Toys and Materials for Infant and Toddler Play (page 2)
Parents and caregivers benefit from knowing about appropriate toys for infants and toddlers. Toys appropriate for infants who are not yet able to grasp might become dangerous once the infant can put them in her mouth. Parents should consider the following guidelines when selecting toys for their infants and toddlers:
- Toys should be appropriate for the child’s development. Parents should select toys that are interesting and with which the child can play with successfully. They should be bright and colorful.
- Toys should be safe and durable. Toys should be able to withstand being mouthed, banged, and thrown. They should be free of small parts that can come off and be swallowed or cause the infant to choke.
- Toys should complement the child’s ability to grasp and manipulate. Parents should consider the size, weight, and stability of the toy.
- Toys should appeal to the child’s senses. Soft toys are desirable, as are toys that make a noise and/or can be acted on (poke, turn knobs, pull strings to initiate noises, etc.) (Bronson, 1995; Deiner, 1998).
Caregivers who serve infants and toddlers in group settings should provide toys of different categories that provide variety for very young children. Selection of toys should include a balance of the following categories (Deiner, 1997, p. 377):
- Materials that encourage awareness of self and others: toys with mirrors, dolls, and puppets 4
- Materials with varied textures: textured rattles and blocks and fuzzy puppets
- Materials that make noise: musical toys, rattles, and squeaky toys
- Materials that reflect ethnic diversity
- Materials for cuddling: soft stuffed dolls, animals, toys, and other huggables
Toys should be open ended and promote creative play. In the current high-tech world, many toys are run by computer chips and are programmed for specific actions. Moreover, the abundance of toys can be overwhelming. Children who are surrounded by too many playthings may be too distracted by the choices to use imagination, fantasy, and creativity in their play (Elkind, 2005).
© ______ 2008, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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