Christmas Gift Guide - Give the Perfect Gift this Season!
Date Posted:3 December 2019
To do so, we utilise a range of educational toys and games that will not only entertain your child but also train and refine basic life skills and motivation. Young children learn most effectively through play. These toys fall into 5 main developmental and educational domains: Mathematics, Science, Language, Health, and Creativity. These 5 domains are all linked together by the overall concept of Social Competence.
Children develop basic physical and cognitive life skills at a rapid rate. They develop and acquire different skills at a predictable sequence in their early life. We research all of our products to ensure that your child gets the best learning outcome possible at the different stages of their lives.
Babies are naturally curious and will grab at anything that interests them. As babies move into their third month, they start reaching for and grasping at objects that are around them. A development milestone guide released by the Queensland Government specified that by 6 months of age, babies should be able to sit without support. They are also able to grasp and transfer objects without help.
This is the best age to start getting toys that will help your child train and develop their fine motor skills by stimulating the muscles in their hands and fingers. Babies between 3 – 6 months also get increasingly fascinated by colours and sounds. Between the ages of 18 – 24 months, your child will also be able to match colours they see.
The key is to engage your child in sensory play with engaging toys so that they can learn how to manipulate objects they are holding. The following toys will train your child’s basic motor skills while engaging your child in fun sensory play.
Funny Hippo is a simple toy that trains your child’s motor skills, while developing their visual, auditory and physical skills.
The main objective is to get your child to place the balls in the holes and then hammer them through. It trains your child to pick up and place objects in specific places as well as teaching them how to manipulate the objects through those spaces. The toy emphasises the importance of physical development of your child to ensure that they develop the necessary skills and training to grow up physically healthy.
Similar to the Funny Hippo, the Triple Stacker promotes fine motor skills. It helps to develop your child’s visual, language and physical skills.
Your child will be visually stimulated as they try to match the colour of the blocks to the corresponding coloured poles. The main goal is to stack the blocks on the right poles. Their language skills will improve as they learn to identify the different names and shades of colours — such as “darker” and “lighter”.
Kids start to engage with physically stimulating toys as they start to walk and move about on their own. Their muscles have developed to allow them to start picking up more complicated tasks. Between the ages of 2 – 3, most children would have moved from stacking blacks around a pole, to having developed enough hand control to stack blocks without any support.
Between the ages of 2 – 4, you might also notice your child making great strides in vocabulary acquisition and problem-solving skills. At this stage, they are making great advancement in their cognitive and physical skills.
Your child needs to be physically and mentally stimulated for them to further develop their fine motor skills and vocabulary. The toys shown below will engage their minds while still training their basic motor functions.
Triangle Building Blocks
The Triangle Building Blocks is a versatile toy that can get your child’s creative juices running. They can create beautiful patterns by matching the coloured blocks to the corresponding colour on the motif cards, or simply stack the blocks as high as they can. This can also be played in groups, where each child will take a turn adding a block to the tower. The sky really is the limit with this game!
In regard to learning outcomes, these blocks will not only further improve their motor skills but also improve concentration. Your child will learn to experiment on how to utilise both hands to assist and stabilise objects while manipulating them. Trying to balance a block of towers will exercise their concentration levels.
This toy challenges your child creatively and scientifically, as they create patterns and pictures while also engaging in building a tower that teaches about basic physics. Your child will also learn the importance of working with others as a team which will only improve their blossoming social skills!
Multilayer Wooden Puzzle - Apple
If your child enjoys a good challenge, this toy is for them. Like many of our toys, this Multilayer Wooden Apple Puzzle trains your child’s fine motor skills through assembling the puzzle pieces. But it goes further to challenge your child’s language skill, numbers association skill, and basic scientific knowledge.
The puzzle has 5 different layers that represent the 5 stages of the growth of an apple. Your child has to assemble the puzzle pieces at each stage to form the full picture. You can go a step further and talk about the developmental stages of an apple with your child to build communication skills.
They can learn about nature while also developing social interaction skills. This toy will pique your child’s interest and curiosity in science, and might even get them craving for healthy foods instead!
By age 4, most children will have acquired basic motor skills. They start to transition between physically stimulating toys to intellectually stimulating games. According to the Queensland Government’s developmental milestones guide, by the end of a child’s 5th year, they will have acquired over 2,000 words in their vocabulary including adverbs and prepositions.
