Your child's development is a long chain of mini milestone from birth to adulthood. Playing is a big part of that development. Children learn through play - everything from gross motor skills to fine motor skills and mental development can all be fired up and improved through play.
So what toys are good for helping your little bundle of fun and laughter reach and surpass all those important milestones?
For the first year of their lives sight, taste, smell, touch and hearing will be the way babies communicate with you and the world around them. Baby toys that help them learn about their environment by stimulating the 5 senses are great. Toys they can use to do this include mobiles, safety mirrors, pop up toys and musical or squeeze toys. Rattles that can be chewed on will help enormously when they are teething. Bright coloured picture books are also great as you can spend some time sharing them with your baby.
From 12 months to 3 years your baby moves into toddlerhood and will be pushing, climbing, walking and riding. They will also be showing more independence and a willingness to solve problems and develop their fine motor skills even more by manipulating a variety of things. Anything they can ride on or pull/push along will be a great hit and will hone their gross motor skills nicely. Shape sorting and building blocks can help develop fine motor skills and mental skills. Other good ideas are simple puzzles, peg boards, colouring books and anything they can draw on or with.
Ages 3 to 5 is when social skills are being developed so anywhere where other 3 to 5 years olds frequent will be a great hit. Also puppets and simple reading books will be very enjoyable for both of you. Toddler toys that can also help; very simple board games are a great idea and will also encourage turn taking and co-operation, which is a very important opportunity to develop and hone their social skills.