Are you searching for the perfect holiday toys for the little ones in your life? With the overwhelming selection of products on the market, how can you determine which toys are best suited for your children? Shop smart with these 5 simple yet effective toy buying guidelines.
5 Simple Toy Buying Guidelines
1. Interactive vs. Passive Toys: A general rule of thumb when selecting toys is to search for "interactive" toys. Interactive toys get children involved. Look for stimulating toys which allow children to be creative, to use problem solving skills or to produce different outcomes. These types of toys hold children's interest longer and are educationally beneficial. In other words, children learn best and have more fun when given the chance to get into the action instead of merely watching it!
Depending on the age and ability of the child, "passive" toys can also be a smart toy purchase. For infants who are too young to manipulate objects, passive toys which are interesting to look at and listen to (such as musical mobiles or colorful rattles) can also be very effective. Be on guard however for passive toys which allow older and more capable children to just sit back and be entertained.
2. Quality Toys: Let product quality be your guide when selecting children's toys. Toys which have won multiple toy awards and have outstanding consumer ratings are usually a big hit with kids. These quality products have been recognized for their outstanding entertainment and educational value, sturdy construction and overall appeal. Toy lists which highlight and review the best toys on the market are a great place to start your shopping. See Top 25 Award Winning/Outstanding Toy Picks, a review of top-notch, entertaining and interactive toys
3. Toy Safety: As with all purchases for children, safety comes first! Read all product descriptions and warnings before making your selections. Most toys indicate a recommended age level and have adult supervision warnings, if necessary. It is important to make age appropriate choices since Items with small or movable parts can be a choking hazard for small children.
4. Personality, Age and Ability: Don't forget to take into consideration the recipient's personality, age and ability levels when selecting that perfect toy. Even the best toys will sit on a shelf if they do not closely match a child's abilities and interests. Manufacturer's recommended age levels are based upon the developmental skills required. Toys can be frustrating if they are too complicated or are not age appropriate. Likewise, look for toys which match your child's personality and interests. Nurture that budding young builder, dreamer, musician, thinker, or athlete in your life with complementary toy selections. See The "Twelve Weeks Before Christmas" Holiday Toy Series which features a variety of toy categories such as sports, arts & crafts, science, music and more for children of all ages and interests.
5. Give Variety: Children can get bored with the same type of toy choices, so strive for variety in your purchases. Consider less common "toys" such as lively educational or holiday DVDs, holiday books, boxed sets of children's books or even children's magazine subscriptions, which also make great choices for kids. The hidden benefit is that these "toys that teach" can turn children's playtime into valuable learning experiences. For a variety of gift ideas, see The Parents & Grandparents Gift Giving Guide.
This holiday season, you too can choose the perfect gifts for your children. Take time to evaluate your choices using these 5 helpful toy guidelines. You'll feel confident about giving quality, age appropriate toys that will delight your children for years to come!
Lisa Cartolano, Certified Elementary School Teacher and mother of five, is the creator of Little Ones Education and Parenting Resource, at www.littleones.com.
For more holiday information, please see:
Little Ones "Twelve Weeks Before Christmas" Holiday Toy Series: This holiday series is designed to help parents and grandparents make smart choices by featuring outstanding/award winning "toys that teach," accompanied by reviews which highlight and explain the educational benefits and specific skills children receive from these types of toys.
Visit www.littleones.com for our selection of Great/Award Winning Children's Books, Little Ones Recommended Toys & Gifts, and Children's Educational DVDs along with teacher tips, parenting articles, family fun and much more!