As a parent, finding the balance between a toy that is educational and one for leisure can be a tough task. Bricks and mortar stores have shelves lined with plastic laden, heavily branded, television character promoted toys, perfectly arranged at eye level to maximise exposure to the eager little purchaser. Although the durability, longevity and educational value of such toys may be questionable, their appeal to impressionable young minds most certainly isn’t. We would love to have a dollar for every time the phrase “Mum can I have this one” or “Dad what about this” is echoed throughout a toy isle on any given day throughout Australia. This begs the question, when and how do you know what toys to choose for birthdays, special occasions or for the everyday at home? And how do you know your child will enjoy your choices?
Educational Experience believe in dynamic, multipurpose resources that are design to stimulate the brain whilst being used in many and varied ways. Not only does this foster creativity in the child but it helps you get the most out of your money.
Here are our three tips for choosing the right toys for your child:
- Safety! It seems like a no brainer but every year hundreds of Australia children suffer injuries from unsafe toys. Choose products that display or have readily available information on safety are the best option. How does this help your child stay interested? Firstly, it means your child will have the toy longer, it isn’t going to be thrown away after breaking early in its journey in your home. It also means your child can relax and so can you whilst they engage with the toy.
- Consider your child’s current interests – What have they been non-stop talking about? What are they learning in their preschool or school setting? Extending a child’s interest and bridging the gap between the centre or school and the home can be a great way continue momentum in their learning journey. Purchasing toys that extend your child’s interest will ensure they remain engaged and excited.
- Durability, longevity and suitability – seems to be another simple concept but how many times do we get sucked into buying the flashy on trend toys that seem to be gone in the blink of an eye! We can think of at least a handful of flash in the pan toys that appeared around Christmas and are no longer on the radar for children. Aim for age appropriate toys that have the ability to transcend set learning outcomes and allow the child to use their own creativity, imagination and skills. Blocks, loose parts, balls and art and craft resources are all great choices.
(author: educational experience blog March 19 2019)