Teaching Shapes to Toddlers: Fun Ideas to Get Started

Toddlers are at the age where they’re curious about everything around them. Because of this, it’s one of the best times to teach them new things. Helping your toddler get familiar with shapes is an important part of early childhood education. This activity can also be incredibly fun and rewarding, both for caregivers and little ones alike. Teaching shapes to toddlers helps to lay the foundation for more complex concepts children will come across later in life. These simple stepping stones help them pursue learning bigger and better things.

If you’re a parent or caregiver, keep reading to explore some creative and enjoyable ways to introduce shapes for toddlers to learn.

Play Shape-Sorting Games

Child playing Shape-Sorting Games

If you have a dedicated shape-sorting toy, you can use it to begin teaching shapes to toddlers. However, you and your little one can try the same toddler shapes games using items around your home.

Gather a variety of objects with different shapes, such as blocks, balls, or even household items like Tupperware containers. Place the items in front of your child and encourage them to sort the objects based on their unique shapes. If they’re still relatively new to shapes, it’s okay to help a little.

To make learning shapes more enjoyable, consider turning it into a scavenger hunt, where your child goes through the house trying to find objects that have a specific shape.

Try Shape Art Together

child playing with didactic game

Lay down newspaper to protect your table or floor and provide your toddler with colored paper, safety scissors, crayons, and non-toxic glue. Once you have all of your supplies gathered. Guide your child in creating simple shapes that they can use to make a collage. For children who are still working on their coordination skills, you can always opt to replace the safety scissors with pre-cut printable shapes for toddlers.

This sort of hands-on activity helps your child recognize shapes. It also fosters creativity, fine motor skill development, and a deeper connection between yourself and your little one.

Sing Shape-Related Songs (or Rhymes)

Teacher teaching shapes to toddlers

This is one of the more fun and practical preschool shapes activities you can use for teaching shapes to toddlers, because this method doesn’t require any supplies and can be done anywhere.

Simply sing songs or recite rhymes that talk about shapes with your child. For example, you could sing “The Wheels on the Bus,” and focus specifically on the circular shape of the wheels when you sing the verse, “The wheels on the bus go round and round.” If you want to expand your song and rhyme choice, search the internet for toddler-friendly songs and rhymes about shapes. Plenty exist so you’re sure to find something that your child will like.

To make the song or rhyme more interactive, use gestures or props when you and your toddler are singing.

Introduce Your Toddler to Shape Puzzles

Teacher teaching shapes to toddlers through puzzle game

Investing in shape puzzles can help provide your toddler with a hands-on approach to learning about shapes. Several shape puzzles exist, so be sure to choose shapes activities for toddlers so that your child can start learning at an appropriate level.

Present your child with a shape puzzle and instruct them on how to match the shape pieces with the corresponding cutouts. When you start, use puzzles with only a few basic shapes so that your toddler doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Once they’ve mastered the easier puzzles, move up to ones that are a little more complex.

Watch your child while they play and learn, and praise their efforts when they match a shape correctly. If they get stuck, it’s okay to provide gentle guidance. After all, it’s a learning experience and sometimes a bit of help can make a big difference in how effectively a child learns.

Give Sensory Bins a Try

Child playing with shape toys

f you want to add more dimensions to your toddler’s learning experience, a set of sensory bins might be just the thing. Simply fill a large container with different objects of different materials and shapes for kids to learn. You might add wooden blocks, foam squares, or plastic cubes for the square bin. Using items of different colors is also a good idea for multifaceted teaching.

Once you’ve set up a couple of bins, encourage your little one to explore the contents of the bin with their hands. Let them feel the different shapes and textures and prompt them to identify the shapes they’re playing with.

This experience not only helps children recognize shapes, but can also work with identifying colors and materials as well.

Creating lessons and games on shapes for kids or shapes for toddlers can be a fun and rewarding way to spend time with your child. By incorporating a few engaging and exploratory activities, you can help your little one develop his or her shape recognition. In doing so, you’ll also foster his or her curiosity and love for learning. So, have fun and cherish the time you spend teaching.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids That Reduce Screen Time

It seems like everything for kids is on a screen nowadays, and while that’s certainly more convenient, it’s just not healthy. Excessive screen use has been linked to a sedentary lifestyle. Higher rates of anxiety, depression, confidence issues, and social withdrawal. The best way to remedy this is by giving your children screen-free activities. While this is a major lifestyle change, it is a doable one. So we’ve put together a quick guide that’ll help you to get started!

How Much Is Too Much?

Boy watching movie on tab laying on bed

Recent studies have shown that kids and teens are using screens now more than ever. With teenagers specifically averaging out at a shockingly high 7-8 hours per day. Now, this is obviously far too much, but where should you as a parent draw the line? As with most parenting matters, there’s no one-size-fits-all all answer. But generally speaking, the younger the child, the less screen time they should have. 

