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Toy Buying Guide
Children's Mental and Social
Playing is a natural and healthy activity for all children. Playing helps
children develop mentally and socially, and so selecting the appropriate
toy for the age of the child is essential. First and foremost when
choosing a toy for a child, it is important to consider that the toy is a
safe quality item that is well constructed and durable. The toy or game
should also be appealing and interesting to the child, and appropriate to
the child's physical capabilities. Finally, the toy needs to be suited to
the child's age, mental and social development.
Toy and game types can be divided in 5 categories that stimulate the
mental social abilities and interests of a child.
1. Active Play Includes:
Push and pull, ride-on, outdoor toys and games, and sports toys and
2. Manipulative Play Includes:
Construction, building, pattern making, stringing, and sand and water
3. Make Believe Play Includes:
Dolls, stuffed animals, puppets, role play games, play scenes, and
4. Creative Play Includes:
Musical instruments, arts and crafts materials, and audio-visual
5. Learning Play Includes:
Learning toys and games, puzzles, developmental activities, and books.
Choosing the Right Toy
Quality: A good quality toy will give a child plenty of enjoyment
and will last longer than something of lesser quality. Quality toys can be
handed down to other siblings. Anything of poor quality is not a good
investment as they can easily break easily and be a hazard.
Imaginative: Choose Toys that allow for individual expression and
imagination. Imaginative toys allow children to be creative. Choose toys
that do not give preprogrammed responses, but ones that allow children to
be inventive and use their imagination.
Playability: A toy with a long life is one that a child can play
with again and again. It can be approached in new ways as a child grows
and develops, mastering new skills. Children sometimes become easily bored
with toys that are not designed well, or do not have re-playability value.
Essential pointers when buying Toys and Games for Children
1. Will this encourage the child to build and create rather than to
2. Will this stimulate creativity and imaginative play?
3. will this promote cooperation and problem solving?
4. Will this allow the child to create their own scenarios?
5. Will this promote learning skills and help the child developmentally?
Promotes self-esteem and confidence in children by empowering them with
choices and by organizing stimulating play activities. Creating time and
an environment for independent play is beneficial for children of any age.
Helping your child develop a strong, independent personality supports
their awareness of feelings, dreams and ideas. Independent play fosters
reflective and analytical thought and gives children their own private
space and time. For children, the ability to pretend and imagine is an
essential form of play. As children's imaginations grow, they invent new
uses for familiar objects, playing with them in novel ways. Encouraging
children's imaginative play will open the door to enhanced learning
experiences in all areas of their development.
Involves children in problem solving activities, reasoning, and
sequencing. Encouraging conceptual thought and the development of logic
and problem solving skills helps children build a strong foundation for
future learning. Playing with construction toys such as building blocks
enables children to acquire an understanding of basic math skills and
develop fine motor skills. While playing with construction toys, children
learn categorization, sequencing, patterning, and quantifying, which help
build a strong foundation for understanding math in the future.
Engages children in rhythmic musical activity. Music exerts a powerful
influence on children's developing minds and enhances reading, math, and
creative skills. Nurturing your child's interest in music, whether it's
singing, humming, whistling, dancing, or banging on a drum, sets the tune
for further learning.
Encourages a child's verbal skills. The foundations of language learning
are laid when children are infants, and these skills continue to develop
through the toddler years. Children's development can be nourished by
exposure to an environment filled with sound, rhythm, and language
patterns. Toys that encourage listening, creating sounds, mimicking words,
and making word associations build and strengthen children's language
Promote and develop children's physical athletic ability, manual
dexterity, and/or eye-hand coordination. Many people associate fine motor
skills with the way a child holds a pencil, crayons, or scissors, but it
is much more. Human development progresses from the head down and from the
torso outward, so the use of hands and fingers is actually the last part
of the development process. You can enhance a child's fine motor
development early in life by giving them opportunities to refine large
motor skills. Begin with big pieces of puzzles, clay, or big crayons and
combine these tools with activities such as coloring in a coloring book.
Playing with manipulative toys such as shape sorters, activity centers,
lacing toys, and puzzles helps children develop fine eye-hand coordination
skills. Fine motor skills involve muscles of the hands, eyes, face, and
mouth, and mastering these skills completes critical pathways to
Fosters cooperation and interaction with the objective of achieving common
goals. The idea behind cooperative play is interaction with the objective
of achieving common goals. The best way to teach children any skill is to
model the right behavior, and this is best learned by giving the child
many opportunities to put it into practice. Help your child fully develop
their understanding of cooperation through activities, games, and toys
that engage multiple participants for the highest level of interactive
fun. Encourage team effort at home by sharing certain responsibilities
with your children.
Engages the child in visual evaluation and activities that nurture
creativity. Stimulate your child's visual development by having them
translate what they have learned into pictures. You'll enhance their
experience and retention by encouraging them to create images. Art and
building projects are a great way for children to build their self-esteem
and express their emotions and creativity. When children create
masterpieces of their own, they learn that anything is possible. By
nurturing children's creativity and imagination, you are setting the stage
for a colorful learning experience that enhances all areas of their