What are Cause and Effect Toys?
If you take a look around your child’s playroom, chances are you’ll find more than a few cause and effect toys.
Indeed, these toys are often younger kids’ favourites! They’re the interactive toys that need your kid to do something to cause a dynamic reaction, such as sound, lights, or movement.
Cause and effect toys are delightful for babies and toddlers. They also play an important part in development.
The fun effects show kids they can change their environment in some way – which is really exciting for young kids!
And understanding cause and effect is actually an important step in language development. Babies need to understand that they can take an action to cause a change. This relationship is the basis of communication – communicating a want or need (such as, “I’m hungry”) to cause action (getting some food)!
For this reason, these types of toys are often used as special needs toys, too, particularly as autism intervention.
There are some very simple ways to show cause and effect without buying specific toys. For example, taking action to make sound (shake a rattle, bang a spoon on the floor), using switches (press the switch to turn something on/off), pressing/pulling on handles in the house (to open/close), or pushing an outdoor swing to see it take off!
However, there also plenty of toys – like steering wheel toys – that do a really great job at teaching cause and effect. Most of these toys also develop other skills, such as hand-eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills, giving you great developmental “bang for buck.”
Plus, most of these toys are super fun for kids!
5 Different Types of Cause and Effect Toys (With Examples)
1. Ball Popper Toys
Balls popper toys are a great way to show cause and effect. The child activates a trigger, and the soft, colorful balls pop – a very rewarding effect for young kids. These toys also stimulate your child’s imagination, grow critical thinking skills, and can help with gross and fine motor skills and eye tracking.
These are some of our favorite ball poppers.
This fun ball popper is good for ages 9 months and up. It contains 5 colourful balls which pop out of the top, and run down a spiral track whenever baby decides to press the button. Baby will love playing with the Playskool Ball Popper with its lively music and sound effects. Batteries required.
This awesome ball shooter will engage little ones ages 3 and over by firing foam balls up to 20 feet! Kids will quickly work out that the harder you squeeze the unicorn’s body, the harder they fire. Perfectly sized for little hands and plenty of raucous (and educational) fun.
This entertaining musical elephant ball popper releases colourful balls from its trunk. It encourages muscle development and hand-eye coordination by encouraging toddlers to chase unpredictable balls. Press the button, or place the balls back into the elephant’s ear to have them pop out again.
2. Pounding and Rolling Toys
Pounding and rolling toys help to engage a child’s curiosity and attention by showing them that they can change their environment with a simple action, such as pounding balls into a hole. Great for gross motor skills development, pounding and rolling toys make great cause and effect activities for toddlers and babies.
These are some of our favorite pound and roll toys
Perfect for toddlers aged 12 months and over, this colourful toy allows your child to hammer plastic balls into a hole and down an open tunnel. This will definitely engage your child in active play, encouraging gross motor skills while developing hand-eye coordination via dexterity and manipulation.
Similar to the Playkids pound a ball version, the Battat version is more suitable for younger babies as the tunnel section is enclosed with a see-through cover. Your baby will love tracking the ball as it rolls through the maze after it is hammered through the hole above.
3. Gravity and Momentum Toys
Gravity toys help children learn that if they drop, push, or pull it, the toy will fall. Perfect for all children, not just budding physicists!
These BPA-free sturdy plastic discs are perfect for little hands (1+) to grasp. Your child will develop hand-eye coordination and enjoy tactile exploration as they place the wheels onto a centre pole and watch gravity spin them down to the base.
This high-quality wooden toy has always been a favourite in our house and suits children over 1. By placing each small brightly coloured vehicle on the top of the ramp and letting it go, your child will learn about action and effect as she watches it roll down a series of ramps, flipping over at each end. Children love this one – especially those in a “car” phase.
4. Action Equals Sound Toys
This style of toy demonstrates to your child that simple action will result in a captivating musical outcome, thus teaching them about cause and effect (and being a fun experience overall).
With 3 stages of learning starting at age 6 months, this interactive piggy bank will help your baby explore first words, encourage following simple instructions and utilize imaginative early role-playing. By dropping a series of 10 brightly coloured and easy to grasp coins into the piggy’s slot, your child will elicit delightful musical responses.
This fun example of action equalling sound provides your baby with endless entertainment. Every time they remove one of the cute marine toys from the bowl they are rewarded with songs and an amusing light show. More colourful buttons add fun by teaching your child numbers and letters too. Appropriate for 6 months and older.
This fun learning toy is suitable for toddlers from 2, all the way up to 6 years. It provides 3 drum pads and a cymbal which your child will love to hit with the drumsticks, getting a unique sound from each pad and providing sensory development.
These are so simple and so effective for teaching your baby that action will equal sound. Babies from as young as 3 months will love playing with the cute colourful squares of fabric sized 6” x 6”. The Crinkle squares have different textures of smooth or fluffy and make a satisfying crinkly noise when played with thanks to the crisp plastic interior sheet.
5. Pop-Up Toys
Entertaining and engaging, pop up games and toys are great for younger children to learn cause and effect. Your baby will quickly learn that for an action to occur, he or she needs to either push the appropriate button or pull a lever.
A great hands-on activity for those aged over 9 months, the levers, buttons and switches are perfectly formed to slide, push and twist with ease making colourful characters POP from the top. This Playskool Poppin Pals toy is perfect for improving fine motor skills and encouraging your child’s innate curiosity and even comes with a handy carry handle for portability. Simple but effective!
4 bright wooden figures bob up and down on concealed springs when pressed by your baby. We love this amusing and uncomplicated educational toy, which is a great way to introduce cause and effect. Perfect for toddlers aged 1+, who love making games out of it!
Pressing each key on this cute piano will result in a different melody, a popping ball, lights and sounds and your child will quickly learn about cause and effect. Battery operated, kiddos can learn all about numbers, colours, animals sounds and music it also comes with a Spanish language option for an even more educational playtime.
Balls pop in and out of dino’s belly encouraging baby to crawl or run around after them endlessly. Enjoy 6 colourful balls and 8 silly tunes to make playtime even more fun. Fine motor skills are engaged by grasping and dropping the balls which is great for dexterity. Gross motor skills also get a workout here. They soon work out the cause and effect of the Poppity Pop Dino as they need to collect and replace all of the balls for the fun to continue. Recommended age – from 6 months.
These are just some ideas of cause and effect toys – there are plenty of others out there including many you can create yourself.
If you know of any parents or grandparents who could benefit from this list, we hope you’ll share it!