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Curious
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.

Inside Hello December 2017

5 Smart Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Curious
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
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Creative
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
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Caring
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
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Confident
The thumbs up icon represents confidence. For content about raising a confident child, look for this icon.
Hot toys come and go, but classics like the ones listed here will never slip out of fashion.
Inside  Hello™ December 2017
You don’t need us to tell you that tots love toys—especially those brightly colored thingumajigs that sing, dance, talk, and practically do the laundry. But not all toys are created equal. We scouted the shelves for the best of the best to create this list of must-have toys for curious babies and toddlers.

What:
Classic blocks

Why:
Baby can bang them together, drop them into a bucket, and eventually learn to stack them. They help hone kids’ motor skills and are ideal for free play.

Look for:
Traditional wood blocks with carved-out letters, numbers, and even animals.

To boost learning:
Point to the letters, numbers, and animals on the blocks and name them. If your child repeats what you say, or even she mangles it, she’s learning. Later, use the blocks to cultivate an interest in simple number and letter activities (like the ABC song), or to teach word formation and simple addition.

 

What:
Shape sorter

Why:
It’s a great tool to help little mathematicians learn about geometric shapes, including circles, squares, and triangles.

Look for:
Opportunities to boost his learning curve. Cut out the above shapes from construction paper or card stock and encourage your child to match pieces by shape and color.

Boost learning:
Let him pair your homemade red triangle with the store-bought blue one, or your yellow circle with the ready-made green one.

 

What:
Faux instruments

Why:
Tots love to make music.

Look for:
Drums, xylophones, or a mini keyboard. Your child will hear notes and learn about cause and effect by pounding out sounds on any one of them. (Eventually, she will put two and two together, as in “If I slam this now, mommy will get a headache.”)

Boost learning:
Haul out a favorite playlist—one of yours or hers—and let her freestyle. She can bang out a tune while she experiments with rhythm.

 

What:
Push toys

Why:
What’s cuter that a toddler pushing a kid-size vacuum, market basket, or lawn mower?

Look for:
A safe place for your tot to work on large motor skills, balance, and hand-eye coordination while he shops, cleans house, or does the marketing. (Remember to remove chairs and other obstacles.)

Boost learning:
Play “let’s pretend” with your kid and name everything—the white chair, the gray sofa, the red apple, the box of cereal, even the yellow and orange flowers in the vase on the table.

 

What:
Nesting or stacking toys

Why:
They’re awesome. (Betcha gotta touch one!)

Look for:
Anything that brings her joy—a tradtional set of stacking or nesting pieces—or one you make yourself from a handful of kid-size cups in a rainbow of colors, courtesy of your kitchen cabinet.

Boost learning:
Place the cups upside down and let her do her thing—or coach her. Then place some cups up and others down and encourage your child to exercise her fine motor and thinking skills and, of course, use her own rapidly expanding imagination to find new ways to play with them.

Which of the following phrases best describes your elementary-school student?

Parents Talk Back
Which of the following phrases best describes your elementary-school student?
My kid is an introvert.
10% (5 votes)
My kid is an extrovert.
38% (20 votes)
My kid is mostly an introvert but sometimes behaves like an extrovert.
25% (13 votes)
My kid is an extrovert but acts like an introvert from time to time.
27% (14 votes)
Total votes: 52