Before age 2 or so, you should keep screen time to a minimum, instead allowing your child to grow and develop by interacting with the real world. Once they’re a bit older, you can start introducing screens, but keep exposure limited. Though you may want to go a bit higher or lower, try to keep screen time at or below 1 ½-2 hours a day. Once they’ve hit their teenage years, you may be considering getting them their own device, but be sure to monitor it carefully. Using parental control apps, you can set devices to restrict your child’s screen time automatically. We recommend keeping screen time for teens below 2 hours a day if possible, though you could bump that limit up to three if necessary.

Keep in mind that these are all soft guidelines, and your child’s actual needs may differ. Ultimately, the best way to tell whether or not they’re getting too much screen time is to continue watching and interacting with them. Are they using screens for comfort at the cost of real, human connections? Have they become restless, less sociable, or more irritable since they started using screens? If you answered yes to those or similar questions. It may be time to have a frank family conversation about rolling back screen time. 

How to Pick the Best Screen-Free Activities

Girl browsing smartphone at table

Of course, you can’t just hope to take away your child’s screen time and have everything go smoothly. There’s also a fair amount of effort on your part. In order to keep them from picking the screens up again. You need to present your children with things to do without electronics. There is, once again, no one-size-fits-all solution here. The perfect alternative will vary depending on your children’s age and interests. 

For example, if you have a teenager with an interest in animals, they’d probably love volunteering at a local animal shelter and playing with the animals there. If you’ve got a young child with an interest in the outdoors, they’ll thrill to receive a bug-catching kit that they can use to explore the world around them. You may not be able to find the perfect screen alternative at first, but once you do, it all becomes worth it, so keep looking for as long as it takes!

Screen-Free Outdoor Activities

kids with backpacks spending time in nature outdoors doing screen-free activities

For kids and teens that enjoy more outdoorsy activities, we have a few recommendations, so feel free to take a look!

  • Play outdoor games. For younger kids, outdoor games like tag, hopscotch, and catch are a great way to spend an afternoon. If your child is old enough, putting down the screen to pick up a sport is a great way to stay engaged, outside, and healthy.
  • Go for a hike. Hiking is one of our favorite screen-free activities for adults and kids alike. Next time you and your kiddos get the chance, try taking them for a day out in nature and see what they think! If they enjoy it, you can start going on longer hikes and camping trips, allowing for less time on the internet and more time living in the moment.

Screen-Free Indoor Activities

screen-free activities: Kid playing chess

Of course, this article wouldn’t be complete without some advice for families that prefer to stay indoors, so we’ve got you covered!

  • Have a board game night. Board gaming is a great hobby for any family to pick up. Not only does it get everyone away from the screens for a few hours, but it gives the family time to chat, enjoy themselves, and ultimately grow closer. For families with young children, basic board games like Candy Land and Snakes and Ladders are perfect, but if you’ve got teenage board game enthusiasts in the family, we recommend something more complex and long-term like Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Hold a family book club. This activity can be done long-term with a variety of books. It’s a great way for families to learn more about the world and about each other, and helps children expand their intellectual horizons without any need for the internet.

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products to keep your kids entertained without screens? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

Baby Shower Gifts That Are Actually Useful

If you are invited to a close friend’s or family member’s baby shower, the first thing on your mind might be what gift you want to give. A baby shower is an opportunity to give your loved one a present that will make them happy and their lives easier. The last thing the host or guest wants is to give common baby shower gifts that they don’t use or that only end up sitting around their house. We’ll explore a few gift ideas for new mums that your loved one will actually use and enjoy. 

Finding the Best Baby Shower Gifts 

Baby shower gifts

The best gift for new mums will always depend on the mum. It will depend on the expecting families’ lifestyle and preferences. If they have a gift registry, you can gain inspiration from that as well. 

Maybe they are a family that sticks to basics and aren’t interested in gadgets like a smart baby monitor. Maybe you know the expected mum well enough that a diaper genie will change her life. It is important to first consider your budget, as well as the preferences of the expecting family. 

Let’s examine a few options, sorted from least to most expensive. This way, no matter your budget, you’ll find a gift for the expecting family in your life. 


Bay shower gifts: Baby pacifier and diapers in the crib closeup

Starting the list of baby shower gift ideas for mums: Teethers. There are many different options for teethers, all meant for different stages of development. The first type of teether a baby will need is a silicone teether. These are easy to chew, and many come with different textures. 


Bibs always get messy and need replacing. Fabric bibs are especially helpful during the newborn stage. As the baby grows and eats more solid food, silicone food-catching bibs can help keep the inevitable baby mess contained a little.

You can also combine the two gifts above with a teething bib. These are cloth bibs with an attached teether at the end. The expecting family may be grateful for this unique find!

Nursing Pads

Another very useful baby shower gift for mum is a nursing pad. If your loved one plans to breastfeed, nursing pads will continuously be on the shopping list. Having a few on hand right away can be very helpful to new parents. 

Diaper Caddy

Blankets and toy in carrycot

New parents often set up a designated changing station for their little one. But there will often be times when changing needs to happen elsewhere in the house. A diaper caddy can hold all the essentials for changing diapers for parents to take anywhere around the house. You can gift the caddy by itself or stock it with baby wipes, diapers, and diaper cream to give the expecting parent a head start. 


