So you know that babies are very sensory oriented. They respond to anything that has lots of colors + textures, and are fascinated by things that light up + make noise.
And guess what? Baby toy manufacturers also caught onto this fact and they have mastered the art of getting in your head to convince you that you NEED these special products to help stimulate your baby’s brain development and to give them that academic edge.
Unfortunately though, many of these “educational” baby toys are a marketing ploy to get you to fill your home with more clutter. From experience, it doesn’t do any better of a job in helping children learn skills (ie. sensory exploration, fine motor skills, coordination, visual spatial acuity etc.) – which they would pick up naturally through daily life activities anyways.
In fact, many of these baby toys marketed as educational for children are actually not helpful for brain development because they are over-stimulating with too much going on, and they are often very limiting in what babies can learn from it because there is usually ONLY 1 or 2 ways to correctly play with the toy…..think pop-up toys and bead mazes.
So why aren’t these toys helpful for brain development?
Close-ended toys limit young children’s ability to practice critical life skills like creativity, flexibility, problem solving, ingenuity, and curiosity. Because close-ended toys have a proper way to play with them, children don’t have the chance to practice thinking outside the box.
As for baby toys that have waaaaaay too much going on…think back to a time when you went through sensory overload? Chances are your brain stopped processing everything in that situation because it was overwhelmed. It’s the same for the little guys.
Children who are frequently over-stimulated have a very hard time concentrating and focusing in their day-to-day activities, which manifests itself in very short attention spans – constantly switching from one thing to another without in-depth exploration.
YIKES! So what should I look for in a stimulating baby toy?
SIMPLE + OPEN-ENDED toys are the way to go because less is more for young children.
Look for toys that don’t do the playing for your child…aka they have to maneuver it to make it work the way they want. And look for play objects that don’t have a right or wrong way to play with it.
Balls. Scarves. Tupperware containers. Cardboard boxes. Blocks.
Notice a trend with these toys?
Yup! They are all low on the fancy factor and can really be anything your child wants with a little creativity + imagination.
Need more ideas? Follow along with the hashtag #PlayfulMondays on IG or FB to get fun + stimulating toy ideas.
And don’t forget to check out our signature Baby Brain Play Workshop talking all about how to stimulate your baby’s brain development.
PS: What’s your kiddos fave toy? Leave a comment below to share some fun toy ideas.