Dr. Toy: What's Right for Older Kids?

Between ages nine and eleven, children experience rapid social maturation and physical growth. They are in transition. As they grow older, their interests grow more sophisticated. Despite the changes, they still need to have a good balance of activities at home, school, and play. At this age, friends have a significant influence on a child. However, with your encouragement, their talents and interests will expand.

Older children like to make things, work on projects, and see results of their efforts. Gift ideas include hobbies, crafts, or construction sets. They like computers, cameras, typewriters, robots, and scientific materials. Other possible gifts include sports and creative arts equipment, stuffed animals, and collections. Also consider books, board and video games, and a variety of tapes.

This is the time for children to discover and expand their interests and talents. They can pursue music, art, dance, and writing. Their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time will be reflected in their interests after school. Provide time for them to spend alone and be productive.

Children will find products by the following companies interesting: Alex, Discovery Channel Products, Duncan, Mrs. Grossman or Hero Arts Creative Rubber Stamps, Leap Frog, LEGO, University Games, VTech, and Wild Planet.

Children appreciate positive alternatives. When children are constructively occupied, they are happier, more satisfied, and more productive at home and in school. Reading, playing games, flying a kite, throwing a Frisbee, and doing a hobby help make your child smarter, more social, and more self-confident.

Friends and individual pursuits are important, but as children grow older, they also need time to interact with their parents. So find some fun group activities to do together -- ones that allow everyone to win. Play is the smart way to learn. Through play children learn best.

Let's play!

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