Wubbanubs are half pacifiers and half stuffed animals. Many babies love the sensation of using their pacifier while holding the stuffed animal attached. Plus, a bonus for the parents: These pacifiers are much harder to lose! 

Boppy Pillow

Cute baby on nursing pillow

We are moving into slightly more expensive baby shower gifts now. A boppy pillow is a crescent-shaped pillow made to support a baby during breastfeeding. Boppy pillows are especially versatile gifts. They can also support the baby when sitting on the floor or help anyone hold the baby comfortably while sitting down. 

Diaper Genie 

Save new mums the hassle of taking out the garbage every few hours to rid the house of stinky diapers. The Diaper Genie is a pail that airlocks, so new parents can throw multiple diapers away without worrying about the smell.  

Portable Sound Machine

Sound machines are an easy way to play white noise or soft music to help little ones fall asleep. Whether new parents are on a long car ride or spending the afternoon with a friend during nap time, a portable sound machine can be handy. 


Robotic wireless vacuum cleaner control by smartphone app

If it is in the budget for a bit more expensive baby shower gifts, Roombas can be especially useful to new parents. Roombas or other brands of robot vacuums can help keep busy parents’ spaces cleaner, which can save them energy and reduce stress.  

Smart Baby Monitor

There are many kinds of smart baby monitors that include a camera and a way to watch a live feed of the camera. While traditional baby monitors only provide audio, smart baby monitors provide a live visual of the newborn, giving parents peace of mind while their child is in their crib. 

Wrapping Up

There are many options when looking for baby shower gifts for mums, which means you are sure to find the perfect gift for the expectant mother in your life. The gifts above are sure to be useful to new parents, no matter your budget!

As the expected baby grows and the parents need more toys, you can look no further than Toys Central to find new toys that will bring the child joy. 


Musical Toys- How Music & Musical Toys Can Help a Child’s Development

Music is more than just a sequence of pleasant sounds. It can be a powerful tool that can significantly and positively affect a child’s development. From infancy all the way through to early childhood, exposure to music and musical toys can stimulate various aspects of cognitive, emotional, and social development. 

Research suggests that early exposure to music can have long-lasting effects on a child’s cognitive abilities, potentially leading to improved academic performance later in life. Additionally, music offers children a means of self-expression and emotional regulation, nurturing their overall well-being. Through shared musical experiences, such as singing lullabies with caregivers or engaging in group music-making activities, children develop vital social skills and forge meaningful connections with others.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the variety of ways in which music and the use of musical toys can contribute to a young person’s overall growth and well-being.

Cognitive Development

mother and kid sitting on grass mother teaching kid to play with musical toy

Perhaps one of the most important elements of growth that music impacts is a child’s cognitive development. Introducing babies and toddlers to the best musical instruments for their age group can make a world of difference when it comes to the development of brain health, memory and attention, and problem-solving skills. Research suggests that musical experimentation in early childhood can help promote the growth of neural connections in the brain, especially in areas related to language learning, spatial reasoning, and math skills. Learning songs, rhymes and melodies can also enhance a young person’s memory and attention span, as they slowly start to remember song lyrics and verse sequences.

Emotional Maturity

Musical instruments for toddlers and babies can also provide growing minds with a medium for self-expression and emotional regulation. Singing, dancing, or playing instruments can effectively serve as a useful outlet for stress relief and expressing feelings before speech has fully developed. In addition, when young children participate in collaborative musical experiences with siblings or peers, such as group singing or instrument playing, they learn more about empathy, cooperation, and how to bond socially with the people around them. Enjoying shared musical experiences can help children form a sense of connection and belonging with others as well.

Fine and Gross Motor Skills

Little boy learning how to play the piano

Investing in musical instruments for kids can make quite a difference when it comes to the way young children develop both their gross and fine motor skills. For example, playing musical instruments, such as drums, xylophones, or toddler-friendly keyboards, calls for precise finger movements and hand-eye coordination. While little ones likely won’t hit the right notes at first, they’ll gradually enhance their fine motor skills as they continue to play. 

In addition, activities like dancing or moving to musical tunes encourages the development of a child’s gross motor skills, coordination, and balance. Landing all the right steps isn’t terribly important in terms of a child’s gross motor development. Children tend to enhance these essential skills by simply getting familiar with the sensation of moving and following a rhythm.

Language and Communication Skills

two little sisters play together

Engaging in musical play can also help babies, toddlers, and young children enhance their language learning skills. Singing songs with rhymes and repetitive lyrics can help cement language retention by reinforcing vocabulary, various word sounds, and the structure of sentences. In addition, singing songs while playing with baby instruments and other musical toys can gradually improve a young person’s verbal communication skills and language fluency. Participating in activities like musical storytelling or call-and-response singing provides little ones with ways to have fun and learn at the same time.

