Your child will benefit much from play. It contributes greatly to his holistic development -- his thinking, his way of handling emotions and learning to socialize, his speech and language, and, of course, his physical development. And one of the most effective ways that he can engage in play is through wooden toys.
Tanya Franco-Velasco, professor at the Department of Child Development and Education at the College of Education of Miriam College considers wooden toys as the safest for a child “because they do not have sharp edges and do not brittle and shatter with age.” They are long lasting, says this young mom of a 2- and a 3-year-old, adding, “With proper handling and care, they can be wonderful hand-me-downs from one sibling to the next.”
Choose a wooden toy that is age-appropriate to get value for money. Check the label if it uses non-toxic and water based paint. Here are additional tips from Franco-Velasco on how to best choose the wooden toy for your child or inaanak.
Open-ended toys Franco-Velasco recommends open-ended wooden toys like blocks, which allows a child to develop his ability to grasp objects and manipulate it using his hands. She also suggests that instead of packing away the blocks after he finishes playing, leave the unfinished block formation in the playroom so he does not need to start from scratch each time. It will give the child a sense of accomplishment after building what to him is already a monumental piece after several days of work.
Wooden blocks are aplenty in toy stores. Here are two good ones:
1 Build Up and Away Blocks by Hape, starts at P1,499, Toys R Us
This one has a lot of shape variations that allow toddlers to make wider and taller towers. Kids can also be challenged to build without having them topple over. Age 12 months to 4 years
Children will learn to sort and match colors with sounds as well as associate sounds with size and quantity. Blocks are hollow and filled with beads that produce different tones. Age 2 years and up
Manipulative toys Sorting, stacking, pounding or lacing toys are described as manipulatives -- basically, any toy that will get a kid to use his fingers and brains to work together. Here are some wonderful toy ideas for a child's cognitive development and fine motor skills.
3 Universe of Imagination Discovery Shape Sorting Cube (14 pieces), P699.75, Toys R Us
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Here’s a classic educational toy that helps a child figure out where a certain shape should go as he also learns how to classify colors. Age 3 years and up
This squeeze toy challenges a young child to, yup, twist and roll the two rings to different parts. It’s great for a baby’s gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination because he can easily get a grip on it, it is malleable, and it bounces when dropped or thrown. Age 3 months and up
Pretend play toys By the time he turns 2, he will desire to act out what he sees their parents and other grown-ups do. Toys that immerse him into the wonderful world of pretend play encourage his sense of wonder, foster social skills, and allow him to express his emotions. There are a lot of toys that can facilitate pretend play, which can include a whole lot of ready-made costumes to toy sets even made for specific occupations. Here are some of our favorites:
This inexpensive unbranded wooden toy allows kids to pretend-slice pieces of fruits, which are bonded with velcro. They can also learn to count and learn about parts and wholes with this toy set. Age 18 months to 4 years
As they learn to use a variety of cutlery, toddlers also get to improve their coordination ability with this toy set. We love the kiddie version of measuring spoons in this make-believe kitchenware. If he has sensitive skin, this is ideal because it is made from high quality and eco-friendly red wood. Age 2 to 5 years
We were told this toy was hot commodity in Singapore, which allows your kids to be a...coffee shop owner! One side is the coffee maker with buttons and coffee and milk dispenser, and the other side is the store front with lovely desserts. Age 3 to 10 years
Not only is this eco-friendly and safe for kids, this doll house is even portable for travel because it is foldable that open up for unlimited imaginative play. Age 3 to 10 years
Previously the chairperson of the Department of Child Development and Education at the College of Education in Miriam College, Therese Pelias continues to teach in the same department and is currently the project coordinator of the Growth, Upgrading and Resource Office under the same college.