Your parenting journey starts the day your bundle of joy arrives and continues for a lifetime. Every decision you make for the little one feels important, right from the food they eat to the clothes they wear and the toys they play with. As a first-time parent, you find immense joy in toy shopping. It feels like reliving your childhood, but you may end up feeling overwhelmed when you step into a toy store. You cannot just pick a random one for your baby. There are several things you need to consider while shopping for them. Here is a toddler toy shopping guide to help first-time parents.
Prioritize quality and safety
Before anything else, quality and safety are two factors that matter the most. Quality is important because it ensures the best designs, materials, and durability. Never cringe at paying a little extra for something that looks good and lasts forever. Safety is even more crucial because little ones are explorers who love to experiment with everything. They will try to break the toys, taste them, and do impossible things with them. Just make sure they cannot hurt themselves during these experiments.
Pick multitasking options
Surprisingly, toddler toys can be multi-tasking too. Look for ones the kid can choose for playing different games. For example, they can use wooden blocks for making a road, a spaceship, or a bridge. Such toys are more than playthings for little ones. They spark imagination, help with creativity, and nurture logical thinking and problem-solving skills in the toddler.
Encourage physical activity
A baby is a bundle of energy, and loves to move around and do physical tricks. Being active makes the little ones strong and healthy. Parents need to provide them with baby activity toys that encourage movement in different forms. These help the toddler to practice their existing physical skills and develop new ones. Pick age-appropriate toys that match the current physical abilities of the child. Balls, pull-toys, tricycles, and gardening tools are the favorites.
Look for toys that grow with your child
When you opt for quality, you spend a lot on toys. You will expect the child to play with them for the years to come. It makes sense to pick ones that grow with your child and stay apt for years to come. Look for ones that can be fun to play with along different developmental stages of the toddler. The best examples are plastic animals, action figures, stuffed animals, and dolls. If you’re looking to shop toys for kids, consider these factors to ensure you invest in toys that are not only fun but also age-appropriate and versatile.
Get ready-to-read toys
You may think your baby will never grow up, but time flies. Before you know, your tiny tot will be ready to go to preschool. You can toss in some ready-to-read toys to prep them up with a happy start to their educational experience. Toddlers love books, markers, crayons, and alphabet letters. They make good options for early exposure to language learning skills.
Ten Tips for Toy Shopping
Here are some tips for selecting age-appropriate and safe toys for your child.
1. READ THE LABEL – Important details on how to use a toy and what age ranges it is safe for are provided on warning labels. Make sure to demonstrate proper toy use to your child.
2. THINK LARGE – To prevent choking, make sure that all toys and component pieces are bigger than your child’s mouth.
3. AVOID SHOOTING TOYS – Don’t play with toys that launch things into the air. They can choke you or result in severe eye injury.
4. AVOID NOISY TOYS – To avoid causing hearing harm to your child, stay away from noisy toys.
5. LOOK QUALITY MADE TOYS – The seams and edges should be secure, and all the parts should be fastened tightly. It ought to be machine washable as well. Remove any hanging strings or ribbons to prevent strangling. Avoid toys containing stuffing or pellets that, if swallowed, could result in asphyxia or choking.
6. LOOK FOR STURDY PLASTICS – A solid plastic toy should be purchased. Thin plastic toys run the risk of breaking into sharp bits quite readily.
7. AVOID TOXIC-CONTAINING TOYS – Avoid playing with toys that contain poisonous ingredients. Make sure “nontoxic” is printed on the label.
8. AVOID HOBBY KITS AND CHEMISTRY SETS – For kids under the age of 12, stay away from hobby kits and chemistry sets. They might have hazardous chemicals in them and can set things on fire or explode. Make sure your older youngster is capable of handling these toys safely.
9. BE CAREFUL WITH CRIB TOYS – While buying crib toys, exercise caution. All items that could enhance the possibility of entrapment, suffocation, or strangling should be kept out of the crib, including soft objects, loose bedding, and other items. When your baby first starts to push up on their hands and knees, or when the baby is 5 months old, whichever comes first, any dangling crib toy should be out of your baby’s reach. A newborn could be choked by these toys.
10. LOOK OUT FOR TOYS WITH BATTERIES/LOOSE MAGNETS – When purchasing toys containing small batteries, such as button or lithium coin or strong magnets, use caution. Younger kids might be enticed to put them in their mouths, noses, or ears if they become loose, which can result in severe injury.
Toy shopping can be fun and easy for first-time parents. But you must not pick every other colorful and pretty doll or car for your little one. Think quality, safety, and the long-term developmental benefits it will deliver.