Activity Toys

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As babies grow and develop, they respond well to toys that make noises, have music and flashing lights, or offer new colours and textures. Parents are more keen to invest in toys that their little ones clearly enjoy, and if they have an educational element, even better.

Activity toys include anything that encourages babies and toddlers to interact with it - whether it has keys to press, objects to slot into holes, wheels to turn or buttons to push. The category appeals to slightly older babies, so these toys make great gifts for first and second birthdays.

In the UK, the average spend on toys is £208 in baby’s second year *, with activity toys making up a big proportion of that. Baby Brands Direct stocks a wide range of activity toys from brands such as VTech, which has dominated the top 10 best-selling toys lists recently, and award winners such as Infantino, and its Infantino Sensory Textured Multi Ball Set. Other well-known brands include stylish French brand Janod, and established favourite Fisher-Price.
*NPD Group, 2019

Why do activity toys sell so well?

According to NPD, grandparents account for almost a third of the overall toy spend for a baby in its first year, so appealing to them with toys that are fun, offer great value and have some educational and developmental benefits is a good strategy. Activity toys certainly tick all those boxes. If they can see that a toy will help a grandchild reach key milestones such as sitting up, learning to grab, or push buttons, they will be more inclined to buy a specific toy.

We all know that children love toys, and as babies get older, they make that excitement more known, which makes gift giving really rewarding. Their favourite toys will engage their senses, encourage them to interact, and get their imaginations working. For babies and toddlers, everything is new and exciting - every time they feel a different texture, see a new colour or hear an unusual sound, it stimulates their development. Bright colourful toys - which you will see in our activity toys section - stimulate visual development. Toys that encourage them to post objects into holes or slots - such as the VTech Feed Me Dino - boost fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Toys where objects disappear and reappear help to establish the concept of object permanence - where babies learn that things are still there even if they can’t see them. It’s an important concept to understand, as they also eventually understand that even if they can’t see their parents, they do still exist and will come back!

Plenty of activity toys feature letter and number blocks, shapes and colours, so that little ones can become familiar with them as they play, giving them a solid foundation before they start school. Toys that provide this opportunity for learning also offer great value as children can play with them from babyhood right up to preschool age - and sometimes beyond. Having fun while learning, especially when children play over and over with a favourite toy, helps to consolidate knowledge. Playtime is about more than education, though - babies need to develop their social skills along with language and problem-solving skills, and the activity toys stocked by Baby Brands Direct offer plenty of ways to do just that. From sensory toys that stimulate the senses, to stacking toys that encourage problem-solving skills and teach cause and effect, even the simplest activity toy is teaching babies more than might first be apparent. The Janod Zigolos Balancing Game Flamingo and Sweet Cocoon Russian Dolls, for instance, teach little ones about mathematical concepts such as bigger and smaller, up and down, weight, balance and lots more.

Babies and toddlers find toys that appeal to several senses really appealing and rewarding. So even though an adult might think that a toy has a lot going on - sounds, lights, textures, movement and bright colours - this is what little ones love. The range of Baby Brands Direct activity toys cater for every stage of development, so can allow babies and toddlers to reach different milestones at various stages of development.