An interactive toy is a toy that interacts with the child. Unlike ordinary toys, it reacts to the baby’s actions, exchanges information with him, and thus helps him to learn more about the world around him.
With the help of an interactive toy, the child can learn the alphabet and numbers, to form useful habits, learn kindness and empathy. Interactive “friends” will help your baby develop fine motor skills, memory, tactile perception. And with these toys, your baby will never be bored.
Types of interactive toys
- Robot/alien – can move and even fly, stop in front of or around obstacles, transform, talk. In this case, the actions of the toy are accompanied by light and sound effects.
- Animal – a kind of soft toy, which emits distinctive sounds, such as meows or barks. Some toys can move, blink when touched, which allows the baby to have a kind of dialogue with them. As a result, the child learns to interact with the animals.
- Learning game – teaches your child the alphabet, notes, geography, multiplication table, use of clocks. It comes in the form of phones, various animals, cars. A variation of these games are learning posters.
- Children’s computer – reminiscent of this laptop. This computer is installed developmental and educational programs, such as mathematical or grammar. Playing, the baby will get an idea and skills of working with the computer, as well as develop different types of thinking.
- Game panel – a toy made in the form of a phone, snail, microphone, or some other object (character), equipped with buttons, touch sensors. The response of the game panel to the child’s actions is often accompanied by light and sound effects.
- Audiobook – looks like a regular children’s book, but when you turn the pages from built-in speakers sound text. This book is more interesting to the child than the ordinary book. It will help prepare for school and expand their horizons. Some books can even give a “test” – the child answers the questions in order to reinforce what they’ve learned.
- A pen is an essential accessory for working with audio books. It is equipped with a player and a recorder, which allow you to run a training program. Then the child only needs to touch the end of the pen with the appropriate texts and pictures.
- Phone – externally reminiscent of a cell phone. The device is equipped with buttons, when you press them, it emits sounds and is illuminated. This toy will introduce your baby to technology.
The minimum age of the child
The age recommended by the manufacturer for the use of a particular interactive toy. This parameter takes into account both the level of development of the child and the range of his interests.
- Interactive toys can be bought for children from 6 months.
- Kids under 3 years old are well-suited animals (cats, bears), game boards.
- A child of 3 years can buy educational games and posters, children’s computers, audiobooks.
- Children from 6 years old will be interested in robots, telescopes, and microscopes, with which they can make observations as real scientists.
Functions of interactive toys
- Light effects – created by different colored bulbs (flashing, continuous light). They “enliven” the toy, make it brighter and more interesting. Such a toy is especially effective in the dark.
- Sensory sensors – react to the child’s touch of the toy. As a result, the cat starts purring and the game panel begins to glow and sound.
- Movement – one of the features of interactive toys. The robot can fly and walk, the animal – jump or turn over in response to the actions of the child.
- Remote control – allows you to control the toy from a distance.
Many interactive toys can play sounds, phrases, melodies and songs. This feature makes the toy even more interesting for the baby, and the game itself is more fun. For example, the animal can not only make distinctive sounds, but also sing the child a lullaby at night, and sound books will sound their own content.
With the play function, the child and the toy are able to communicate “in the same language,” which is good not only for entertainment, but also for learning. The possibility of recording and repeating sounds is found in pens equipped with voice recorders and players.
Development of abilities
The impact of interactive toys on the development of abilities of the child is multifaceted. As a rule, the same toy has a positive effect on different abilities.
- Visual perception develops all toys;
- Logic, thinking and memory – learning games (posters), children’s computers;
- Tactile perception – animals;
- Imagination and creativity – game panels, children’s computers;
- Hand motor skills (movement coordination) – animals, educational games, and panels.
For teaching the alphabet, languages (including foreign languages), numbers and counting educational posters, game panels, children’s computers are suitable.
The material of interactive toys
Most often, an interactive toy is made of plastic, which can be given any shape and color. In soft toys (animals) a combination of plastic and fabric is used. Metal is usually found in combination with plastic (some parts of microscopes and robots). Sound books and educational posters are made of paper.
Tips for choosing interactive toys
- Interactive toys should be made from quality non-toxic materials, as evidenced by the relevant certificates.
- Be sure that it is in working order and properly equipped. Otherwise, the baby will be disappointed by the toy that does not work.
- Pay attention to the brightness of the shades of the toy and the volume of the sound. Too bright and loud devices can be irritating to your baby.
- Such an unusual and expensive toy just needs to buy with your child.
Interactive toy manufacturers
When choosing an interactive toy should not save on its value. Because of the peculiarities of such toys (namely, the presence of electronic circuits and other functions), they can quickly break down with intensive use. Even with a limited budget should look at models of Bambi, Kiddieland, Simba, or Na-Na. They are quite well made and will be of interest to children.
An excellent choice of quality toys are brands Chicco, Fisher-Price, Hasbro, Keenway, Playgro, Smoby, Spin Master, Tiny Love. They are quite expensive, but they have an excellent design, beautiful shape and interesting purpose (eg, children’s tablets). For older children, Bresser toys are suitable: they are expensive microscopes, almost completely identical to the real ones.
What should you contemplate when choosing toys for your child?
When it comes to selecting toys for your little ones, it’s essential to take into account their individual temperament, habits, and behavior. It’s worth noting that even if your child appears more advanced than their peers, they should not be given toys designed for older children. The age specifications on toys are primarily determined by safety considerations, and not necessarily by the child’s level of intelligence or maturity. As an early childhood educator, I can’t stress the importance of appropriately aged toys enough. The wrong toys can not only pose safety risks but can also frustrate or bore the child. For example, a toy with small parts might be dangerous for a toddler since they often explore objects by putting them into their mouth.
How can you ensure the toys and activities you select for children are appropriate?
Toys that foster exploration and stimulate problem-solving are excellent choices to Include in your child’s toy collection. Games and toys that allow your child to figure out puzzles or tasks independently (or with minimal guidance) can significantly enhance their logical thinking abilities and help them become resourceful and resilient problem solvers. Repeated play fosters an environment where they can practice and perfect these skills. Consider toys and activities that involve stacking, fitting or sorting, like jigsaw puzzles or blocks. These types of toys exercised my children’s problem-solving skills from a young age.
How do you pick a toy that’s developmentally appropriate?
What constitutes an interactive toy?
Interactive toys are those that elicit sensory responses from a child through play, movement or sound. These toys play a tremendous role in stimulating the development of your child’s senses and skills. Most modern toys are built to be very interactive, to not just entertain but also to educate children. When my children were young, they had a toy that would play sounds and flash lights when you press the corresponding buttons. This toy not only kept them entertained for hours but also greatly improved their hand-eye coordination.