curious baby boy studying nursery room

Developmental Toys

Developmental toys are so important, even for small infants.

Once a baby starts developing his or her senses, it’s important to start playing with them to aid their development. Playtime is when babies do a lot of their exploring and discovering. Developmental toys are specially designed to attract children to learn.

Types of Developmental Toys

During the first few years of a child’s life, the brain goes through major development. Playtime is a great opportunity to enhance many skills such as vision, hand-eye coordination, motor skills and tactile response. Developmental toys are geared towards the developmental stages. For instance a three month old is starting to discover the world so touching, feeling and grabbing development is important. Mobiles and toys with music are common at this age. Six month olds are learning about cause and effect. Therefore, it is recommended that a child is given a toy that is for his or her developmental stage instead of one that is not challenging enough or too challenging. This will encourage their development as well as provide satisfaction and enjoyment.

Open-ended developmental toys are toys that do not have a specific purpose. These toys encourage development in the areas of: imaginative play, physical coordination, mental aptitude as well as social interaction. Such toys should be durable, sturdy as well as being well-made. They might include wooden toys such as building blocks and other toys made from natural materials.

Often one of the first developmental toys a baby has is a baby rattle. Baby rattles are very simple and are designed with infant development stimulation in mind. A rattle can aid in the development of baby’s sound, sight and touch senses. They are usually constructed from fabric, plastic, rubber or wood.

Brand Names of Developmental Toys

There are some companies who only manufacture and exclusively specialize in developmental toys. There are others that have developmental toys as a division along with other baby items. Some popular brands of developmental toys are: Fisher-Price, Baby Einstein and Leapfrog.

Fisher-Price offers an extensive selection of developmental toys. They have a Laugh & Learn line which offers different toys including the Love to Play Puppy. This puppy not only is a plush, cuddly character but also sings songs, plays games and offers lots of learning opportunities. The toy introduces letters, colors, numbes and parts of the body using songs and games. Some songs include Pat-a-Cake and Itsy-Bitsy Spider – popular children’s songs. This toy is geared for children over six months of age.

Baby Einstein is also a manufacturer of developmental and interactive toys. The Baby Einstein Octoplush offers little ones opportunities to explore color, texture and some different languages, specifically English, Spanish and French. There is a language selector to choose which language is spoken. Parts of the octopus has different images which when squeezed the name of the color is said. This toy is made for three month old babies and over.

Leapfrog specializes in learning toys for children of all ages. One of their toys specifically geared for babies is the Touch Magic Counting Train. This train features songs to sing along to, numbers from 1-20 that can be touched and heard, and 20 vocabulary words of animals and food. Another feature of this toy is that it can be connected to the Leapfrog Learning Path which has ideas for parents to expand the learning for their child.

Price of Developmental Toys

Developmental toys have an extensive range of prices – probably more than any other category of baby items. Toys such as learning trucks, small learning dolls and so on start at about $7-10. Plush toys that having learning sections can be purchased for about $10. Fabric building blocks cost about $15. The toy companies Lamaze and Melissa & Doug have lines of toys that can be priced a little higher than others as they are very well-known for their developmental toys. Often toys that have different sections, light up and have musical sounds all tend to be more expensive than just simple developmental toys. Interactive toys are also generally more expensive. Typically any toy that is battery-operated tends to increase in price over one that does not take batteries.