“Imaginative play helps babies with new ideas,” says Laura Phillips, PsyD, ABPdN, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute. She mentions one of the best types of toys for brain development: wooden blocks. Not only do blocks improve fine motor skills, they also encourage your child to problem solve and use her imagination. Other noteworthy toy options include stacking cups, coloring books, and spoons.
Dr. Phillips backs this up: “Emerging research suggests that language develops optimally in an interpersonal context,” she says. “There are studies showing that children acquire more vocabulary terms when talking with parents than listening to ebooks or TV shows.” Little kids seem to learn best from human interaction—not interaction with iPads, video games, and other flashy technology objects.