You might notice your child becoming increasingly inquisitive and making big improvements in name association to where they are able to identify colours and animals. By this stage, they will have acquired sufficient vocabulary to describe pictures or situations. Your child will also start to develop a certain level of time and spatial awareness.
At this age, most children will also transition from playing alone to participating in interactive games with their peers. From this developmental stage, children are more likely to engage in mentally stimulating group games over motor skills building toys.
The following games will allow your child to build language, communication, and social skills.
Find Monty is a multi-player game (2-5 people) that develops language and communication skills. One player is tasked with describing the picture in the card — particularly the placement of the blanket, pillow and Monty (the cat) — while the other player builds the set based on the instructions given to them.
This will challenge your child to use place prepositions (“in”, “under”, “over”, “on, “at”) to describe the scene to practice and develop their language skills. You can make the game more challenging by including the dice rule into the game. The dice provides the rules in which the players have to abide by when recreating the picture.
There are 3 images on the dice:
- Bed: Take a quick look at the picture and recreate it from memory.
- Headstand: Take a quick look at the picture upside down and recreate it from memory.
- Mouth: Verbally describe the picture to another player who rebuilds the set from your instructions.
Your child will be exposed to the mathematical domain — particularly geometrics and spatial orientation — while developing their language and social skills.
Games to Go - Lotto Animal
Lotto Animal transforms a traditional memory game into an educational game where children can learn about animals and their habitats, whilst developing their visual memory skills. This game is best played in a group of 2-4 players.
The game chips are laid face down in the middle of the table. Each player gets a habitat card which has the different animal silhouettes on it. Children should take turns to flip the game chips over. Each player can only flip one game chip at a time. If the animal matches to a silhouette on their habitat card, they take the chip. Otherwise, the chip is flipped back over.
This trains your child to identify different animals and exercises their visual memory skills — do they remember the animal on the chip that was flipped before and which chip it was?
This game is part of the Games to Go range that includes other portable games that will mentally stimulate your child while training and developing their fine motor skills. These are games that you can bring to parties and gatherings to keep your child and other young ones engaged. They are a fantastic alternative to plonking your child in front of the TV or tablet!
At this stage, kids will further refine, practice and develop complex fine motor skills. Your child will demonstrate controlled hand movements — building endurance for writing and building blocks independently.
Your child will also develop logical and rational thinking, and the ability to understand others’ perspectives. Kids at this age are willing to learn new things and willing to work with others. Their motor skills will be at the same level as their intelligence, which means that the games your child engages in will have to stimulate them both mentally and physically.
The following games will allow them to think and create their own work while also allowing them to refine complex fine motor skills that they will be using for the rest of their lives.
LogiPic will get your child’s creative juices running while practicing and developing their motor skills. While it looks like a simple game, it encourages the development of both patience and hand-eye coordination.
There are 8 colourful template cards your child can choose from. Place a card into the wooden frame. Then, use the magnetic pen to put the coloured balls into the corresponding holes of the same colour on top of the wooden frame.
You can encourage your child to be creative by getting them to draw their own picture on a template card using coloured pencils, then giving their drawing to another child for them to solve. You can also encourage them to train their non-dominant hand by using that hand to hold the magnetic pen.
This game will not only train your child’s fine motor skills, but also pique their scientific interest with the effects of magnets and how they work.
Torreta is a building block game that develops your child’s language skills, fine motor skills, and social skills. Trying to build the tallest tower to win the game will also challenge them to develop problem-solving skills.
In a group of 2-4 players, place the number dice and building blocks in the middle of the group. Take turns rolling the dice. The tower can only be built using the pieces with the numbers as indicated by the dice. The player with the highest tower wins.
You can make the game more challenging by using both the number and colour dice together, and work with another player to build a tower together. It teaches your child language and social skills as they interact with their partner, and learn about turn-taking and sharing with others.
For older children, this game can also be played as a mathematical game to train their maths skills. In pairs, the children have to build two towers of the same height. Once finished, have them add up the number of dots in each tower. Do they have the same sum?
- Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. (n.d.). Developmental Milestones. (Link)
- Kid Sense. (n.d.). Fine Motor Development Chart. (Link)
- Queensland Government Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women. (2019). (Link)