts at Pint Sized Prodigy curate the perfect quarterly subscription box full of handpicked, age appropriate toys designed to support and enhance key milestones.
Something as simple as a colourful stacking toy will help your child learn the names of different colours and support colour recognition. It will also serve to enhance hand eye coordination and independent learning whilst helping to introduce concepts such as “bigger and smaller”. These concepts are essential for understanding and applying math. Lastly, social skills such as turn taking can be practiced when playing alongside a sibling or parent.
2years to 4 years
Some key focus areas for this age group include enhancing fine motor skills, continuing to build vocabulary and language, promoting school readiness with basic literacy, numeracy and life skills and nurturing their curious and inquisitive minds.
For this age group, imaginative play is a great way to encourage the use of language and life skills. Dress up sets, plastic food, work tools and toy medical kits will keep children entertained for hours.
Toys that promote discovery such as magnifying glasses and bug catchers are not only fun but also support many of these key focus areas. Imagine a child using their fingers and thumb (pincer grasp) to pick up a bug, looking closely at the bug to count legs, then constructing sentences to describe what they see. How many of those key focus areas have already been stimulated?
Mini Prodigy Packs such as the Autumn Outdoor Mini Prodigy Pack provide engaging activities designed to promote learning through play. Parents are given clear direction on how to support the learning whilst also providing a concise analysis of how the activity is benefiting the child.
We hope this guide has provides you with some holiday gift ideas. If you liked this guide, please don’t forget to share it with your friends and family on social media.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates
We are a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites
Keep your children engaged
Sign up to be the first to hear news from Pint Sized Prodigy.