For the past 2 years, we have been curating the best open-ended toys from all the best brands all around the world. Since most of the open-ended toys are wooden only with the exception of MagnaTiles, Lego, and few other plastic toys, our collection comprises mostly of the best wooden toy brands such as Plan Toys, Haba, Hape, Guidecraft, Melissa & Doug, Wonderworld. When we were scouting for more toys, we realized there are so many wooden toys that are sold only in the local European markets and not even available online to purchase. These are unbranded toys of very high quality wood, great finish, and amazing play experience.
So, we picked up these toys and added to our collection under one umbrella – Rentoys Originals. You will see more of such toys in the near future as we continue to scout for the best toys even if unbranded.
Colour Code uses 18 bold, coloured shapes, each on a see-through tile. Pick a challenge, then stack a rack of tiles to recreate the exact composition presented by your challenge!
A great introduction to colours, shapes, order, orientation, etc.
Start by choosing a puzzle of your choice. Slide the card under the clear grid, then place the red gear and yellow wheel as indicated. Each puzzle will show you an array of color and sizes of gears, and how many of each you’ll need (you’ll see them printed along the bottom of the card). Pull those out (you MUST use all of them!).
Guidecraft Learn Emotions
Better Builders® Emotions feature the magnetic fun of the original ball and rod construction toy, but assembled as 6 dramatic play characters.
The faces express 6 distinct emotions to which children can relate: happy, sad, angry, surprised, confused, and scared.
Leapfrog Number Lovin Oven
Discover the perfect recipe for number learning fun with the LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven.Designed for aspiring chefs ages 2 years and up, the Number Lovin’ Oven comes with 16 fun ingredients and plenty of learning baked in. Get number skills cooking with the sassy, singing oven-30+ songs and phrases warm up counting, sharing and vocabulary skills.
Fisher Price Feelings Monster
With the Fisher-Price® Fun Feelings Monster, babies discover how different feelings look and sound…and learn that they can change quickly!
When babies bat at their monster friend’s roller face, he’ll express three common feelings—happy, sad, and surprised—with fun sounds that help little ones more fully understand the mood.
As children grow and develop so do their expressions. This brilliant educational wooden eggpressions by Hape will encourage your child to explore their own and learn new expressions to understand others feelings.A beautifully illustrated board book titled “Scrambled Feelings” is included to encourage your child to explore the eggspressions of happy, sad, angry, excited, afraid and shy.
Fisher Price Totem Pole Pals
The artfully crafted Totem Pole Pals, from the Fisher-Price Wooden Toys collection, are made with real beech wood and designed to be equally beneficial, eye-catching, and engaging.
Each wooden piece features different faces and expressions, along with bristles that allow for easy connection to the other pieces in the set.
Rainer Strick and Elke Schubert, public health officers in Germany, wanted to show that children can play happily and creatively when they are not being “suffocated” by their toys. The result – Boredom sets in during the initial stages of the experiment but the children soon began to use their basic surroundings to invent games and use imagination in their playing.
Too many toys overwhelm kids. There are too many choices to choose from. Sometimes there is no dedicated space for kids to stay put, focus, and play. So, jumping on the bed or climbing up the table seems a better alternative to them.
Solution 1: Rotate toys
When a child has too many choices, their little brains get overstimulated, and they end up not choosing anything at all. With fewer toys, they won’t be as stimulated. This leads to freeing up the mind to focus, explore, and use their imagination.
Toy rotation is not a novel concept. Thousands of moms around the world use this method to engage their kids for hours keeping their house clutter free. Just search for “How to rotate toys” on google and you will get 17 Lacs+ results.
Benefits of toy rotation:
Kids learn to take care of things: When kids have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. They will not learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand.
Kids learn perseverance: Kids who have too many toys give up too quickly. If they have a toy that they can’t figure out, it will quickly be discarded for the sake of a different, easier one. Kids with fewer toys learn perseverance, patience, and determination.
Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home: If you have kids, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over an entire home. Fewer toys result in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home.
