According to Aleeya Healey, MD of AAP “Toys have evolved over the years, and advertisements may leave parents with the impression that toys with a virtual or digital based platform are more educational”.
Using electronic gadgets and digital media as replacements to basic, traditional hand on toys and games interferes in kids healthy development. Using digital media gadgets vs. toys reduces the development of imagination skills and slows their social skills. There are many reasons’ for parents to consider and encourage child to play with basic hand on toys.
Which are ideal toys for children?
Toys that help children developmental abilities and improves growth and skills are best toys to play with. Toys will help to develop problem solving skills, social interactions, physical activities, language interactions and overall motor skills. Toys should help children to play and enjoy same time. Children when interact with toys their imagination skill develops.
Whereas, electronic digital toys do not provide children the critical health environment needed for normal development. Some electronic gadgets that are specially developed for children who need special care (like autism) are useful. Regular video games, smart phones with game apps will not help children to develop social skills instead these gadgets can isolate them more.
According to American association of pediatricians parents should consider providing hand on toys that are beneficial for child’s growth. While selecting toys:
- Recognize one most important purpose of play with toys. For infants a toy that facilitate warm, supportive interaction is necessary. It helps them to develop relationship skills.
- The most educational toys is the one that fosters interaction between child and parents or caregivers that is both unconditional play and supportive.
- Do not choose toys that are overstimulating and creates confusion.
- Do not buy toys that promote race or gender-based stereotypes.
- Limit video and computer games by infants and young children. Reduce total screen time to less than an hour. Better to avoid use of flashing screen for infants (18-24 months old). If it is appropriate, then children between 3-5 ears should paly with video games or computer for half an hour and in parents presence.
Other points to keep in mind while considering toys:
- For toddlers buy toys that are soft and nobly parts that will help baby’s sore gums
- Easy to hold and easy to grip with small hands
- Squeaky toys stimulate baby’s hearing
- Bright colors print on the toys provide visual stimulation for babies
- Use children books for pretend play along with suitable toy – mimicking and playing simultaneously improves child’s thinking and imagination skills.
- Consider buying toys with natural food paint.
- Building, construction toys, Lego bricks and gears for example will help children to visualize and imagine
- Puzzle sets – vegetable, fruit, car, house sets improve their learning skills and will be able to recognize items.
- Imagine how the toy will benefit child’s overall skills and growth
Not enough toys at home? Consider giving child materials that build child’s imagination and interactive skills like –
- Hats, backpacks, children books
- Cooking utensils, small food containers, dishes
- Blankets, old sheets, empty boxes, cardboard blocks
- Used plane tickets from vacation trip
- Writing materials – pen, note book, shopping list
“There is no such video or computer game or an app the replaces relationship built over toys” says Dr. Healey. Basic hand on toys give warmth, helps in physical and early mental development. Children while enjoy playing with toys cherish the memories of their favorite toy forever and it brings smiles on their face.
- Image credit: Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay (Free for commercial use)
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: December 15, 2020