Creativity and Imagination

girl holding ukulele

Finally, perhaps just as important as cognitive development comes the benefit of boosting a child’s ability to be creative and use his or her imagination during playtime. Introducing musical toys for babies encourages little ones to explore their creativity by improvising sounds and melodies, composing their own songs, or inventing new rhythmic patterns. Through the power of music, babies, toddlers, and young children can discover new storytelling methods, which creates more vivid images in their minds.

Playing with toddler musical instruments not only encourages creativity but it also helps foster a sense of autonomy in children as they experiment with different sounds and elements of music. As children step into imaginative play using music, they can learn to communicate their ideas and add structure to the stories they tell. Not only does this practice help enrich play, but it strengthens mental flexibility and promotes the exploration of new scenarios.

Music and baby musical toys play an incredibly important role in nurturing a child’s development across various domains. From cognitive and emotional growth to language and motor skills development, the benefits of introducing music into a child’s life are vast. Whether through singing, dancing, or playing with child-friendly musical instruments, parents and caregivers can use the power of music to enrich their child’s learning journey and promote whole-body development. 

Teething Stages and the Best Teething Toys for Each One

Teething is an important milestone in a baby’s developmental journey, but it can also be a challenging time for both babies and their parents or caregivers. That said, understanding the various stages of teething and having the right teething toys on hand can help make this period more manageable and comfortable for everyone involved.

In this article, we will walk you through the different teething stages your baby is going to experience, and recommend the best teething toys for babies in each stage. This way, you can more effectively soothe your little one through the process of teething.

Stage 1: Babies Show Early Signs of Teething

smiley woman holding cute baby

During the earliest stage of the teething process, which usually takes place between 0 to 6 months, you may notice that your baby has become more irritable and appears to be drooling excessively. They may also start to chew on their fingers or place toys into their mouths in an effort to relieve the discomfort they’re experiencing. Though no teeth are visible yet, the journey has begun and your child’s teeth will soon start to push through their gums.

Recommended Teething Toy

At this stage, soft and flexible teething products are ideal for soothing sore gums. Try the following:

Silicone Teethers: Soft silicone teethers are gentle on delicate gums and provide a satisfying chewing sensation for babies. Look for ones with various textures to massage different areas of the gums.

Stage 2: The First Teeth Begin to Emerge

Sweet red haired baby lying on blanket among pillows and playing with teething toys

As your little one’s teeth begin to emerge, typically between 6 and 8 months, they may start to experience increased discomfort. In response, they may start to bite down on harder objects to relieve pressure. During this stage, you should see the bottom and/or top incisors (front teeth) emerge.

Recommended Teething Toy

The best baby teethers during this stage are those that are designed to be chewed on from different angles, or those that can provide relief through temperature changes. For example, you could try:

Water-Filled Teethers: A water-filled baby chew toy can be chilled in the refrigerator, which provides soothing relief for inflamed gums. The cold temperature numbs the gums, while the soft texture of the teething toy offers a satisfying chewing experience.

Stage 3: The Primary Molars Begin Erupting

baby crawling and chewing teething toy

During the third stage of teething, which usually occurs between 10 and 14 months, your baby’s primary molars (back teeth) will start to break through the gums. Because this stage causes considerable discomfort, you may notice that your baby is drooling more and may be considerably more irritable than usual. 

Recommended Teething Toy

Ideal teething rings for babies in this stage tend to have varying textures and shapes, which can help massage the gums and provide relief as new teeth emerge. During this stage, it may be wise to choose slightly harder teething toys for babies. Try the following:

Textured Teething Rings: Teething rings with textured surfaces are excellent for massaging sore gums and providing gum stimulation. Opt for ones made from safe materials like BPA-free silicone or smooth, natural wood.

Stage 4: The Canine Teeth Emerge

doctor holding baby

During this stage, which takes place around the 16 to 22 month mark, the canine teeth will break through your baby’s gums. This stage can be quite uncomfortable due to the sharp edges of the canine teeth pressing against the gum line before they finally break through. 

Recommended Teething Toy

This stage of your baby’s teething journey is similar to both Stage 2 and Stage 3. As such, the same recommendations for baby teething toys can be implemented during Stage 4 of teething to provide babies with as much comfort as possible.

Stage 5: The Large Molars Become Visible

Babies playing with teething toys

During this last stage, which is usually between 24 to 33 months, the large molars (far-back teeth) finally emerge. This stage is usually the most uncomfortable and painful for toddlers due to the large size of these molars. Because of the discomfort experienced during this stage, many soothing methods may no longer be effective. For parents, it’s essential to try various methods of providing relief until something works effectively enough to get little ones through this final stage.

Recommended Teething Toy

Teething toys for toddlers should be durable and offer substantial chewing resistance to help alleviate discomfort during this stage. The best teething toy during this stage is:

Hard Rubber Teethers: Hard rubber teethers are designed to withstand vigorous chewing and provide firm pressure against the gums. Look for ones with ridges or knobs to target the back molars effectively.

Teething is a natural process that all babies and toddlers go through, but it can be a trying time for both little ones and their parents. By understanding the different stages of teething and choosing the best teething products for babies in each phase, you can help alleviate your child’s discomfort and make this important milestone more manageable. With the right tools and a little patience, you can help your baby sail through the teething stage with a smile.

