7 Questions When Choosing A Toy

Seven simple questions to ask yourself when choosing the right type of educational toys for your child:

  1. Is this toy safe for my child –  check for toxic and dangerous materials like paints.  Are there tiny or movable parts that can loosen and come off?  In practice, educational toys that you buy for your child are meant to be used in a certain way, but a kid’s gonna do crazy, silly, off-the-wall things with that toy other than what it was meant for.  Will the toy still be safe in these situations?

  2. Is it a “one time” toy or will it provide hours/days/years of play?  –  an educational toy should provide lots of fun time and exploration.  Will this toy be played with once and never picked up again or will it hold your child’s interest for a reasonable time span?

  3. How does this “educational toy” educate?  – educational toys can enhance a series of skills like cognitive skills, motor skills, thinking and reasoning skills and mind-muscle coordination.  Is the toy going to inspire manipulation and exercise one of these skills in my child or will it just sit there and look cute?

  4. Is this toy right for my child’s age/development?  –  choose educational toys based on age and ability.  Children are keen learners as long as the toy is within their range of possible success.  A toy that is too far above their development will only serve to frustrate.  Likewise, a toy that is too easily solved/built/completed will not hold a child’s interest long enough to exercise growth.

  5. Will my child like this toy?  –  it is better to buy toys based in the likes and dislikes of your child. Each child has a special preference for a particular type of toy. Girl and boy divisions are not the only considerations.  Is my child a rough-and-tumble kid who bulldozes through play?  Or a fastidious practitioner of self-organized play?  Do they like horses, or goats?  Red, or orange?

  6. Will this toy inspire creativity along with learning?  –  it is well proven fact that almost all children learn more successfully if creation is occurring at the same time.  Toys that are musical, toys that encourage kids to draw or paint, toys that urge them to write or tell a story.  These kinds of toys can help your kiddo develop their artistic and imaginative skills, and help teach them to find the fun in learning.

  7. Who can help me decide?  –  as your child enters preschool and kindergarten stages, his or her teachers can help you with choosing toys that satisfy his or her current developmental level and chronological and mental age.  Also, question other moms and kiddos about their positive/negative educational toy purchases.

A few classical educational toys to consider for your child at what age:

  1. Infants to babies six months old –  their visual and mental perception is quite restricted or limited, so ensure that you are buying toys in bright, vivid, attractive and contrasting colors (even black and white).  Consider activity and play centers and crib based toys, and because they love high-pitched and musical sounds at these ages, chimes, light musical instruments, rattles, sound producing teething rings, colorful “crunchy” pictured and patterned quilts and pads.

  2. Six to nine months of age  –  colorful building blocks, multi-activity boxes and basic cubes, colored stacking rings and bathing toys.  Introduce highly textured toys to provide variety.

  3. Nine months to a year  –  your child is old enough and agile enough now to play, enjoy, understand, and learn from different toys like nesting cups, stacking cones, push and pull toys, large crayons, drawing boards, musical instruments, buckets, and stacking blocks.
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