|You've probably noticed that there are many different kinds of toys, games, and puzzles in my family child care program. I try to select materials that will interest children of different ages. I also look for items that can be used in different ways. This keeps the children interested and encourages them to be creative.
Babies like toys they can feel, smell, shake, and poke. We have cloth balls, rattles, mobiles, and toys that make sounds when touched. Toddlers like to do things to toys - to push wagons, use a "busy box", or pile blocks into a plastic container and dump them out again. The preschoolers can handle puzzles and smaller toys such as shape blocks, put-together toys, and small wooden people figures. The school-age children enjoy board games and making models.
The children learn so many things when they play with toys. Toys with small pieces and puzzles help them recognize different shapes and develop the small muscles in their hands. These are important skills that will help them later in learning to read and write. The children use their imaginations when they play with toy animals and people. They feel successful when they push a ball across the room or hold on to a toy stroller as they learn to walk. They practice language skills as they play together and talk about what they are doing. They learn to share and to play with a friend.