Best sensory toys for babies and toddlers to help with their development

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  • Sensory toys feature many exciting elements that will engage and entertain babies and toddlers.

    Crinkles, bells, songs, colours, patterns, pictures and more are all elements that could make up a fantastic sensory toy.

    But what are toys that are sensory and do you need to add some to your child’s nursery?

    Well, the chances are you already have some sensory toys at home without realising it. Here’s the basics and how to pick the best sensory toys for your little one.

    What are sensory toys and what do they do?

    A sensory toy is one which is designed specifically to stimulate one or more of the five senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste.

    Examples of sensory toys include toys that have bright or contrasting colours, feature different textures or an array of sounds. All of these aspect will stimulate your child’s senses – sometimes more than one at once – during play.

    Playing with these kind of toys not only engages a baby and toddler’s senses, but is also a great way to develop their physical and mental abilities.

    Baby playing with a sensory toy musical instrument

    Why are sensory toys important for babies and toddlers?

    Babies and toddlers are constantly learning as they take in the world around them. An important part of a child’s development is play and the skills they learn through the toys they engage with.

    Sensory toys can help babies and toddler with their balance, strength and co-ordination as well as giving them the confidence to explore their surroundings.

    Karen Clarke, Brand Director at Smart Toys and Games told GoodtoKnow that she finds parents are increasingly looking for a wide variety of play products for their children, from educational toys to those that help build and develop different skills: ‘The first two years of a child’s life is such a vital stage for learning and development.

    ‘Babies like toys that are colourful and creative, and parents/guardians are increasingly searching for quality toys that help develop key skills, have an educational element, are good value for money and most importantly are safe!’

    ‘It’s amazing to watch a child’s development as they are continuously learning through play. For example, developing vision, hand-eye coordination, cognitive language, motor skills, spatial awareness, concentration, creativity and imagination, as well as aspects in toys that allow children to learn how to problem solve or learn to engage with others.’

    You might also like our ideas for wooden toys, perfect if you’re looking for long-lasting and enviromentally friendly gifts. Or, for water babies, take a look at our cheap bathtime toys. Buying gifts for very young children, can also be a challenge, so we’ve rounded up plenty of ideas for one-year-olds, and a list of our favourite gifts for two-year-olds as well.