Selecting Toys for your Child

What to Consider When Selecting Toys for your Child

Top Toys for Babies and Toddlers
When trying to find appropriate toys for your children, you will find that there are so many choices your head will spin. It is sometimes hard to separate the current hyped toys to the evergreen toys that will last. It is helpful to pick toys that will grow with a child. Something that a smaller child can use their gross motor skills to engage them but has more sophisticated features that they can play with as their skills improve.
Many of the newer toys have built in sounds. In evaluating this you should make sure the sound is not too loud for your child. Check to see if you are able to turn the sound down. A parent must also be able to tolerate the sound, as they will hear it over and over.
Simple toys can provide hours of play and education. Although I think toys should be judged on the ability to give children opportunities for play. There seems to be a portion of parents who put too much emphasis on education. We need to keep play in children’s lives.
Here are a few suggestions to help find appropriate toys.

Construction toys

LEGO Duplo Building SetBlocks wooden blocks, mega bloks, alphabet blocks, Legos, wooden train sets, and tinker toys are good choices.
A big bin of large wooden blocks can be handle by toddlers and be still interesting to older children.
Mega Bloks have relatively large buttons that allow small fingers to interlock them. Creativity with them goes from just building a big tower to making interesting structures.
Alphabet blocks or Peek-a-Blocks are perfect blocks for toddlers. We have found in our family these blocks are still being used in different ways as our grandchildren grow.
Lego has sets in the Duplo series that are geared for small children. When they progress to the smaller Lego pieces there are untold series from simple tubs of Lego blocks to sophisticated sets that adults enjoy.
Wooden train sets that have tracks that interlock provide hours of entertainment for preschool children. Thomas Trains sets have many different trains and the ability to add tracks. Since Thomas also exists in storybooks, television series, and DVDs children can act out the adventures using their own sets.
Tinker toys are better for slightly older children. The newer sets are made from plastic, although you can still find wood sets. To be able to build with them a child needs a bit of dexterity. As more pieces are added the structures can become more complex.

Dolls

– rag dolls, soft body dolls, hard body dolls, girl dolls, boy dolls, various skin colored dolls, baby dolls, bath dolls, interactive dolls, and theme dolls.
For young children it is best to select soft body dolls. If choosing rag dolls be sure to check that there are no buttons or other decorations that could become a choking hazard. Soft body dolls are great for a toddler to drag around by the leg or arm. They will learn to cuddle them.
As children get older the hard body dolls are easier to dress and undress. Surprisingly children love their dolls to be naked. Clothes should be easy to get on and off. Unlike the soft body dolls these hard body dolls can be positioned to sit up.
Simple doll accessories like cradles, blankets, high chairs, doll strollers, and feeding kits allow children to mimic what they see their parents doing.
Theme dolls such as Barbie dolls or Monster High dolls and even some of dolls like American Girl dolls are better for older children.
Playing with dolls allow children to imitate the world around them. They learn to care about others. Many children keep their doll collections well into adulthood.

House items

Doll House doll houses, play kitchens, toolboxes, workbenches, outdoor playhouses, sets of plastic dishes and plastic food. All these toys reflect the world around a child and they naturally gravitate to play acting it.
 

Tickle Trunks

Dress Up Clothes A box or suitcase full of all manner of dress up clothes delight children. Many toy outlets have fancy dress up clothes but it is not necessary to go this route. Garage sales, thrift stores, and even your own closet will produce suitable apparel for children to use.
 
 

Art supplies

crayons, paint, finger paint, glitter paint, pencils, markers, children’s scissors, glue, and plenty of paper. It seems there can never be enough items for children to use for their art creations. You will see as children’s skills increase they go from just scrolling across the page to creating some very impressive pieces of art. Using paper that you might otherwise put in the recycling can help keep up with the demand.
 

Molding Supplies

Play-doh play-doh, molding clay, shapes, cookie cutters, rolling pins, and molding tools. Preschoolers love to use clay. They can make the most intriguing things with it. We like play-doh, as it does not shed its color like some of the other clays on the market. For younger children this activity needs supervision to prevent them eating it or spreading it all around the room. Look through you cupboards to find some things that can be used to mold the clay. For instance small muffin tins work well.
 

Music Makers

Musical Instruments drums, bells, sticks, maracas, egg shakers, xylophone, castanets, and harmonicas. All these types of musical toys can be purchased or you can use things you have at hand. A pot and a wooden spoon make a good drum. A plastic container can also be a drum. Plastic eggs like the ones available at Easter can be filled with rice, taped closed to prevent spilling, make great shakers. A fun experiment is to fill glass jars with different levels of water and use a spoon to demonstrate the different sounds.
 

Outdoor activities

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Games
Never before have there been so many choices in games for children and for adults too. The games will teach children to win and to lose. Small children always want to win. They learn to have patience while someone else has a turn. They learn to cooperate with others. Some games are just fun but many teach lessons like counting, matching, strategy, and sportsmanship.
In conclusion pick toys that are age appropriate, that will grow with the child, have durability, and are fun.

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