The most popular kid’s toys today are plastic toys that light up and make all sorts of noise. They are cheap to buy, but often require frequent replacement when they get broken. Before buying any of such toys you need to ask yourself this – Is this toy making my kid smarter or dumber. The answer is when a toy is doing all the work and a kid is just watching the show, there is no learning. And, who likes to listen to the same slice of a song or sentence repeated by a toy over and over!
Get toys that encourage open-ended play where your kid gets to decide what to do with them. Open-ended toys encourage kids to be creative, to use their imagination, and to decide how to use them. Wooden blocks, magnetic tiles, and Legos are perfect for open-ended play.
Solution 3: Always keep age-appropriate toys
All of us look at the recommended age of a toy before purchasing it. But, how many of us check for the age-appropriateness of existing toys regularly?
Check for the broken toys regularly, at least once a month, and move them out of your kid’s reach
If a toy has served its purpose and your kid has outgrown the toy, move it out
When your kid gets interested in a particular topic – say sea animals – take out and play with toys that reinforce the concept or provide additional learning
Selecting the toys for kids is not an easy task. Check out our handy guide to get some tips.
Toys are like kids’ treasures. They are not just playthings; kids learn a lot from them and grow with them. However, if you’re not careful, toys can be dangerous too. Toys may pretence several hazards such as chemical, physical, mechanical, electrical, flammability, hygiene and radioactivity, which cannot be overlooked. If toys are not manufactured carefully and accurately, they risk to release toxic substances or they can break into smaller pieces that can be accidentally swallowed by the kids or they can easily burn or have little holes where a child’s finger could fit in. We all know babies put every single thing they get in their little hands into their mouth and that includes the lovely, bright and colorful plastic toys we buy.
This is why we looked at different ways in which you can determine the safety aspect of any toy and keep your kids safe.
The Hard Facts
Indian markets are today flooded with cheap Chinese toys which do not conform to any quality standards. On the flip side, Indian standards for toy safety are voluntary in nature and no license has been granted for this standard. Though Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has formulated Indian standard prescribing safety requirements for toys relating to certain elements, it has not granted any certification license. So, the authorities in the country cannot enforce it against manufacturers of toys.
Whether your kids are working on a puzzle, playing with building blocks, or even inventing their own games, here are a few things to think about to help them stay safe and have lots of fun.
The toy box says it all
Most plastics are safe for even very small children. However, some plastics contain a variety of additives that have been found to be toxic:
BISPHENOL-A — usually called BPA. More than 100 studies have linked BPA to problems including obesity, depression and breast cancer.
PVC — Avoid plastics that are marked with a “3” or “PVC” because polyvinyl chloride plastics often contain additives that can make plastics more harmful than they need to be for children.
Phthalates — or “plasticizers,” are used to make plastic more flexible and durable, and these chemicals are found in many toys.
Cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic— According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plastic toys may contain these chemicals that are generally added to soften the plastic.
But, how do you know whether these chemicals are present in the toy?
Paying attention to the labels can be helpful as they contain valuable information about the material, recommended age, etc about the toy. Below table outlines what various labels on the toy box say about the safety. Now, you may not find any such labels on most of the India-made or China-made toys making it difficult for anyone to determine the safety coefficient of such toys.
What it means
This standard incorporates relevant safety measures required to prevent injuries from choking, sharp edges and other potential hazards. It limits on lead content in children’s products and all toys need to be phthalate-free (not exceeding 0.1%).
All toys that carry this mark are phthalate-free and a strict limit of lead content has to be met. The 0-3 symbol needs to be added to CE mark if there are small parts or other characteristics that are unsuitable for children less than 3 years.
This symbol bans the placing of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.
Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.
Unsuitable for children under three years because it might, for instance, contain small parts.
Will not easily catch light from cigarettes or matches.
This means toy has small parts, a choking hazard and not suitable for a child under three years.
It means that the manufacturer of the packaging is geared towards full recovery of packaging material and promotion of easy-to-recycle components in packaging.
