How to Choose the Best Toys to Support Preschool Learning

Is your house overrun with toys? Toys that buzz and flash, toys to cuddle, role play toys and bath toys. They’re everywhere and at only three years old, there is little sign of the toy influx slowing down. However, I’m getting more and more selective over the toys I let in.

I’m a firm believer in the phrase ‘every day is a school day’. Every game we play, every adventure we have is teaching my girls more and more about the world around them and I love it. I love how inquisitive they are and I want to quench their thirst for knowledge but not at the expensive of their play.

Shopping for Toys

Educational toys line the shop shelves. One claims it will teach your child their letters and numbers another says it teaches colours and shapes. Just because a toy is labelled as a learning toy, it doesn’t mean it actual teaches anything.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what is really helpful and what is just brightly coloured rubbish. Recently, I came across a site called Gifts for Little Hands. I was really impressed with their range of educational toys, games, puzzles and resources. Not only can you filter by age but unlike any other site I’ve come across, you can filter by Early Learning Milestones.

As an ex-teacher, I can see the effort that had gone into supporting parents to carefully select the right toys for their child’s specific stage of development. You can choose from the 7 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of developments. These are the same that any childcare provider would be using to assess your child whether they are at nursery, preschool or with a childminder.

EYFS Areas of Development

Expressive Art and Design

Communication and Language

Literacy

Mathematics

Physical Development

Personal, Social, Emotional

Understanding the World

From here you can filter further to browse by age and I love that there is no gender filter. This is a real bug bare of mine. Gifts for Little Hands kindly sent us a lovely wooden construction set. It’s the the kind of toys that will be used for years which is a rarity with toys. Construction sets like this will grow with the child. For now, they love to try and fit the pieces together and see how they turn. They use the screwdriver and spanner to pretend to fix things.

As they become more dexterous, I’m sure they will be able to build all manner of vehicals and contraptions. Open ended play and the abilities to use your imaginations are vital to develop early thinking skills. I can’t wait to see what they’ll build.

Tips for choosing learning toys

  • Think about the skills or areas your child struggles with.
  • Try and provide toys that support a range of development areas.
  • Avoid toys with too many bells and whistles. They often over stimulate and just encourage basic recall rather than develop thinking
  • Ensure you have role play toys that allow for open ended play. These toys should last the longest and provide many different ways to play.

If the selection of fantastic developmental toys wasn’t great enough, Gifts for Little Hands are now launching a new Learning Club subscription service posted to your little one. We can’t wait to try this out so keep watch for my thoughts on that next month.

What’s the best toy you’ve bought? Which toy do you regret buying the most?

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