When was the last time you strolled through the toy section of a store? If you haven't lately, you may be surprised at the extraordinary number of toys, games, and activities out there. Whereas it's nice to have a selection, the plethora of options makes choosing toys for birthdays, Christmas, etc. all the more challenging. Not only do you have to choose a particular toy, you have to ask yourself which ones are best, which toys are the worst, how many is too many, do they match our family values, are they educational… The list goes on and on!
Those are good questions and important things to consider. But there may not be one, strict, pat answer to them which is right for every parent and child. What are the best recommendations where toys are concerned? Let's take a look at some options and how they can work in your child's life.
TOYS AND GENDER
Unlike days of old, less and less stress is being put on gender where toys are concerned. Choose toys that are gender-neutral if you feel so compelled. But know that it's okay to buy a kitchen set for a boy and toy trucks for a girl in this day and age.
FAMILY VALUES AND TOYS
This can be a touchy subject for some families. If your values and beliefs are not in line with consumerism, some toys may not be right for you and your children. Toy guns are not allowed in many households, today, where other families have no problem inviting play weapons, army men, etc. into their homes. Sticking with old school toys that focus on everyday life can be safely beneficial for a child's development – think toys trucks, cars, poseable character figures, and more that deal with agriculture, construction, emergency services, etc.
All toys at some point in your child's life can technically be considered learning toys. Even a mobile hanging above a baby's bed is a type of learning toy. It helps them develop eye coordination and encourages them to reach. As a child ages, major intelligence styles should be stimulated such as artistic development, mathematical skills, linguistics, and more.
Any toy that encourages imagination and creativity is a learning toy.
TOYS THAT ARE OPEN-ENDED
There are number of ways to play with these types of toys. Think wooden blocks and snap-together building bricks/pieces (Lego, Duplo, etc.), as examples. Your child is encouraged to be creative and active with passive, open-ended toy choices.
HOW MANY IS TOO MANY?
Too much entertainment and too many toys should not be something that your child "suffers" from. All too often, if a child is bored, what do we do? We hand them a new toy. That's good for the toy manufacturers but not particularly great for your kid. Children are far better off if they learn early in life that limited materials and boredom can truly inspire creativity and imagination.
Children can be overstimulated and extremely distracted if there are too many toys from which to choose. On the other hand, a child's focus and attention span is improved when they have fewer toys.
HOW'S THAT TOY WORKING OUT?
Finally, once you've chosen a toy and your child has started playing with it, every now and then, consider how happy you are with the results. Is the toy helping your child to develop? Is your child enjoying the toy? Does your child have too many toys or not enough, and so on? This can be instrumental in helping you choose the next toy for a following occasion.
TRYING TO CHOOSE A TOY? CHECK OUT KIDPOWERED
At KidPowered, we believe in traditional toys like cars, trucks, tractors, and other service vehicles. We also encourage accessorizing those toys with the appropriate poseable character figures. Activities using these items promote motor skills, imagination, critical thinking, creativity, and much more. Give a child a toy truck and they can drive around the world in their imagination.
Check out our impressive selection of themed toys that echo back to a time before video games and other digital, high-tech activities created the sedentary lifestyles of far too many children.