It can be difficult to choose a gift to suit the age, stage and developmental needs of a child, but we have put together a few ideas to help you select the right gift at each stage of development.
By one year old, a baby has already developed so rapidly; changing from a tiny, sleepy newborn into an almost-toddler with the personality to match! In the first year of life, physical and cognitive development is more rapid than at any other time so choose gifts that will support these kinds of development.
Lego Duplo: provides open-ended play promoting imagination and construction skills, DUPLO is timeless and built to last. At 1-year-old most babies are interested in construction and are beginning to develop the strength and dexterity needed in their hands to use toys like this.
A Tricycle: Tricycles are a popular present for a one-year-old as they provide a new way for babies to see the world. Many of the models available are versatile and can be used all the way up until 5 years of age, by adapting the settings.
Musical toys: Any kind of toy that makes music or gives babies the chance to make music is sure to be a hit. Musical toys tap into babies’ natural love of music and dancing by providing a variety of musical styles at the touch of a button. As children learn how to use buttons, they also develop their understanding of cause and effect and how technology works.
By age 2 they really aren’t babies anymore and are certainly into the realms of toddlerhood. This stage is actually an extremely important time for neurological and cognitive development and the brain grows significantly during this time. At 2 years old speech is developing rapidly, as are physical skills and the ability to play imaginatively.
A Slide: Children are encouraged to play outdoors and keep active whilst improving their physical skills such as climbing and balance. Using a slide also requires a substantial amount of core strength as children contend with the different forces exerted on their bodies, which helps to build up children’s strength and control.
A Water tray: Water play is a fantastic way for 2-year-olds to build a huge variety of skills as most 2-year-olds love to play in water and will persist at this activity for much longer than others because of its sensory properties. Water play gives 2-year-olds the opportunity to build up strength in their hands and wrists through filling, emptying, pouring and squeezing containers and be introduced to the mathematical concept of capacity on a very basic level.
Pretend play props: At age 2 children love to role-play and imitate, and something like a wooden play camera makes the ideal prop. Kids love to push the clickable shutter button and pretend to take photos of everything around them. This lightweight wooden camera toy is just the right size for little hands so that children can easily enjoy playing pretend and taking pictures of their surroundings. As they play, kids develop finger strength, creativity, and imagination.
As children turn 3-years-old, they move from being ‘toddlers’ to being ‘pre-schoolers’. Like most young children, still need plenty of time outdoors and lots of physical activity; allowing them the freedom to run, climb, and jump is essential for practicing their physical skills, developing strength, balance and coordination and burning off some of their seemingly endless energy.
Train tracks: Train tracks are a timeless toy that don’t date or go out of fashion easily. Most toy trains and tracks are also compatible each other so they can be added to over time. Building train tracks support construction and early engineering skills as well as encourages imaginative play.
An easel: An easel is a great way to encourage artistic skill as well as important pre-writing skills. Before children learn to write it is important that they have good motor skills, both gross motor skills which are large-scale movements and fine motor skills which are small-scale movements. Drawing on a vertical surface such as an easel works both gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
A construction game: By the time they are 3 children are more able to join in with games. A wooden stacking game offers opportunities for both social gameplay and construction. By playing with the Bimi Boo Stacking Blocks Tower children will develop their finger strength, logic, creativity, colour recognition, and analytical skills. As a child removes the block from the tower and keeps the balance of the block tower, they improve their patience, creativity, and fine motor skills in the most entertaining way.