Baby see, baby do. Parents are a baby's first and most favorite playmates and playthings. From birth, kids are ready to play. Songs, rhymes, peek-a-boo, and finger plays are simple social interactions that are stimulating, soothing, and fun for both parent and child.
Babies love babies. Sit two 6 month olds together and they'll reach out to touch each other. By 18 months it's important that children spend time with age-mates even if all they're doing is playing beside rather than with one another. By age 3 children begin to interact and, while still possessive, start to share their toys. By age 4 they're real social butterflies, engaging others in fantasies, playing games and taking turns. By age 5 children begin to form real friendships. By school-age kids can feel true empathy, not just for close friends and family but others less fortunate.
Toys are important tools for children as they act out their feelings and their fantasies and ready themselves for human society. For babies, begin with mirrors and cuddly soft animals and rag dolls. Toddlers, as they start to role-play, need dolls, kitchen sets, doctor kits, cars and trucks and other realistic playthings. Preschoolers can use props for their make-believe, like dress-up clothes, puppets, and people play sets, and multi-player games and toys. School-age children benefit from activities such as crafts and games that they can share with their friends as well as solitary activities that enhance their confidence, competence and sense of independence.
Provided By Nancy Stanek
This information is provided on behalf of the toy experts at your neighborhood toy store.