Dr. Toy on What Makes a Good Toy
Toys are an important part of every child's life. It is a wonderful feeling to give the right toy. Selecting one that's a hit is a challenge. With more than 300,000 toys and children’s products, choices can be overwhelming. Keep these points in mind before you buy any gift for your child. Think about your child's age, skills, needs, and specific interests. Select the toy or other product that fits your child now. Ask: Can my child benefit from this product? Will it help him learn a skill? Will she enjoy it and have fun? What abilities does he or she need to make the most of the toy?
Select toys that offer a good balance to your child’s activities. A good variety of toys provide activity, creativity, and learning. Activity toys develop coordination and improve small and large motor skills and balance. Begin with balls and beanbags; add a trike, bike, and skates. Jump ropes, HULA HOOPs®, and kites are fun. Check whether your child is ready for the activity and knows the safety rules.
Creativity toys stimulate self-expression. The child can draw pictures with crayons, finger-paints, and watercolors. Put your child’s pictures up on a wall so others can admire his or her artwork. Your child will find clay and PLAY-DOH® fun. Craft sets provide a lot of play value and learning. Children learn to follow directions and a sequence of activities.
Learning takes place in many ways. Books, tapes, software, CDs, puzzles, and board games all contribute. The child should read books and use software. Take time to read stories together. Talk about programs watched on TV. Play games and do puzzles. “Family Time” will be more fun if you find new things to do and new products to play with, and balance activities. The right toy at the right time can make a big difference.