Gifting for young children can always be challenging for parents and loved ones. Demands become greater coupled with latest trends and social statuses. For younger children, gifting may seem easier, however parents often fall into the trap of “expensive” and “high tech” options which may not always be the best option. Here is some advice on different types of gift ideas that can promote language learning and overall development.
Gifting ideas for 0-12 months
It’s very common to gift clothes and plush toys for infants as this appears to be an easy go to choice. There are other ideas that can also be beneficial for an infant to stimulate their senses and pre-linguistic skills required for developing speech and communication:
Infants need to develop their senses for tactile (touch) stimulation, auditory (hearing) stimulation, fine motor (fingers and hands) stimulation as well as overall motor development. Using hard plastic toys that move, produce sound help a developing mind to become attentive and aware. Textured soft plastic/ material or hard board books are a great way to gain your infants attention by touching and feeling as well as looking at lift the flap, and other visually stimulating graphics.
Gifting ideas for 12-24 months
As your child enters older infancy and into the early toddler years you will notice an increase in physical activity and more curiosity around toys. A child begins to explore and slowly begins to figure out the mechanics of objects as well as the functions. It’s important to create play time using different items such as soft plush items, toys that move or create sounds as well as introducing more books which are durable and has realistic pictures that a child can associate with. Building blocks and soft toys are great ideas, preferably those with pictures or images to grab your child’s attention.
Gifting ideas for 2- 3-year olds
This age range shows a boom in your child’s vocabulary and communication. During this age children are increasing their comprehension of words and are becoming more verbal with their communication. There is an increase in vocabulary occurs from 50- 500 words spoken as the months go by. During this age it is important to use more stimulating activities, encourage role play with functions of objects and toys as well as communication e.g. Asking your child to describe their play time, how they use an object and telling a story. Reading to your child should become a routine with books that have bright illustrations/ sound effects and easy to understand will promote vocabulary and communication development.
Gifting ideas for 4-6 year olds
The pre-primary school years are always exciting as your child is growing and maturing by the day. Children become communicative and learn to develop better social skills with peers and adults. During these years stimulate your child’s listening and memory skills as well as story telling and encourage more free play, outdoor activities and increased interest with arts and crafts and books.
Happy gifting! Remember that expensive toys and items do not necessarily mean the best for a child. There are always affordable options available. If all else fails, try to put more quality time interacting and playing with your child.
A toy can never be a replacement for a parent.