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PLAY AND DEVELOPMENT

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

WRITTEN BY SALLY HILLS-DAVIS, CHILDRENS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST AND KIRSTY BROCKLEHURST, CHILDRENS PHYSIOTHERAPIST



Children from a very early age enjoy play, even without toys.

There are a few basic things to think about before buying children’s toys. Is your child actually going to play with the toy, how are they going to play with it and can it help to develop their skills?


Below are a few ideas of toys that different ages may enjoy.

Babies – Toys that are coloured with black and orange are really good for babies to be able to see. Toys that can be held and make sounds such as a rattle. Toys that light up or have different textures can be used for a sensory prospective. Thinking about the size and shape is useful as to how they can hold the toy and if it can be passed hand to hand such as a bell or teething ring. Lastly does it have a cause-and-effect aspect to it, so when pressed, something happens such as a frog in a box or a squeaky toy. Children begin to walk from 9 months upwards, so push along walkers are often enjoyed, giving additional stability to a very unstable child. Here is a list of toys that you may want to explore:

Rattles

Bells

Teething rings

Soft ball

Push along walkers


Toddlers – Toys that can be transported from setting to setting are good for this age. Children are beginning to use their hands with more complexity, so toys that require more precision can be bought such as bricks or a post box. Children begin to enjoy make believe, so baby dolls or teddies that need to be tucked in to bed, start being enjoyed. Children enjoy chasing balls. Here is a list of toys that you may want to explore.

Insert puzzles

Crayons and paper

Pre reading books

Balls

Musical bells

Play house

Ball pit

Stacking cups and building blocks

Messy play

Shape sorter

Basic puzzles


3 years and upwards- Toys that involve using the imagination such as dressing up clothes. Toys that involve using two hands together such as Duplo or blowing bubbles. Toys that involve using a three-finger grasp, such as tweezers, are great. Here is a list of toys that you may want to explore.

Threading

Posting box

Placing pegs into a peg board

Basic games such as snap, pairs and dominos

Painting

Drawing

Dressing up

Den making

Magnetic building blocks

Lorries/cars

Toy animals




School age – Games that encourage turn taking, home craft activities that involve cutting and making things and games that involve improving hand writing such as complex colouring, can all be really useful.

Complex building sets such as K’nex, Lego and magnetic bricks

Scissor skills

Colouring books

Dominoes

Animal bingo

Netball and basketball in the garden

Skipping rope

Ball games

Card games

Garden Jenga or skittles

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