Most adults think that finding the perfect gifts for toddlers is easily solved by making a short and fast trip to a toy store. Little did they know that the words “short” and “fast” cannot describe this shopping experience at all. Getting to the toy store is just half the battle. With the rows and rows of shelves containing all toys imaginable, choosing the right, age-appropriate toy will determine the success of this challenge. For the conservative mind, toys would seem to be a waste of time. Activities such as writing, pre-reading exercises or making crafts would not only be a more productive use of time, but would also help the child in his overall development. However, experts these days are finding that play in general does more for the child than we could ever imagine.
The physical, cognitive and socio-emotional aspects of a child’s development are all being tapped when the child interacts with toys and other play things. “Toys help the kids develop their fine and gross motor muscles and it also enhances coordination.” Their finger dexterity is aided by manipulating small toys and equipment. Handling bigger toys exercises their extremities and core as they attempt to control and accurately maneuver outdoor play toys or basic playground equipment.
The child and the toy – There are two factors involved in this whole process: the child who will own the toy, and the actual toy itself. In choosing the right toy, one must think about who will be at the receiving end. The child is the main focus of this event and it is only right to keep him in mind before finally purchasing something. His age, skills and interests are crucial in making toy-related decisions. It is important to remember that there are different toys made for different children.
Is It Age Appropriate? – Most toys have a label on the box that indicates for what age group a toy is created. It is important that the toy matches his age for him to be able to enjoy the toy, and also for him to fully benefit from it.
Does It Match His Skills? – The level of difficulty in using a toy must be considered. A child must be able to manipulate it on his own after simple instruction. He must be able to understand the different parts and processes involved in playing the toy.
Is It Something He Likes Or Is Interested In? – Make sue to get to know your child well before giving him a toy. For example, if he is afraid of clowns, a toy involving them would definitely make him dislike the toy altogether, even if it is age-appropriate. He would be more interested in a toy if he likes what he sees.
Is The Material Used For The Toy As Well As Its Parts, Age-Appropriate? – For young children, it is expected that toys would get their own share of being dropped or being hit against hard surfaces. Remember that you also want the toy to have a long shelf life.
Is The Toy Mean To Surpass Fads And Trends? – As adults, we also get fascinated with the latest toys. However, it is also important that the toy being given to a child is not something that will easily get shoved under the bed to be forgotten forever when the next latest craze comes along.