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What to consider when choosing toys for kids

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I'm pleased to introduce this guest article written by Andrea Gibbs, work-at-home mom and blog contributor at Baby Steps Daycare in Rego Park, New York.

boy and girl playing with a toy train

Choosing toys for kids is a responsibility that parents take very seriously. Toys have a tremendous influence on children’s development, so choosing the right ones is important to your child’s emotional and intellectual growth. However, choosing the best toys for kids can be overwhelming. There are so many toys on the market that it can be difficult to know where to start. The suggestions below provide information on what to consider when choosing toys for kids.

10 Things To Consider When Choosing Toys For Kids

1. Toy Safety

When it comes to safety, the most important consideration is always the safety of your child. It means that toys should never have any sharp edges or points that could cause injury, and they should be free of toxic materials like lead paint or mercury-containing batteries. Also, look out for choking hazards like small parts or pieces that can come off in chunks; when in doubt, supervise younger kids when playing with these toys until they are old enough to know better (usually around 3).

2. Age Appropriate

Choosing age-appropriate toys is very important when it comes to safety, but it also ensures that your child will enjoy playing with the toy. When choosing toys for kids, try to find ones that match their developmental stage. For example, too advanced toys for older kids will not hold their attention and may even frustrate them. Toys for toddlers, like puzzles, can be stressful if they are too difficult for them to solve independently, so try to find ones with shapes and colors they can easily identify with.

3. Open-Ended

Kids learn through play, so it’s important to ensure that they use the toys to learn without too much effort. The toy should provide lots of opportunities for your child to play with it and encourage them to try something new by giving them chances to succeed or fail. The best toys for kids are ones that can be endlessly modified, allowing you to hook them up with other toys, change the way they work, or create new outcomes.

4. Interesting For The Child

Another factor to consider when choosing toys for kids is whether or not they are interesting to the child. It’s surprising how many parents accidentally buy boring toys or get frustrated when their toddler loses interest in what they are doing. Making sure that the toy your child wants is interesting will ensure that they stay engaged with the toy. If you can find toys with aspects of whatever your child enjoys, they will probably be interested in them, which means less time spent playing with other boring toys.

5. Educational Value

Toys for kids also offer excellent educational value. Buy toys that are good for teaching kids a specific skill: catching, stacking, sorting, and so on. That is why some toys may look simple on the adult level but pack a lot of educational value when used with kids. Educational toys often help kids develop problem-solving and learning skills that they use every day in their everyday lives. Games like Simon games, where they interchange letters to make words, are good examples of educational toys that promote learning and language development.

6. Inspire Creativity

Creativity is one of the most important skills a person can have in life, but unfortunately, many people lose as they grow up. Kids, however, are naturally much more creative than adults because they haven’t been exposed to the ‘normal way of doing things yet. Toys for kids can be a valuable tool in sparking these creative abilities in young children and keeping them going as they get older. Creative play is also great for expressing their emotions and helping them learn valuable problem-solving skills.

To find toys that can inspire creativity in your child, look for toys that have:

  • Pieces that your child can assemble and dissemble.
  • Different options for playing.
  • Materials that are different colors or different textures.

7. Promotes Physical Activity

Many kids love to run, jump and climb, but modern-day lifestyles don’t always give kids much opportunity. Toys for kids can help give your child a chance to burn off energy and develop healthy habits. Look for toys that promote active play, whether a bike or ride-on toy or something more stationary like a ball or roller skates. Traditional toys like balls and dolls can also be great for promoting physical activity as long as they aren’t used as static objects where the child will sit and play with them. Instead, using those toys in creative ways will allow your child to use their imagination and encourage movement.

8. Stimulate Sensory Exploration

Toys are also great tools for stimulating sensory exploration. If you are looking for toys that stimulate sensory exploration, try looking for textures, lights, or sounds. You could also look for toys that have different textures, so they provide different sensations for your child to feel. Also, think about what kind of sound or noise the toy makes, as stimulating the sense of hearing can also be a great way to stimulate sensory exploration.

9. Price

Many times, buying toys is a big expense that often leaves you struggling to pay for them. However, there are some ways you can save money on toys for kids. Here are some ways you can save money on toys.

  1. Buying second-hand toys is a great way to reduce the cost of your child's toy collection. With every item being inspected thoroughly, it is highly unlikely that your child will get any damaged or defective items with second-hand goods. The most important thing to remember, though, is the condition of the toy. If it is in poor condition, do not buy it.
  2. If you know another child who has a similar-but-different toy to what you are buying, buy one, and both of you can share it. This way it will only cost half the price of buying two toys. Sharing toys also encourages teamwork so your child can develop social skills.
  3. Think about the alternative uses of the toy if your child doesn’t find it interesting after a while. Many toys have many different uses, so try to think outside the box on ways to use a toy before you decide to donate or throw it out completely.

10. Creates Social Interaction

There are many toys for kids that promote social interaction between kids of all ages. Interaction not only gives your child a chance to learn social skills, but it provides them with an opportunity to develop their imagination and creative side. Try to buy toys that allow children of different ages to interact with each other.

Conclusion

Most kids are drawn to toys that are new or that are constantly changing. So try to keep things fresh in your child’s toy collection by buying age-appropriate toys and modernizing them with new colors and materials for today’s children. As you can see, even something as basic as toys for kids can be a big investment, but it is worth it in the end when you consider how beneficial they can be for your child in the long run. With the right mix of stimulating play and educational value, toys can make important contributions to your child’s development and help them become more prepared for the future.

About the author:

Andrea Gibbs bio photo Andrea Gibbs is born, raised, and still living in New York. She's a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. She's a blog contributor at Baby Steps Daycare in Rego Park, New York to motivate and educate other parents about how they can get their children ahead of the game in school.

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