There are plenty of eye-catching toys at the store these days. And even though the puppy that sings “A,B,C’s” and the beautifully gowned ice princess that spins on her platform when you push the button seem so attractive, don’t do it. Don’t buy it. Stay strong. Why?
Well, yes, because your sanity is important and listening to these talking toys will push you right over the edge. But there is a bigger problem. Your child can only play with these toys in one way.
When purchasing toys for my child, I ask myself the following questions:
- Is this different than any toy we have?
- Can my child play with it in multiple play scenarios?
- Will this assist in more than one area of my child’s development? (Language Social, Fine Motor, Cognitive, Large Motor, Sensory)
If I am able to answer “yes” to all three questions, I found a winner. As you mentally answer these questions, think outside of the (toy) box. A set of wooden vegetables that can be chopped apart is very different than a vegetable soup play set, so that positively answers question number 1 from above. But wooden vegetables that are held together by velcro and plastic vegetables that are magnetic….well, those are too similar, so we don’t need both.
When you think of play scenarios, think about what your child would do, not what you would do. You may see a fishing pole and magnetic fish as just that. Your child may see it as an opportunity to catch fish, to sort fish, and to match the fish!
Toys shouldn’t just be fun, they should also aide in your child’s development! A tea set doesn’t just offer social development skills by sharing and passing. If you fill that tea pot with water, you also have a great sensory activity as well!
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