Habitot Children's Museum

FALL-WINTER HOURS
October 1- March 31
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30

SPRING-SUMMER HOURS
April 1 - September 30
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun

9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
Private Rentals Only

THIS MONTH'S SPONSOR
State Farm Insurance
Berkeley Agent, Gary Eason
http://garyeason.net/



Top-Rated Nonprofits 2014 logo

Best of 2013 Parents' Press logo

Blue Star Museums logo

Best of the Gay
San Francisco Bay Area



find us on facebook

donate now

Habitot is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that relies on community support



Habitot Children's Museum Logo

Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111
www.habitot.org


What are the best toys for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers?

You can't go wrong with toys and props that foster imagination through play. Vital social and emotional learning happens through unstructured, open-ended play. When considering a toy, think about how it could be used in multiple play situations. Children quickly grow tired of toys that do only one or two things.

Ask yourself how many different things you could think of to do with a toy. Age-appropriate art materials, musical instruments and books can be found for any age.

For Infants:

  • Baby Mirrors: Mirrors are great gifts for infants because infants enjoy looking at other babies and themselves! Mirrors also help children strengthen their eye muscles as they learn to focus, and give children a sense of self.

  • Rhythm Instruments: Small drums, maracas or shakers, and baby xylophones help children master hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. These type of toys also help infants discover the world of cause and effect, as they learn what happens when they bang, tap, and shake.

  • Block and Building Toys: There are endless possibilities when it comes to playing with blocks and other building and stacking toys. Often a good set of blocks can last through many developmental stages, and children find new ways to play with blocks as they grow. Blocks help children develop fine motor and critical thinking and also foster creativity. Encourage your child to explore what happens when they stack blocks, knock them down, or create shapes.
For Toddlers:

  • Books: Books are a great gift for any age. Books not only encourage early language and literacy skills, but reading together promotes attachment and bonding between the parent and child. Board books and fabric books are great for younger children, as they can be chewed on and won't get damaged.

  • Art supplies: Toddler hood is an excellent time to introduce fine motor activities such as finger painting, painting with a paintbrush, and drawing with large pieces of chalk and crayons. Such activities foster brain development, hand-eye coordination, and creativity. A couple of bottles of paint, some brushes, some plastic bowls, some shaving cream and food or liquid water colors can be the best gift for a child. You may even end up of with a gift of original art work in return!
For Preschoolers:

  • Dress Up Clothes and Puppets: Preschool is a crucial time for children's social and emotional development, and many of the skills they learn at this time will help them build relationships for years to come. Dramatic play is a great way for children to work out scenarios and interactions with adults and other children. Dress up clothes - especially hats, capes, scarves, pretend jewelry, wigs, suspenders, boots, belts, etc - give children a chance to become something or someone new, and to become storytellers through their play. Many children will act out adult activities through their play, such as going to the doctor and cooking dinner. Puppets are also a way for children to negotiate real situations with their imagination. What better way to solve a conflict with a sibling or a friend than to have a discussion between a dragon and a puppy? Dramatic play enhances language skills, fosters creativity, and promotes social and emotional intelligence.

  • Dolls, babies, action figures, animal figurines, stuffed animals, and vehicles can all play leading roles in children's imaginary play. Doll houses, farm sets, train yards, and other similar settings permit many hours of play that are never the same every time.

  • Gross Motor Activities: The preschool years are also a time for children to master their gross (or large) motor skills such as running, jumping, climbing, and peddling. A big gift like a tricycle is always great, but there are also smaller supplies that can help them develop their physical skills such as balls, bean bags, cones, parachutes, and hula hoops. A small collection of open ended materials can lead to hours of indoor and outdoor obstacle courses and other physical challenges. Exuberant physical play not only helps children stay healthy but also encourages self regulation and internal control.

  • Don't forget the proverbial cardboard box, tubes, crates, sheets, etc. that lend themselves to hours of open-ended play.

 
Resources:

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less. Eyer, Diane, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books. (2004)

Smart Play, Smart Toys. Auerbach, Stevanne (Dr. Toy). Educational Insights. (2006).

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together. Faber, A. & Mazlish, E. (1987). W.W. Norton & Company. New York, NY.

Best Christmas Presents for Babies: Choosing Holiday Gifts for Infants. Lister, Rachel (December 2008). Suite101.com Web Site: https://suite.io/rachel-lister/17k92b0#ixzz0XidSyA5rl

These toys have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. You can't go wrong with these winners www.toyhalloffame.org/

 
copyright© 2015 Habitot Children's Museum