Importance of Toys in a Child’s Development

Toys are often a big part of a child’s life, but they’re more than simple objects of entertainment. They’re essential tools that aid in supporting a child’s healthy phases of growth. Explore the importance of toys in child’s development.

Well, from the colorful blocks that help teach spatial awareness to the dolls that encourage social skills. Toys can play an important role in shaping a young person’s cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development. 

In this article, we’ll explore the way toys influence a child’s growth and importance of toys. As well as why they’re crucial tools when it comes to fostering various skills and abilities. By understanding the significance of toys beyond their surface-level amusement value. We’ll illuminate the transformative power they hold in sculpting the minds and hearts of the next generation.

Toys Enhance Cognitive Development

Full shot girl playing at home

Toys are essential when it comes to stimulating cognitive development in children. Providing children with toys for cognitive development grants them unique opportunities for exploration, problem-solving, and using their imaginations. Building blocks, puzzles, and shape sorters, for example, can help young children develop spatial awareness. Improve their hand-eye coordination, and learn how to match shapes and colors. Cognitive developmental toys that make use of letters, numbers, and colors can also aid in early numeric and literacy skills.

By engaging with these types of toys, children can begin to recognize letters and numbers, understand their meanings, and even learn basic mathematical concepts. This early exposure lays the foundation for future literacy skills and the mastery of numbers, setting the stage for academic success later in life. Overall, toys that stimulate cognitive development not only provide hours of fun. Toys also empower children to develop essential cognitive skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Toys Encourage Creativity

Importance of toys in their development

During their early years, a young child’s mind is incredibly active as they learn about the world around them. Providing them with access to an array of early childhood toys can help spark their imaginations and enhance creativity in children. Different toys allow and encourage them to explore different roles, create scenarios, and practice imaginative world-building. Pretend play toys like dolls, action figures, and play kitchens encourage the flow of storytelling, role-playing, and social interactions with their peers. Art supplies such as crayons, paints, and clay or Play-Doh. Toys allow young children to express themselves creatively while they’re developing their fine motor skills.

Toys Promote Emotional and Social Development

Toys help facilitate social interaction and emotional development in children because they encourage sharing, cooperation, and empathy. Board games and cooperative toys can assist in teaching young children about how to take turns. Follow a list of rules, and work with their peers toward achieving a common goal. Toys for social development, like dolls and stuffed animals, also provide comfort and companionship to children, which effectively helps them develop empathy and the desire to nurture.

Toys Aid in Physical Development

Girl is playing with toys in home

Providing children with toys can play a crucial role in promoting healthy physical development, as many toys encourage active play and the development of gross motor skills. Outdoor toys like balls, bicycles, and swings encourage children to participate in physical activity, enhance their balance, and improve their coordination. Children can also make use of physical development toys to work on their fine motor skills. This is accomplished by taking part in activities like building with blocks, threading beads on a string, and manipulating the moving parts of small toys.

Toys Cultivate Strong Problem-Solving Skills

child playing in her room

Many early childhood development toys present children with challenges and puzzles that require them to think and experiment, which aids in the development of their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Toys for higher developmental stages like construction sets, building toys, and various STEM kits encourage children to innovate and try new things as they attempt to navigate the problems they experience when bringing the structures in their minds to life. Solving puzzles and trying out mazes can help children develop logical thinking and spatial reasoning capabilities as well.

A child developmental toy can be an incredible tool when it comes to supporting a child’s healthy development. Toys influence cognitive, emotional, social, and physical growth and provide young people with hours upon hours of fun and engagement. From stimulating their imaginations to fostering careful problem-solving skills, toys play an important role in shaping children into well-rounded individuals. 

Parents and caregivers should choose toys thoughtfully, considering their educational value and developmental benefits. By providing little ones with a variety of toys that cater to different aspects of their development, parents can support their children’s growth and learning in meaningful ways.

A Parent’s Guide For Buying Safe Toys to Your Babies

If you’re looking into new toys for your small children, it’s important that the toys you purchase are not only fun, but safe as well. Buying toys for toddlers and babies is uniquely challenging. As they typically haven’t learned many safety practices that have become instinctual to us, so their toys need to account for that. That said, we’ve put together a quick list of tips for buying the safe toys for your babies, so feel free to take a look!

Avoid Small Parts

Small children, especially babies and early toddlers, tend to be in a stage of psychological development known as oral exploration. In layman’s terms, this just means that anything that can fit in their mouth will find its way in there at one point or another. While this isn’t typically a problem, if the things they’re putting in their mouth are small pieces of plastic, metal, or rubber. There’s a very serious risk that they’ll choke. When purchasing toys for kids, be sure to check for small parts. Avoid any toys that have them until your children have learned what is and isn’t safe to swallow.

Ensure Toys Are Durable

Soft toys

No toy is meant to last forever, but buying durable toddler toys is an important element of safety. Even if a toy doesn’t pose a hazard at first, it may eventually break into smaller pieces that do. To prevent your child from choking on or being injured by one of these pieces, be sure that a toy is built to last before purchasing it. Regularly look over your child’s toys to make sure everything is still structurally sound and unlikely to break.

