Learning starts at home. A kid learns to talk by listening to his / her parents. The ability to do tasks such as opening a door, using the flush and even walking is learnt by the child at home with the help of parents. Learning is not only the formal education gained by the child in school. It also combines the things that the child learns from day to day activities at home during the formative years of life. Here it is of utmost importance for the parents to pay attention to the toys that they buy for their children. They should keep in mind that the toys that they buy should not only entertain but educate the child as well with regards to pattern and color identification, numbers, figures and such; so that by the time the child is ready for school he / she is more or less comfortable with these learning processes.
Educational toys can come in any form, ranging from books, toys and games to animated movies. These toys also play an important role in shaping the psyche and personality of the child in years to come. Recent studies by psychologists world wide have stressed on the role of educational toys in development of cognitive abilities of a child and of the ability of the child to fare well at school in the future.
There are a lot of educational toys available in the market, based on the age group of a child. Age is the important criterion to be kept in mind while buying an educational toy because it has been established that there is a clear correlation between the psychological and physical development of a child. Educational toys should be bought keeping this in mind.
As a parent you will be the better judge of the level of development of your child so there is no hard and fast rule as to what educational toy type to buy and when, what follows is more of a loose guideline for helping you while buying an educational toy for a certain age group.
* Less than 2 Years: Basic color coded puzzles and shape identification games are recommended.
* 2-4 years: Basic motor skills are being developed so building blocks and simple color or pattern based puzzles are ideal. Story books and pop activity books are also good for learning names of simple things like vegetables, fruits and animals.
* 5-7 years: The child is a lot mature and it is quite difficult to correctly guess what would be the most appropriate learning toy. But, toys with numbered or alphabet buttons, spelling puzzles, mathematics based activity sets are more apt at this stage, simple story books can also be read by the child by this time.
* Above 8 years: By this time most children are well into school so developmental toys are difficult to prescribe. Common reasoning based toys available in the markets are useful for sharpening the thought processes.
The best thing to keep in mind while shopping for an educational toy is to provide something challenging to your kid, but do keep in mind not to provide something that is undoable at his / her age. Try getting educational toys of a slightly higher difficulty level than what your child has proved capable of handling. The stimulation to the brain provided by the educational toys are what help in creating a healthy and clear minded approach to tasks in children.