5 Guidelines for Selecting the Best Educational Toys for Infants

By now most parents know that using educational toys for infants is not only a powerful, but also a fun way to encourage your child's development. But what most parents find difficult is knowing what educational toys to buy.

Generally babies learn skills mainly by going through different development experiences. But unfortunately, one experience alone cannot teach them all the skills. In fact, quite often one or more learning problems result a few years later when there's a gap anywhere in the range of required experiences. In short, infants must perform a whole range of activities and learn many new experiences well to fully develop.

That's certainly where correctly selected educational toys for infants come in very handy. Of course, there is nothing wrong in using some of the common evergreen educational infant toys that already withstood the test of time. Here's just some of what we're talking about…

Take along musical toy is a evergreen classic educational toy
Take along musical toy
The all-time favorite educational toy... the Bendy ball
Bendy ball
Music activity toy
Music activity toy
First building blocks for infants
First building blocks
First tea set
First tea set
Piano gym for infants
Piano gym

But, when we start using carefully chosen educational toys for everyday play, we're in effect encouraging our child to perform very specific actions which teach him/her a number of these needed skills.

So what does this really mean? Only this...

Educational Toys for Infants - 5 Areas To Focus On

It's highly advised that next time when you have to choose or buy one or more educational toys for infants that you specifically choose those that stimulate, encourage and develop one or more of the following 5 key areas.

Let's have a look at the areas individually and what specific educational toys will focus development in that area.

Key #1: Total movement… gross motor

Stimulation activities must boost developing total body movement. What we're talking about are activities such as general mobility, rolling, sitting, crawling, kneeling, standing, walking, climbing, jumping and running.

Ok, that great, but let's look at a few educational toys to help develop these skills.

Activity gyms are most suitable for encouraging a range of infant skills
Activity gym
Stimulating baby tummy lying
Tummy lying
The Baby Einstein Animal Exploration Tunnel creates a safe yet highly stimulating environment for your baby to develop crawling and other perceptual skills
Exploration tunnel
Encourage your baby to sit by cleverly positioning this musical table
Musical table
This activity walker is a surefire fun way to encourage those first steps
Activity walker
THe corn popper is one of the all-time favorites for encouraging walking
Corn popper
Sit-to-stand learning walker
Learning walker
The Alligator push toy to encourage walking
Push toy
Soft climbing forms for young ones
Soft climbing forms

Key #2: Fine movement… fine motor

Your stimulation activities should also focus on developing hand and finger skills. We suggest that you encourage your baby to:

  • reach out and taking big objects,
  • using index finger to point to objects,
  • put objects in containers and take them out again,
  • roll and throw objects,
  • hold crayons,
  • scribble spontaneously,
  • build blocks on top of each other,
  • put lids on bowls,
  • preferring one hand as a dominant one, and,
  • draw horizontal and vertical lines.

Here are a few educational infant toys you may find helpful to encourage development of fine motor skills:

These brightly colored Nest and Stack Buckets will provide hours of fun for your toddler. Placing rings on post strengthens eye-hand coordination. Helps baby learn to differentiate among colors and sizes of rings. oft blocks feature lots of tags, sounds, colors and tactile elements. It's perfect for early development.
Full-color, matching pictures appear underneath each knob puzzle piece. A great activity to encourage eye-hand and visual perception skills. These bathtime float toys are sized for little hands. Easy for baby to grasp and squirt. Sized for little hands, these first blocks are perfect for encouraging fine motor skills.

Key #3: Insight and visual skills… visual perceptual

Specific areas you must encourage will be to:

  • see, focus and follow specific objects,
  • distinguish faces,
  • look for objects like toys which have been dropped and focus on objects further away
  • also… encourage your child to place squares and circles in a form board.
Cookie shape surprize - a fun way of learning all about basic shapes
Shape surprize
Early shapes puzzle
Shapes puzzle
A first shapes puzzle teaching essential learning skills
First shapes

Another great stimulation exercise to encourage recognizing detail and faces in pictures and photographs.

Let's look at a few more educational toys for infants that help develop these skills...

Stimulate the imagination with the movable objects and colorful design Activities provide opportunities for baby to explore with a roll, tap, slide or spin. Introduces shapes, numbers and counting 1-10 in English and Spanish. Baby can sort and stack and learn to identify and match shapes. Shape-sorting lid and 5 different shapes help build early identification skills. Interactive learning aid.

Key #4: Hearing and language… auditory perceptual

  • Here we encourage using words, vowels like "a" and "o", nouns like "m" and "p", sounds like "ka" and "ma",
  • reacting on mother's voice, reacting on simple instructions,
    using one word sentences, recognizing own name,
  • understanding "no", simple questions and verbs like "drinking"… "eating", and,
  • starting to recognize common objects.

Here are a few select infant educational toys for stimulation...

Take-along baby musical toy
Musical toy
The count and compose toy is a great interactive toy for babies who love music... and for general auditory development.
Baby piano
Infant glockenspiel

Key #5: Feel and smell… sensory

Let's also encourage our baby to learn common smells and textures.

Any smell such as fruit, food, soap, perfume as well as textures like sand, water, leaves and materials are wonderful encouragements.

Here are a few first-class educational toys for infants...

Sensory take-along toy for infants
Sensory take-along toy
Sensory soft sorter
Sensory soft sorter
Texture take-along toy
Texture take-along

A Special Category of Educational Toys for Infants

We thought it'd be a shame to leave without telling you that…

We believe there is a specific group of educational infant toys most parents overlook, but that are particularly handy for stimulating a wide range of development areas. In fact, we strongly recommend parents to get their child one of these…. these are activity centers and activity cubes.

Here are a few such cubes to consider:

Baby activity cube
Activity cube
Alphabet activity cube
Alphabet activity cube
Infant and toddler play cube
Play cube

There are so many different types of educational toys for infants and toddlers around. But few offer better learning value-for-money or fun-value than these types.

Giant maze cube
Giant maze cube
Wooden infant activity cube
Wooden activity cube
Wooden bead maze cube
Bead maze cube

Activity centers are designed to stimulate a vast range of skills. Modern centers put a lot of emphasis on crucial hand-finger skills, hand-eye dexterity and mental cleverness. Infants also learn to identify shapes, colors and understand basic perceptual skills.

Many centers for babies younger than 12 months include activities encouraging muscle development.

Smaller centers for younger children often feature objects made with soft, colorful cloth that can be manipulated on the floor without walking or standing.

Larger centers with wood or plastic parts are usually for toddlers. Some even include pretend play, such as a castles or dolls doing different activities.

And lastly there are some activity centers that also double-up as aids to encourage sitting, standing and walking. Here are a few ideas.

Infant activity walker making learning to walk fun Beginner activity walker Multi-purpose activity center simultaneously encouraging many aspects of infant develop

If you're interested in seeing what others recommend as correct educational toys for infants.... go here.

Baby Stimulation >> Baby Toys