Source: Dr. Toy
As you examine any
potential children's product, before you purchase it, ask yourself the
- Is the product
Does the product fit the child's age, skills and abilities? Will it
hold the child's interests?
- Is the toy/product
Is it safe? Are there any potential hazards such as sharp edges,
parts that can be swallowed, or loose ties? Is it non-toxic? Does it
meet Consumer Product Safety Standards? How durable is it? Will it
take rough treatment? Is there a guarantee on the product?
- Is the toy or
Is it something the child will enjoy using for a long time? Does it
have long lasting play value? Does it have versatility?
- Does the toy offer
an opportunity to stimulate creativity?
The right products in arts, crafts, hobbies, language, reading,
music, movement and drama can help to expand the child's
imagination, thinking and comprehension.
- Does the toy match
the package and the package match the toy?
If the toy does not match ads or package it can be disappointing. Is
age grading clear?
- Will the product
teach? Does it
help expand positive self-esteem, values, understanding, cultural
awareness, Does it help encourage the growth of self-esteem, values,
or cultural values offer practice in skills, eye hand coordination,
or fine and large motor skills? Does the product help teach
communication skills? Does it expand understanding of the
environment, the community, and world? Does it teach or practice
- Is the toy
the price match the value received?
- Will the product
frustrate or challenge the child?
Does the product offer an opportunity to think, learn something new
, practice or try something that will be beneficial? Or will it be
too difficult for the child to use. However, the product may be
perfect for doing an activity, a construction project, a craft,
hobby, or playing a game. Having fun together as a family is an
important part of the child's play experiences.
- Will the toy help
to nurture childhood?
Can the child use the product by themselves? Will it help them gain
independent skills? Does the product help the child express
emotions, experience care and concern for others, practice positive
social interaction? Is there any violence, sexism or negative aspect
to the product?
- Is the toy fun?
Most importantly will the child enjoy using the product? Will it
make him or her laugh? Relax? Feel good? Play is after all a time to
have fun. Learning is a lot easier and is more enduring if it's fun!
Think about these
- What does your
child need now and what is he or she ready to play with?
- The right
toy/product at the right price for the right reason will help make
your child realize more joy, wonder, and learning.
- Give your child a
chance to tell you about the toys and products on their wish list.
- Consider one of
those fantasy products the child wants, even if you think its silly.
The child is only this age once. Even if we don't agree about their
choices, they need to learn to be responsible for decisions they
make as consumers. They are influenced a lot by what their friends
are playing with and by what they see on television.
- Make a point of
examining the toys and products included on Dr. Toy's extensive list
of great new award winning products. Each one has extra value of
activity, creativity, or education built in and your child will
A Note from PRC:
It has been my
experience that the most unexpected "articles" can be the most
priceless toys. My sons have given Tupperware a beating it will
never forget. Things often found around the house can be your
child's best "toy". Keep that in mind this Holiday
season when you are shopping for toys and your checkbook is
Age Appropriate Gifts
baby (newborn to 6 months):
Toys for gazing at, such as mobiles, musical toys, unbreakable crib
mirrors and easy-to-grab soft fabric toys with varying sounds, textures
and bright colors.
and crawling babies (6 months to 1 year):
Soft rattles and teething toys with different sounds and textures, chime
balls that respond with a touch, cloth blocks and balls, washable velour
or terrycloth dolls and animals with easy-to-grab limbs and stitched
features, cloth or sturdy cardboard books, containers with chunky blocks
for filling and dumping and easy-to-activate rolling toys.
toddlers (1 and 2):
Push toys, pull toys, low-to-the-ground straddle and ride toys, big
huggables, big lightweight balls, wagons for filling and dumping, big
plastic blocks, toys with dials, buttons, doors and other manipulatives
that make things happen, simple puzzles, props for pretend play like a
phone, housekeeping tools, table and chairs, simple art supplies and
sturdy picture books.
for preschoolers (3 and 4):
Props for pretend, transportation toys, first pedal toys, kitchens,
dolls, puppets, dress-up clothes, small settings with animals, vehicles,
wooden and plastic blocks and trains, washable art materials, matching
games, puzzles, picture books, tape player, music, story tape, software,
sand and water toys.
big kids (5 to 10):
Two-wheeler bikes with training wheels, sports equipment, elaborate
dolls with accessories, zany collectible soft animals, puppets, craft
kits, art materials, musical instruments, tape/CD players and radios,
more elaborate construction sets, learning machines, games, puzzles,
storybooks and first chapter books. (See more ideas below.)
Grown-up toys such as sporting goods, advanced craft kits, camera,
telescope, microscope, musical instrument, CD players and computers,
software, board games and books. (See more ideas below.)
Your Grade School Child's Toys
To Nine Years
tabletop sports games and classics like marbles and model or craft kits
help develop skills for social and solitary
play. In experimenting with different kinds of grown-up
worlds, fashion and career dolls and all kinds of action
figures appeal to girls and boys. Printing sets, science and craft kits,
electric trains, racing cars, construction sets and hobby equipment are
important to children for examining and experimenting
with the world around them.
physical play, a larger bicycle, ice and roller skates, a pogo
stick, scooter sled and other sports equipment, along with protective
gear, are appropriate. Even though group play is enjoyed, children at
this stage also play well by themselves. Paints, crayons, and clay are
still good selections, as are costumes, doll houses, play villages,
miniature figures and vehicles, all of which help children with their imaginations
Many games and
electronic toys geared to children in this age group are labeled
"educational" because they have been designed to help children
learn specific skills and concepts, such as games which require forming
words, matching letters of the alphabet with various objects or learning
about money through handling play coins and currency.
games appeal to children, teenagers and adults. Many games
offer increasingly challenging levels of play, as well as opportunities
to develop coordination skills and a sense of the
meaning of strategies in relationships, usually through
competition against an opponent.
marionettes and theaters
ice skates plus protective gear
to develop specific skills and life-long
interests at this age. Give considerable attention to hobbies
and crafts, model kits, magic sets, advanced construction sets,
chemistry and science kits and puzzles. Peer acceptance
is very important at this age. Active physical play now finds its
expression with team play in a variety of sports. Social and
intellectual skills are refined through board, card and electronic
games, particularly those requiring strategy decisions.
and electronic games, table tennis and billiards (pool) are
very popular at this stage. Dramatic play holds great
appeal. Youngsters in this age group like to plan complete productions
including props, costumes, printed programs puppets and marionettes.
Painting, sculpting, ceramics and other forms of artistic
expression continue to be of interest, as do books, tapes and
tennis and billiards
telescope and magnifying glass
hand work kits
marionettes and theaters
ice skates plus protective gear
For an article on
should Kids get into Astronomy click