Play is an important way for your child to develop and learn. So we've put together this handy guide to help you choose from our huge range of pre-school toys. We've split the information up into five practical sections, each focusing on a different way in which play can help your child:
• Getting creative
We look at the ways in which toys can help your child to express themselves and expand their imagination.
• Boosting brain power
This explains how toys can encourage your child to solve problems on their own, while having fun.
• Stimulating the senses
We take a look at toys that stimulate your child's sight, hearing and touch through music, lights and play.
• Encouraging coordination
Some toys can work to develop your child's hand-eye coordination.
• Physical play
This is a guide to choosing toys that will get your child moving, indoors and out.
When your child is young, keeping them safe is a key priority especially where toys are concerned. It's really important to be aware of small parts and other hazards. So refer back to our buying guide index, we've put together a toy safety guide to help. Make sure you read it carefully before you go toy shopping.
All children have the potential to be great creative thinkers. And while not all of them will grow up to be artists and musicians, the right toys can expand their imagination and develop their talents.
Newborn babies love to watch and listen, so you can start to encourage creativity from an early age by surrounding your baby with brightly coloured, musical toys. Mobiles and soft toys that rattle or squeak are a great place to start.
As your baby starts to sit up, they can explore more of the world around them, finding more ways to start flexing those creative muscles. Playmats with bits and pieces they can move around, and simple musical instruments are a fantastic way to boost creativity.
Between 12 and 18 months old, your baby will love to pretend they're a grown up, copying the things that you do. You can help to encourage their imagination and introduce role play with toys that get them acting out grown-up life. Toy phones and playhouses are great choices.
At this age, your baby will be full of energy, starting to talk and playing more imaginatively than ever before. Now is a great time to help them boost their creativity with their first drawing and colouring toys.
There are loads of easy ways to develop your child's problem solving and thinking skills - and it doesn't have to be boring. From the day they're born, there are plenty of educational toys to get those brain cells working.
Even from a very early age, you can help your child develop key thinking skills. Help them start to explore and investigate the world around them with toys that feature different colours, textures and sounds.
As your baby gets more inquisitive and starts to move around, they can start to play with more complex toys. Puzzles and games that introduce shapes are a great way to help them start solving problems on their own.
Children of this age love to play the same games again and again. This is brilliant for building memory skills - give your baby a helping hand with shape-sorting toys and see how quickly they will remember where things go.
When your baby starts to toddle and talk, a whole world of problem-solving possibilities is opened up. You can help them develop with educational toys that introduce numbers, letters and patterns. There are loads of fantastic interactive toys to choose from, many featuring favourite children's characters.
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