Buy Age-Appropriate Toys

Though it’s easy to overlook the suggested age ranges on toys while you’re shopping. It’s important to pay attention to them if you’re buying for a baby, toddler, or small child. Toys for kids are typically given their age rating based on what’s safe for their intended audience to play with. As well as the developmental progress of that specific age range. For example, a modeling kit may be a great toy for a 10-year-old, but for a 3-year-old, just about every piece in the kit is a significant choking hazard. Checking age ratings will ensure that your child always has toys to play with that are safe and age-appropriate.

Look for Organic Baby Toys

Kid playing with wooden toy

As mentioned earlier, babies and toddlers have a strong tendency to put their mouths on just about anything they can find, including their toys. It’s therefore important to purchase toys that designed with this in mind, and that extends not just to the design of the toy. But to its materials as well. Rather than toys made with potentially harmful paints or other chemicals. We’d recommend shopping for sustainable toys made of organic materials; wooden blocks come to mind.

Throw Away Packaging

When you first receive a toy, it may come sealed in a plastic bag, have some sort of tag attached, or feature other small parts. As soon as you’ve unboxed the toy and given it to your child. Be sure to throw away all of these stray bits of packaging in a place where your child can’t get to them. These seemingly innocuous items may pose a suffocation or choking hazard to a young child who doesn’t know any better. So it’s best to be proactive and get rid of them immediately.

Watch Your Child When They Play

Mother watching her children playing

While it’s not feasible to constantly keep your full attention on your child, try to stay in the room with them or check on them while they’re playing. If something goes wrong like a toy breaking or an accident related to a physical toy like a balance board. Being in the room means you’ll be able to respond quickly and make sure the issue is resolved without anything serious happening. 

Be Cautious of Batteries and Magnets

Though you should be wary of small parts in general, pay extra careful attention to batteries and magnets and avoid them altogether in the case of younger children. Batteries, when ingested, can cause serious injuries and chemical burns. While magnets inside the body may stick together, causing blockages and other extremely dangerous complications. Avoid buying your children toys with either of these until they’ve moved past the phase of putting everything in their mouth.

Trust Your Gut

Sometimes, a toy checks all the safety boxes, but your intuition as a parent tells you that something’s still wrong. If that ever happens, go with your gut and keep the questionable toy away from your child. Whether the threat to your child’s safety ends up being real or not, by avoiding these questionable toys, you give yourself peace of mind, allowing your child to play freely without any risk of harm. 

Looking for more great tips and tricks for finding safe toys for your kids, or a place to buy those toys? Feel free to visit us at ToysCentral today!

9 Colorful and Easy Craft Ideas For Kids

If you’re a parent of young children, you’re always in need of new ways to keep your kids entertained and engaged with the world around them. Children are best engaged through play. So a list of favorite crafts is an absolute must-have. To give you some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of 9 of our colorful and easy craft ideas for your kids to try!

1. Folding Paper Airplanes

We all remember the days from our youth of competing with our friends to see who could fold the best paper airplane. So why not pass on those fond memories to your children? Folding a paper airplane is one of the easiest (and cheapest!) kids’ crafts out there. All you need is a single sheet of A4 printer paper. Instructions or a video tutorial like this one, and an outdoor space to see whose airplane came out best. Note that for the first few attempts, small children may need a bit of help making some of the folds, but other than that, folding paper airplanes is a great way for any child to spend an afternoon.

2. Coloring With a Coloring Sheet

Coloring sheet with crayons

A classic arts and crafts project for kids the world over. Coloring in a coloring sheet is a quick, easy, and affordable way for your child to express their creativity. Just give your child some crayons and a few coloring sheets of their favorite characters or scenes, and see what they come up with!

3. Free-Form Drawing Session

If your kid is tired of coloring sheets, consider introducing them to free-form drawing! Rather than simply color in an existing template. Your child can control every part of the creative process, from the first few rough lines to the very finishing touches. All you have to do is hand them a blank sheet of paper and some art supplies and watch them go. Be sure to encourage them throughout the process. Watch their love for drawing develop into a talent, a lifelong hobby, or maybe even a career!

4. Polymer Clay Sculpting

Clay Sculpting

Polymer clay sculptures are another open-ended form of crafts for kids. It allows them to take their artistic talents into a three-dimensional space. Start by purchasing some air-dry polymer clay, and then just sit back and allow your child’s imagination to run wild! You will amaze at some of the things a young mind can imagine, and with polymer clay, you can see that imagination brought into the real world.

5. Homemade Hummingbird Feeder

For an animal-loving child, a homemade hummingbird feeder is one of the best DIY crafts out there. To make one, just take a mason jar with a metal lid, and some thin rope or thread. Poke several small holes in the lid, fill the jar with hummingbird nectar, and screw the lid on tightly. Then, use the rope to hang it from a nearby tree, and wait with your child for the hummingbirds to arrive!