Once you confirm the safety of the material, few basic rules can really enhance your kid’s experience with the toys.
Toys should not be heavy – Your child can play in n-numbers of ways with the toy, so it is important that the weight is not so much that your child is not able to move the toy around or carry it. Your child may drop the toy on themselves or the weight can cause your child to fall and injure.
Make sure your child is physically ready for the toy – For example, parents of older kids may buy a bike one size too big so as not to have to buy a new bike the next year. This tactic can lead to serious injury if a child doesn’t have the physical skills to control the bigger bike.
Avoid Batteries – Batteries make fascinating and fun toys possible, but at a huge cost to the environment. They pose a serious threat to your child who can easily choke on them. Rather than choosing battery-powered toys, consider options that children power with their hands and imagination.
Go natural – Look for safe toys made of natural materials like solid woods (with no finish or a non-toxic finish) and avoid any toys made of pressed woods (plywood or particle board). These woods often have toxic chemicals in the glue. Other natural materials that make great toys include felt, wool, silk, hemp, organic cotton, and bamboo. You can find a variety of wooden eco-friendly toys which are safe and fun to play.
Picking a toy that is safe for your child is just as important as considering its potential “wow” factor. This is the best way to make sure that your child enjoys the toy and is able to safely play with it.
Right toys can accelerate a child’s learning curve
Early childhood experiences have a significant and lasting impact on children’s cognitive and social development. Increasing your child’s exposure to early learning can be accomplished through right toys — toys that develop cognitive skill and allow them to play, experiment, and learn. Now, with thousands of toys available in the market, it is not an easy job to identify the right toys for your child.
Every child’s needs are different
Your child’s current developmental stage plays a major role in the toy selection. Below is an amazing chart by Plan Toys that clearly portrays a child’s needs at different ages. Children achieve milestones across physical, intellectual, language, and social-emotional domains.
Now, there is a probability that your child has already started demonstrating a skill that is ahead of its time. Or, that your child is still trying to catch up. Both the cases are perfectly normal. Every child is unique and learns things in his/her own time. So, take a judgement call and choose the right toys for the right skills appropriate to your child’s developmental stage.
Right Toys for Right Skills
Block Play is a classic constructive way to provide valuable learning for children of all ages. It instils a sense of wonder in children as they bring their imagination to life by creating, transforming, demolishing, and re-creating something unique. It enhances their fine motor skills, problem-solving abilities, and hand-eye coordination. Lego is a great example of block play. You can also find more creative and imaginative blocks like Tegu Magnetic blocks that can make play a wholesome experience for your child.
Pretend Play is a cheerful imaginative play to help develop empathy and desire to know more. Your child learns from things around them and is always curious about activities you do in daily routine. Doctor Set, Kitchen Set, Picnic Set are just a few of the many toys to learn social-emotional and basic life skills with fun.
Active Play is any kind of physical activity your child do that involves stamina & energy. It makes sure your child dares to try more and more! When a child throws a ball or takes a ride on a tricycle, he/she learns about speed and power and develops gross motor skills. For infants, Push-and-Pull toys and walkers aid in balancing and help in healthy development.
Creative Play is a beautiful form of self-expression and boosts new ways of thinking in your child. Little kids are masters of the moment. They love the way it feels when they smear paint on paper. They wonder how it looks when they sprinkle glitter. They get excited by even the soft sound a brush makes as it crosses the page. Playdoh and other modelling activities allow kids to enjoy the process of creation with free use of their imagination.
STEM Toys: While classic toys will always play an important role in a child’s development, STEM toys encourages them to develop science, technology, engineering and math skills as they engineer their imagination. Some STEM toys require the use of an app for playtime, others provide direct experience, offering all the benefits of traditional play. Osmo and Learning Resources toys are examples of respective cases.
So, when you stroll down the toy aisle next time, I hope you will feel prepared to select the right toy. Whether you plan to purchase a toy for your infant or toddler, find a toy that nurtures childhood development and elicits your child’s interest. All in all, consider the type of play experience that is best for you and your child before making your purchase.
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