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how children play at different ages
Finding toys for infants can be intimidating because many people don't understand how infants play. Rattles and objects with sound elements are fascinating for infants. Rattles with a moving interior part, like Brio's Apple Core Rattle or some of the solid wood rattles from Schaaf, can give children one of their first ''cause and effect'' experiences. Soft knit balls and safe cars without moveable parts are interesting over and over as children gain more understanding of objects and motion by the day. Infants don't need much to be interested and entertained.

As children get older it is important to try to match their toys to their level of development so that they are challenged but not frustrated. While many toys have age ranges printed on the packaging, it is really important to know your child and make choices based on their individual needs. At age two and three most children are really creating a base understanding of motor skills and orienting objects in space. Block play is a lasting exercise that can start as early as one and continue throughout childhood as children mature and create new ways to use blocks.

After age three children are developing more language and social skills. Games start to be fun for them, and ride-on toys give them much needed exercise and balance control. There is a wide variety of Montessori learning materials that offer children important learning experiences through play and sensory exploration.

Like safety concerns, it is important to watch how your child plays both alone and with others, to ensure that you are giving them the best toys possible for them to grow into confident, creative individuals.
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