6. Marshmallow Launcher

Did you know that it’s actually surprisingly easy to make a miniature catapult from your own backyard? To put one together, all you’ll need are several popsicle sticks. A few rubber bands, some masking tape, a plastic spoon, and a bag of jumbo marshmallows to launch. Start by stacking several popsicle sticks and rubber-banding them together on both ends. Then, rubber-band two popsicle sticks together on just one end. Slide the large bundle of sticks in between the pair of sticks. Wrap another rubber band around the spot where the two bundles of sticks intersect, attach the spoon near this point using the masking tape, and you’re done! Enjoy testing the catapult out and seeing how far you can get the marshmallows to fly!

7. Easy Homemade Stickers

Kids making stickers from paper

Believe it or not, you can make homemade stickers with just a few basic household materials. There are plenty of different methods, but most just involve drawing on a sheet of printer paper, cutting out the drawing, coating the back with envelope glue, and then sticking wax paper on the envelope glue. The wax paper will stick to the back of the sticker to allow it to be used at a later date, but will peel off just fine once your child is ready to stick it. From there, your child can enjoy their very own custom-made stickers!

8. DIY Popsicles

What these crafts lack in permanence, they more than make up for in deliciousness! All you’ll need to make these are some popsicle sticks, popsicle molds, and your child’s favorite soda, juice, fruit punch, or other beverage. Simply pour the drink into the molds, put sticks in the molds, and stick them in the freezer for several hours, or until solid. Then, remove them from the freezer and enjoy a frosty snack with your kids!

9. Painting Rocks

Mother and daughter painting rocks

This craft is an interesting one simply because of how much variety it offers. Get started by walking around your local parks and nature trails with your kids to find rocks in interesting shapes and sizes. Then, decorate the rocks with tempera paint, glitter, and anything else you can think of, and see what everyone comes up with!

Looking for more colorful and easy craft ideas, tips, and products to keep your little ones’ minds engaged? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!

10 Math Games for Kids That Are Educational & Fun

Math is a fundamental skill that lays the foundation for problem-solving. However, convincing kids that math can be enjoyable is sometimes a challenge. Thankfully, the world of education has evolved. These days, there are lots of math programs for kids that make learning fun and fast-paced. In this blog, we’ll explore ten math games for kids that blend education with entertainment.

1. Flash Cards

One of the best ways to engage kids in math is through quick math challenges. Using a set of cards with different types of math problems, kids can test how many cards they fly through before time runs out. These fast-paced math drills  help children improve their mental arithmetic on a time limit. This is an especially good game to practice if your child has a timed math test coming up at school!

2. Tangram Puzzles 

Tangrams are ancient Chinese puzzles that consist of seven flat pieces, called tans. These seven tans are put together to form a square. Tangrams not only enhance spatial awareness, but also involve concepts such as geometry and spatial relationships. They’re great toys to introduce toddlers to and nurture future mathematical skills. For older kids, they can be used to further enhance learning of fractions and geometry.

3. Math Games Online

Online mats game

The internet is a treasure trove of free tools, and it offers a plethora of fun math games for kids. Websites like Math is Fun are chock full of interactive math games on a variety of subjects like algebra, counting, measurement, and more. By keeping their games colorful and upbeat, these websites offer both entertaining and educational math activities that kids will play for hours. Math is Fun is by no means the only math website; ABC Mouse, CoolMath Games, and Math Blaster are also worth exploring as avenues for learning. 

4. Math Bingo

Bingo gets a math makeover with the Math Bingo game. This math activity is easy to learn and play, especially if your little student is already familiar with the original game. It simply makes the game educational by replacing numbers with math problems. As children mark off the right answers on their cards, they practice core math skills like adding and subtracting.

5. Sun Swamp 

Board games are an excellent way to play math games with your children. Not only do they get to sharpen their math skills, but it’s also a game that can involve the whole family! There’s something about a game board and some dice that make math much more enticing for kids. Sum Swamp takes kids on a mathematical journey through a whimsical swamp. As they navigate the board, players encounter math challenges that include addition and subtraction. The game incorporates an element of chance, making it both educational and unpredictable.

6. Twenty-four Math Game

Math Games for Kids

This is a unique and challenging  game that will require kids to put their critical thinking skills to use! The goal is to use four numbers and basic operations to reach the target number of 24. Encourage your child to get creative and think of all the different ways they can get to that number. This game not only sharpens calculation abilities but also encourages strategic problem-solving.

7. Sudoku and KenKen 

Sudoku and KenKen are classic puzzles for a reason. Even adults are drawn to these similar games for their element of strategy. Both promote critical thinking and logical reasoning. These fun math games will require your child to apply deductive reasoning to fill in the blanks, while adhering to specific rules. They can be frustrating to play at first, but with a bit of encouragement, anyone can conquer a game of Sudoku or KenKen. Adding these games into your child’s routine will continue to enhance their problem-solving skills.

