My independent Toy Tips business wants to help you choose smart toy choices this holiday season.
First, don't get caught up in the "hot" toy hoopla or must-haves that you think your kids won't be happy without. Choose smart toys that kids will play with over and over. A good toy is one that is age and skill appropriate that holds a child's current interests. The more you personalize a selection, the better the play experience for your child.
Here are several tips:
- View toys as learning tools building life skills.
- Allow children to identify their own strengths with self-discovery toys. Toys that they play with alone such as science activity kits, magic kits and dolls help teach important lessons about responsibility values and respect for others.
- Encourage cooperation with friends and peers with relationship toys. Team communication skills are improved with sports toys and board games.
- Strengthen language skills and stimulate listening, speaking and imitation sounds with speech and hearing toys. Musical toys and phonics based learning aids and voice command reading books are good examples.
- Improve hand eye coordination with fine motor activities that require hand movements such as grasping and pinching. Smart toy choices include stacking games, puzzles, writing and coloring books and activities.
- Encourage spatial relations and teaching children about their own surroundings through textures, tastes, smells and sight with sensory activity toys.
- Develop balance and exercise gross motor skills with toys that allow children to crawl, run, throw and climb. Look for age and skill appropriate ride-on toys that are kid-powered and climbing structures that encourage activities to use large muscle groups.
- Encourage independent thinking with toys that promote concentration, competition and deductive reasoning. Thinking and logic toys include spy toys, ant farms, construction sets and memory games.
- Increase confidence with toys that build on self esteem. Art projects and craft kits, model-building and construction toys, creative puppetry and movie-themed toys that encourage appropriate pretend play.
- Build social skills and encourage interaction and togetherness with family interaction toys. Dress up clothes, board games, sports activities and battery-controlled car races.
I wish you and your family a joyful Holiday Season!
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