Black Friday and Children

Growing YearsWith Black Friday a few days away, I felt it was a good time to share an earlier article on purchasing appropriate toys. When selecting toys for your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc., there are a few things to keep in mind. Before buying consider these questions.

Is the toy age appropriate? Always consider the child’s developmental age.

Is the toy safe? Be sure the toy is flame resistant, has lead-free paint, is nontoxic and has no small parts (for children under three).

Does it allow for imagination and stimulate original thinking? Anything that sparks the imagination fits into this category. A play telephone spikes the child’s imagination, making it a perfect toy for stimulation. Play figures/characters, puppets, kitchen sets, cars, construction truck sets, books, dolls, stuffed critters, play sets, etc.

Is the toy active or passive with varied use? Active toys allow children to be creative, to use problem solving skills or to produce different outcomes. They tend to be more interesting and educationally beneficial. In other words, children learn best and have more fun when given a chance to get into the action instead of merely watching it! The toy should require the child’s interaction, and be used in many different ways. If a toy has only one action, the child will eventually become bored. The cute monkey that claps the tambourines are soon tossed aside.

Does the toy provide simple cause and effect relationships, encourage problem solving, exploration, experimentation and experiences for making choices? Puzzles, games, construction sets, blocks, magnets, bug kits, globe, Play Dough, art and craft material, science toys, busy boxes, and music instruments.

Does the toy promote motor skill development? Rocking horses, wagons, bicycles, scooters, basketball, football, soccer, t-ball, tennis, skateboards, skates, etc.

A great toy is one that inspires, one that engages the imagination, and one that requires an action by the child. It not only entertains, but ultimately empowers children to design and share their own imaginative inventions. A great toy grows with the child. A great toy endures childhood play. There are many great toys on the shelves, as well as some not so great choices. Choose wisely and your child will have a tool to aid in continued development of childhood skills.