With the exception of infants, a general rule of thumb when selecting toys is to search for "active" toys. These types of toys encourage children to get involved by requiring some degree of manipulation and participation. Active toys which allow children to be creative, to use problem solving skills or to produce different outcomes tend to be more interesting and 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.
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 interests and abilities. So choose wisely and nurture that budding young builder, dreamer, musician, thinker, or athlete in your life. You’ll have a ball sharing the fun and learning along the way. After all, developing those essential learning skills is really just child’s play!!!.
A Final Word…
Safety First: As with all purchases for children, safety comes first! Careful supervision of children is crucial. Items with small or movable parts can cause a choking hazard. Please read all product instructions and warnings before use. While Little Ones recommends these products for their educational value, it does not guarantee product safety. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to make age appropriate selections, insure proper use, provide safety precautions and adult supervision. Use products at your own risk.