How to choose the right toys for your children's birthdays

Choosing the right toys for your children is something a lot of parents put a lot of thought into. Some seem to wing it and get it just right and others seem to stress over it and have angst over decisions. I think that some kids are certainly easier to buy for which helps, and there are lots of suggestions around, but is there an easier way? Probably not.

I've always tried to stick by my own made up guideline of something they want, something to add to, something I choose and something educational. 

So generally that includes some form of fad item or 'hot' brand new toy on the market that the kids are drooling over. We don't go overboard but I do like to get something off their list that I would never choose myself. It's the excitement and joy I get from seeing them unwrap the best ever thing they could ever have wanted. Even if that item will be forgotten in a few months or relegated to play date material. It might not be an expensive item but certainly something they are longing for.

Something to add to is easy, it’s usually an add on for something they already have. In the younger years that was things like animal collections, train sets, doll clothes for a doll or even adding to the SIKU collection.

Something I choose is a bit subjective, but usually represented something I liked and was happy to see all over the floor, something I knew I would enjoy using or playing with them so more likely to get used, or something that I thought they wouldn't pick but would actually enjoy.

Lastly, something educational. For us this has always been games and puzzles and educational activities.

Would love to know how you shop for your kids at www.mylittlemarshmallow.com

 

Do babies need toys?

We get loads of people asking for suggestions on the best baby toys - so it's prompted me to write this post and answer the question "Do babies really need toys".

The answer is yes, and no!  In essence babies need stimulation of their senses to develop, but how to do that doesn't need to involve expense or endless 'toys'. 

If we focus on the key senses you can help develop with toys (or general objects), let's take a look at what options we have.

Sight - in the first few months babies have a limited distance they can see of up to a few inches getting up to a few feet by around 6 months. Early on just encourage your baby to look at different objects, whatever you have around (tv remote, cup, watch, pen, hairbrush, keys) just bring it within your babies field of vision and back out again - this works on eye tracking. As they get older they will start to reach and grab for objects so make sure what you have is small and light enough that they won't hurt themselves if they grab it and wave it around. For this reason our infant section of the shop is filled with light timber toys, natural rubber teethers and toys and softies as the most popular choices. 

Hearing - Very early on babies can hear a variety of sounds and will be able to look towards loud sounds and by 6-12 months they are learning what different word sounds sound like and beginning to mimic and babble. Encourage the use of their hearing by using a few musical or sound making toys within ear shot, singing or popping music on and reading to them. Variety is the key, so mix it up between soft lullabies and your favourite rock station on the radio, wooden musical toys and clapping along to nursery rhymes you sing. We find small musical items are popular with parents to shake and make noise for their babies.

 

Touch - Early on babies just crave skin to skin touch and you will notice them grabbing for your face, fingers and hands especially during close snuggles and breastfeeding. After a few months start exposing them to a big variety of touch textures. Offer toys that are smooth, hard, shiny, cold, soft, squishy or scratchy. See the different responses they make to each one. A great way to do this is to sit with them on the floor and offer a basket filled with objects such as wooden rattles, silky fabric scarves, metal spoons, rubber toys, a soft doll or softy, things like velcro strips, smooth wooden blocks, anything really as long as they are all safe for baby to touch, grab and put in their mouth (because they will!) and as long as you directly supervise them. Once you get a sense of which things they go for over and over it will help guide you when you are wishing to make purchases. 

 

 

So as your baby grows and develops, think ahead to the next step. Have they started reaching out for things during tummy time? Look at what options you have that they can safely reach and grab, that will also entertain them in 6 months time. Things like shape sorters are great, just look at the age recommendations for individual products. Are they enjoying popping things in their mouth? Look for natural and safe options that have multiple uses, our Tikiri Natural Rubber toys are safe to go in the bath as they are fully sealed so are a great option for teethers, bath toys and they also rattle so plenty of use over a period of time rather than a single use product. Once they are grabbing for toys and able to wave them around look for light safe options that make noise, you can add them to the music collection for later so your toddler and preschooler can make a band. So as you see, our general advice is to use what you have and make purchases that will cover more than one 'thing' and last for more than a few months - we always suggest quality over quantity. 

 

 

Hope this helps!

 

 

 

Wooden toys made with a lot of love

My little marshmallow wooden toys are the safest and latest stunning wooden toy range to hit Lebanon and we are one of the very few selected retailers carrying the range and are so excited to bring it to our customers.

   

My Little Marshmallow on mylittlemarshmallow.com makes their toys in an artisanal way with environmentally friendly materials.

My Little Marshmallow was created in early 2016 by the best couple ever, as a link of their respective experiences, with the intention of creating a company in which they could work in what they really liked, outdoors and surrounded by nature, and above all, being able to share time with family.

We have a large variety of the range from rainbows and trees to construction sets, caves, arches and mountains.

All their gorgeous products are made with wood from sustainable forests with FSC and PEFC certification and all complies with the European toy safety standard UNE EN 71/3. 

Something important that you have to keep in mind when buying a My Little Marshmallow wooden toy, and that is that it comes directly from a tree, and the trees have veins and knots, it is natural and we love it, they are special, perfect, as they grow in Nature, and also, if you are lucky enough to find one in your toy, 'you will have a unique piece! 

Shop mylittlemarshmallow.com here