If I had to classify toys into three categories according to simplicity, I would do so as follows: household objects; toys that spark imagination and interactive toys. Each category of toy has value and provides wonderful opportunities for play and learning.

Household objects are the simplest toys. They are objects that you find around the house like a box, pots and pans or a watering can. These household objects are wonderful to encourage emerging imagination and creativity as well as basic skills. Using a box, your little one can play hide and seek and learn the qualities of in-and-out. Using pots and pans, your baby can bang and experiment with sounds or may pour water from them in the bath.  Keep your boxes and make a low cupboard in the kitchen filled with plastic kitchen containers, wooden spoons and pots – this will allow your little one to play safely with basic household objects.

Imagination sparks are wonderful toys that encourage creativity (such as blocks) or replicate something in the real world – a dolly, toy phone or tea set. These toys can be used for imaginary play and to develop skills, such as pouring or building with blocks or imagining you are a ‘mommy’ while you talk on the phone or ‘make tea’.  These toys are usually more complex than simple household objects but are toys that allow for many different uses and thus encourage a variety of skills.

Interactive toys are generally more advanced technologically and involve switches and electronics. These toys move, make a noise or interact in response to an interaction from your child. In this way, they develop concepts like cause and effect or colour and shape so are wonderful for learning. As your little one masters the toy, she develops creativity through the interaction.  Investing in a good quality interactive toy is worthwhile as they will last from one child to the next and may even be passed to the next generation of children in your family.