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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Looking to buy a musical toy? Here’s how to pick the right one.

As parents, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection of baby and toddler musical toys. If we shop in the big department stores, we can become overwhelmed by the selection of flashing lights and battery-operated toys that promise to make musical maestros of our children. 

But what if these plastic fantastic toys aren’t the best when it comes to cognitive development and cause and effect skills? There’s science behind what we select for our children, and you may be surprised by what the data tells us. 

janod kids wooden musical instruments

In Favour of Wooden Musical Toys

Our children are exposed to music and singing almost from birth. This becomes part of their social and emotional literacy – it’s a way of them understanding and making sense of the world around them. 

When we introduce a battery-operated, flashing, beeping toy into their world, they rely on the toy to make musical and cognitive decisions for them. The toy overtakes their creativity and the child, while able to have some interactions with it, takes a back seat as it comes to them merely being passive observers of the toy in front of them. 

Northern Arizona University carried out a study whereby researchers listened to in-home audio recordings of interactions between parents and infants. They were provided with three different sets of toys – books, traditional toys and electronic toys. Anna Soza, the professor involved in the study, explained the findings: 

“Across the board, it was pretty consistent that when the babies were playing with electronic toys, all of the measures were lower. The parents talked less, responded less and used fewer content-specific words.” The number of times parents used the names of animals, colors and shapes increased when they were playing with traditional toys and more than tripled when they were reading books.”

With the decision to employ a child lead musical toy, particularly one that is made of a more sustainable material, the choice as to how to interact becomes a lot deeper and richer. Musical benefits like sensory development and hand-eye coordination become more prevalent, as does the build-up of fine and gross motor skills. Plus, and let’s be honest, it’s incredibly sweet and cute to see a child take such joy in the playing of a musical toy. Their self-confidence will build as they can manipulate the instrument and experiment with function and form.

baby playing wooden xylophone

Wooden Musical Toys from a Parent’s Perspective

These toys look and feel lovely. They are classically designed and artfully created, the perfect complement to any nursery. 

A plus side of these wooden musical toys for babies and toddlers is that they are not battery operated, this means less upkeep on your half. The lack of sirens, flashing lights and constant beeps and boops mean that they don’t leave you with a plastic fantastic migraine either – they can be packed away calmly when not being used and delighted in when your children are actually using them. These toys are hardier and last far longer than their plastic counterparts as well – this means less spend on your end and the ability to hang onto these toys as sentimental keepsakes long after your children have outgrown them. 

How Wooden Musical Toys Aid Skill Development

As previously mentioned, these wooden musical toys have much in the way to teach young children. It’s all about how they can interact with and manipulate the environment around them. Experiments to do with sound, cause and effect of hitting keys and notes and the hands-on experience promised by these wonderful toys mean that your children are learning at the same time as playing. They are active participants in this play, as opposed to sitting back and letting the toy do the learning for them. 

And the best part? You can get down on the ground and play with these toys alongside your children without being overwhelmed by the plastic noise and chaos that comes with department store-bought musical toys. 

It’s a family thing. Introduce magical musical wooden toys for kids into your home and watch the wonder unfold right in front of your eyes. 

Ivanhoe East Little Fenix Toy Shop

Disclosure - This is a guest post from Sandra Sacco. Sandra is the owner of Little Fenix, a boutique kids store that offers online shopping and Australia wide delivery of wooden musical toys as well as any number of fantastical, whimsical baby and child items. I did not receive payment for this post.

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