WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Let’s talk toys. There are endless options on the shelves at the stores. Some with bright colors, noises and lights, those cute soft stuffed animals, but which toys are actually the best for your little one?
7News’s Moms in Motion experts explain it’s first and foremost about safety and reading the tags to make sure that toy is age-appropriate for your kids, but it’s also about promoting development.
Remember, just because a toy lights up or is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s the best.
Toys can be simple and educational. While they are of course meant to be fun and entertain, in the early stages it’s all about making sure parents develop the little one’s knowledge and skills too.
It starts from the earliest months.
Things with primary colors, especially black and white. That usually catches little eyes and you can see if they can track it back and forth.Molly Fisher, Speech Language Pathologist, Outpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital
That eye tracking promotes brain development in your baby.
Next comes more exploring, where kids like to touch and feel textures.
They’re grabby with their hands and they want to explore into their mouths too, but when they explore into their mouth you want to make sure that the toy can withstand chewing.Molly Fisher, Speech Language Pathologist, Outpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital
Just make sure there’s no little parts or noises that are too loud.
From six months and beyond check out what are called cause and effect toys like the pop-ups.
When playing with these, it’s important to use words and phrases like “oh wow” “uh oh” or “pop” when the toys move or make noise because this is also the stage when children start to learn language as well.
Something else Mom and Dad can do, even when baby is tiny, is to talk to them during the day. Little one may not understand when you’re explaining how you’re changing their diaper, but Fisher told 7News it’s a good part of early development to hear your voice and a variety of words.
When a child is developing, especially their language skills, they’re going to hand you things to show Mom or Dad or whoever is playing with them. So, when they had it to you you want to label the item. ‘Oh, that’s a dog’. Especially with animals we can do the dog goes ‘woof woof’. ‘Where does it go?’ Show them where it goes with a hand over hand sometimes your hand over theirs.Molly Fisher, Speech Language Pathologist, Outpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital
Cars are a classic toy and there’s a reason they continue to be popular. They’re fun and cars help develop motor skills like crawling and walking when children are nine months and older.
Cars we use for language development too to use that anticipatory phrase of ‘ready, set, go’. Also they make the sounds ‘vroom vroom’ ‘beep beep’. Those are all good early developing words and phrases to use with kids.Molly Fisher, Speech Language Pathologist, Outpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital
Moms and Dads this is really important. Don’t be afraid to get down there on the floor with your kids! Playing with you is how they learn. Plus, it may be fun!
You model a lot of things for them and they’re going to imitate them, so getting down there and interacting with them, engaging with them, that’s how they learn right now through play.Molly Fisher, Speech Language Pathologist, Outpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital
Let’s talk TV for a second.
Fisher said some shows can promote a little bit of child development, but screen time is no substitute for your attention and teaching.