The role of the occupational therapist in child play is very important. it is a child’s “occupation” to play to develop physical coordination, emotional maturity, age-appropriate social skills and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore the environment. Occupational therapist helps in selecting the right toy and play for a child to provide optimal sensory input, encourage turn-taking and problem-solving and determine what type of toy and play is developmentally appropriate for the child.
Here’s a how-to guide for choosing age appropriate toys for your child.
Age 0-1 month – give your baby undivided attention and warm physical contact, so he or she learns to trust you and feel safe in her new world. Try: crib mobiles.
Age 1-3 months – now baby can follow objects moving in the vicinity and localized sounds. Try: carillon with music and play gym.
Age 3-6 months – your baby learns to grasp objects and transfer it to one hand to other. Try: plastic keys, soft balls, small light weight objects that your baby can grab.
Age 6-8 months – with improved motor skills and the ability to crawl, your baby will begin to explore the environment. Try: things to band like plates and spoons; drum, things to throw like balls; shapes and board books.
Age 8-12 months- learns to grab and point and even take his or her first steps. Try: stacking toys and blocks, textured toys and touch-and-feel books.
Age 12-15 months- your child is transitioning from dependence to independence. Try: heavier push toys, picture books.
Age 15-18 months – the child learns problem-solving skills and developed good motor skills by trying to climb, throw and kick. Try: ride on toys, sorting, nesting and stacking toys; outdoor play.
Age 18-21 months – getting smarter with very good problem-solving skills with language skills. Try puzzles, read, recite rhymes.
Age 21-24 months – your little one turns into an enthusiastic and curious child. Enjoys role play. Try: large size crayons and chalks, doctor and kitchen sets.