A child’s development is deeply affected by the environment and conditions they grow up in. This means that the toys that parents provide to children will have an effect on their development and how they adapt to the world around them.
Toys like sensory toys stimulate your child’s senses and are important because they help improve your child’s motor skills, social skills, language skills, and ability to learn in general. This guide will tell you what are the ten most important factors to consider when purchasing toys for toddlers.
The History of Sensory Toys
Sensory toys have been around for centuries, used by many cultures to stimulate the senses and soothe babies. The first recorded use of sensory toys was in ancient Greece, where parents would dangle objects in front of their babies to distract them from crying.
In the 18th century, German physician Johann Schultz wrote a book called The Sick Room Companion which recommended that sick children be given sensory toys to distract them from their illness.
In the early 20th century, French psychologist Alfred Binet conducted experiments showing that infants who were given sensory toys were more likely to develop higher intelligence than those who were not.
Fact 1: Children Need a Stimulating Environment
Most people believe that sensory toys are solely for entertainment. However, there are several important factors to consider when choosing the right sensory toy for your toddler. Here are things to keep in mind:
- Children need a stimulating environment. This means that their senses should be engaged to learn and grow. Providing a sensory-rich environment is essential for your child’s development.
- There are different types of sensory toys. Some engage the sense of touch, while others focus on sound or sight. It’s important to choose a toy that will stimulate all of your child’s senses.
- Not all sensory toys are created equal. Parents often have a difficult time deciding which one to buy because they’re not sure if it’s appropriate for their child’s age and needs. That’s why it’s best to seek advice from an occupational therapist.
- Toddlers are at risk of becoming overstimulated if they don’t have enough sensory play opportunities. Oftentimes, parents associate too much playtime with bad behavior and label it as rebellious. In reality, children can’t process so much information at once, so they act out by throwing tantrums or causing mischief to cope with the overload of stimuli.
- It’s common for toddlers not to want anything new because they’ve never experienced it before; this also applies to trying new textures and tastes!
Fact 2: Children Learn Through Play
Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play, children around the world spend less time playing than ever before.
The UNICEF Office of Research estimates that children aged zero to six spend an average of 38 minutes a day in structured play (activities led by adults), while older children aged six to 12 years old spend an average of just under four hours a day in structured play. These statistics show that most children are not getting enough playtime, which can have serious implications for their development.
Fact 3: Toddlers are Explorers
There’s so much to explore in the world, and toddlers are naturally curious. They want to touch, taste, and see everything they can. That’s why it’s important to have sensory toys that encourage exploration. These toys should be safe for toddlers to play with and easy for them to manipulate. Look for toys that have different textures, colors, and shapes.
Fact 4: Tactile Exploration Leads to Cognitive Development
One of the most important functions of sensory toys is to provide opportunities for tactile exploration. This is important because it helps promote cognitive development. Through exploration, toddlers learn about texture, temperature, and other properties of objects. They also learn how to manipulate objects and figure out how they work. All of this helps them develop their problem-solving skills.
Fact 5: Touch is Necessary to Bond with Others
One important factor that touch brings is the ability to bond with others. Human babies are born helpless. They can’t sit up, crawl, or walk. It would be impossible for them to survive without the care of another human. Physical contact is essential for babies to feel loved, bond with their caregivers, and develop a sense of security.
Fact 6: Touch Builds Self-Confidence and Improves Focus
The brain is like a computer; it needs the right input to function properly. The senses are the tools that the brain uses to gather information about the world around us. That’s why it’s so important for toddlers to have sensory toys.
Fact 7: The Senses are the Tools of the Brain
All human beings gather information about the world through their senses. This is how we learn. The five primary senses are sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Some researchers believe that there may be a sixth sense, called proprioception, which is the ability to sense the position and movement of our bodies in space. Babies can use this sense even before they can use their other senses.
Fact 8: Everyone needs Something Extra to Engage in Life
Sensory toys can provide that extra needed support to engage in life. They help by promoting exploration and curiosity, supporting development, and encouraging positive social interactions. They are beneficial for all children, but especially those with a sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder, or other special needs. Sensory toys can help toddlers in so many ways!
Fact 9: Create an Active Learning Environment Around Them
As children grow and develop, they learn best through active exploration of their environment. That’s why it’s important to create an active learning environment around your toddler. When you provide them with sensory toys that encourage movement, they can explore and learn about their world in a fun and safe way. Plus, by being active, they’ll stay healthy and fit!
Fact 10. Sensory play builds their self-esteem and confidence
Sensory play is so important for toddlers because it helps build their self-esteem and confidence. Through sensory play, toddlers learn about themselves and their environment. They figure out what they like and don’t like, what they’re good at, and what they need to work on. All of this leads to a stronger sense of self which in turn leads to more confidence.
Sensory toys are critical for a toddler’s development. They help with hand-eye coordination, sensory processing, and so much more. If you’re looking for the perfect toy for your toddler, make sure to keep these ten factors in mind. With the right toy, your toddler will be on their way to a bright future.