There is nothing more joyful than watching a toddler learn. Did you know that most of a child’s brain and thinking functions are developed before they reach the age of 5? That’s why it’s so important to give their little brains all the fuel they need to form neurological connections and “exercise”. Here are some toys that are a huge help to a toddler’s learning and brain development.
Babys and toddlers learn a great deal from touching things. Have you ever noticed that they always bring things to their mouths? They are using the delicate touch receptors on their lips and tongue to feel of everything they discover. Since they are still babies, the swallow reflex is still very strong, as well, so when something goes into the mouth for the tongue to explore, it is often swallowed. This stage of learning requires vigilance on the part of parents and guardians to protect the child from his own curiosity. Commercial baby toys are constantly monitored for “choke hazards” that can break off or be chewed off by toddlers and lodge in the airways. And, this is one of the reasons that as you supply toys from everyday life for the child to explore, that you make sure they are safe. Great toys for this type of learning are plush toys and stuffed toys that have squeakers in them. But, don’t neglect other toys that the baby can handle, such as rattles, teething rings, and books.
With this in mind, realize that your child at this age will benefit from a variety tactile experiences. Soft, smooth, rough, furry – all of the different textures you can name – should be made available for your child’s experience. There are many toys on the market that will encourage learning in this area. Many books have textured inserts that the baby can feel as you read the book to him. There are also flash cards with textures on them. With these toys, toddlers can also learn about animals and elements of their surrounding world that have those textures.
Keep in mind, too, that children during this time are learning about the dimensional elements of physics. Cubes, triangles, orbs, and other geometric shapes are taking on dimension in their minds, as they play with toys in those shapes. They learn that round things like balls roll away from them, that cubes in the form of building blocks are stable and can be stacked, and that triangle shaped items are pretty much useless as toys. Each of these items will go to the lips and tongue, as the baby explores the dimensional aspect of each shape. Ring stackers give an idea of dimension, and the baby can grow into them as he learns about the difference in size, as well. Building blocks, balls, and rubber or plastic animals are valuable for this phase of learning.
Your toddler is learning at an astounding rate. Have fun finding areas of exploration for him!
About The Author
Jack Dunsworth enjoys writing about learning and growing up. After years of experience working for a company that sells baby toys, Jack started writing inciteful articles to do with parenting and family.