8. Pizza Fractions

Math for kids just got a bit tastier. Bring math to the kitchen with a fun and delicious activity – Pizza Fractions! Start by making or ordering a pizza. As you slice it, involve your child in counting and discussing the fractions of each slice. For example, cutting a pizza into eight slices introduces the concept of ⅛ fractions. Encourage your child to identify and articulate the fraction of each slice they are enjoying. This hands-on approach is a great way to demonstrate the real-world use of math to your young student.

9. Zoombinis 

Boy watching tab

What kid doesn’t love video games? In the computer game Zoombinis, kids must guide small blue creatures through a series of puzzles, each requiring a unique solution. The game’s engaging story and diverse challenges make it a great  tool for honing math and analytical smarts.

10. Math Jeopardy 

Bring the excitement of Jeopardy into the realm of math with a customized Math Jeopardy game. Rather than typical questions this version involves numbers game questions. Kids can choose to answer questions from different categories, depending on what they are learning at home or school. From addition and subtraction to geometry and word problems, Math Jeopardy makes learning competitive and fun.

With the power of play, math can easily be made into a fun activity. Discover all the ways your child can learn and play at the same time at Toys Central!

10 Must-Have Baby Travel Essentials for Your Kids

If you’re an avid traveler with a new child, chances are you’re eager to get back on the road as soon as possible. However, there are some unique considerations to keep in mind when traveling with a child, and you’ll need to bring certain equipment to ensure things go smoothly. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the most important baby travel essentials for vacationing with children!

1. Toddler Travel Bed

Most hotels don’t provide special accommodations for babies when it comes to sleeping arrangements, so chances are you’ll have to provide your own. Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult to do so. Something like a travel pack-and-play or travel bed will allow your child to sleep safely and peacefully while away from home, which gives the whole family a chance to rest up for each new day of exciting adventures.

2. Diaper Bag

If you’re planning on doing some heavy tourism and sightseeing, you may not have the time to make return visits to your hotel room for diaper changes. Because of this, it’s prudent to carry a diaper bag around with you. Be sure to keep this diaper bag stocked with spare toiletries for quick, on-the-go changes, and you’ll be set to keep exploring all day without any need for tedious trips back and forth from the hotel.

3. Portable Toiletries

Portable Toiletries Bag

That being said, what baby necessities should you pack in a diaper bag? While your child may have unique needs that require you to bring more specific items, there are a few universal toiletries that any traveling parent should always keep on hand. Of course, you’ll need spare diapers to do a diaper change, but don’t forget other essentials like baby wipes or baby powder, either. In addition, be sure to pack travel-sized soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and toothbrushes for each of your children to ensure that hygiene isn’t pushed to the side during vacation time.

4. Baby Earmuffs

If it’s your child’s first time traveling, they’re going to have countless new experiences and witness countless new sights, sounds, and smells. While this is fun, exciting, and novel for those children, it does tend to become overwhelming after a while, which may cause your child to become fussy. If that happens, one of the best travel items to have is a pair of well-rated earmuffs. Though typically used for noisy environments like construction or loud concerts, these earmuffs are also perfect for just blocking out the noise of a crowd and allowing your child to create their own mental bubble to relax in for a bit. This will allow them to self-regulate, avoid melting down, and return from that mental bubble refreshed and ready to keep exploring.

5. Portable Toys

Portable Toys

While vacation is supposed to be a fun time for all, young children haven’t exactly developed the same patience as adults when it comes to many of the more time-consuming elements of travel. Whether they’re waiting for their plane to take off, stuck in the car for long periods of time, or anything in between, small children are likely to become bored, so it’s a good idea to have something for them to do. Try to bring along a few portable toys, books, puzzles, and other activities to keep them engaged and entertained, even during some of the less interesting parts of your vacation.

6. Toy Organizer

In addition to bringing toys, be sure to bring a container to keep them all in one place. If your child loses a toy on vacation, it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to recover, so to prevent that from happening, it’s best to keep them organized when not in use.

7. Pacifiers

If your child is still young enough to use a pacifier, make a point of taking a few extras with you. These must-haves for newborns are surprisingly easy to misplace, but without them, your child may become fussy and upset. To keep the vacation fun for everyone, it’s important to always have a few pacifiers on hand so you can help an upset child calm down if needed.

8. Spare Bottles

Another great way to keep your infant calm is to ensure that they’re always running on a full stomach. Before heading out on your next adventure, toss a bottle and some baby formula in your daypack, and you’ll always have a meal ready for your child when they start getting hungry.

9. Security Blankets or Plushies

As mentioned earlier, it’s easy for children to become overwhelmed while on vacation, so having something to hold onto has a sort of grounding effect. Whether that’s their favorite blanket or a stuffed animal, we recommend allowing them to bring a comforting object from home to carry around. If you do this, however, be sure to pay careful attention to ensure that the object doesn’t get lost or ruined.

10. Snack Containers

Snack containers

If you’re traveling with children old enough for solid food, it’s never a bad idea to carry around a few of their favorite snacks in secure containers. We recommend things like fruit, crackers, and dry cereal, but any of your child’s favorites that you can easily transport will work, so have some fun with it!

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products for traveling with small children? Feel free to visit our site at ToysCentral today!