Dr. Toy: What's Right for Preschoolers?
Preschoolers have a lot of energy. They are interested in everything. Their vocabulary, self-expression, and imagination are rapidly expanding. They like play that is dramatic, creative, and active. Their love of play makes preschool a fun learning environment. Your child will develop social skills, a sense of responsibility, and expand communication skills through play.
The best products for your child have a lot of play value. You want long-lasting products that will provide hours of fun, like wooden blocks, construction play sets, games, and puzzles. Look for various textures, shapes, sizes, and colors. Your child will enjoy a trike and outdoor play equipment. For indoors, select a good mix of art supplies, play sets, books, and tapes.
Take your child to the toy store. She will be excited by the many choices. This is a great way to hear what your child thinks. Let her create her “Wish List.” Consider toys by ALEX, Brio, Discovery Toys, Fisher-Price, Folkmanis, LEGO, Little Tikes, MEGA BLOKS, Learning Resources, Playskool, Radio Flyer, and Small World Toys.
Look for quality. Consider the materials used. Examine workmanship. It is said that we “get what we pay for,” but, unfortunately, this is not always true. Imagine your child playing with the product. Children have a short attention span, so even the best toy will be used for only a short time. Rotating toys helps reduce boredom.
Study age labeling for appropriateness. Observe which toys and other products your child plays with at preschool. You can learn a lot by observing. Products that are too complex are frustrating, and those that are too easy are boring. Show the child how to use the product only if he needs help. It’s best to allow children to discover things for themselves. But, also do take the time to play together for mutual benefit.
Toys offer a variety of self-expression. An angry child can use a foam bat and ball, a bop bag, or hand-puppets to safely express his pent-up feelings. For creativity he will benefit from clay, finger paints, and crafts. To help him learn, supply games and puzzles that involve the sorting of shapes, sizes and weights, plus a good variety of books and tapes. Eye-hand skills improve with ring toss, bean bags, and construction products.
Whatever your preschool child does, he will have fun and show a lot of enthusiasm for play.