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Choosing The Right Toy For Your Child

When choosing a toy for your child or as a gift it is not only important to consider the age, ability and interests of the child. The two points parents should consider also are quality and cost. The third and equally important is safety.

Published on: February 11 2010 | Views:400
Choosing The Right Toy For Your Child

Sure, they all look like fun, but finding the right toys for your little one isn’t child’s play. Here are six simple guidelines that will help you choose terrific toys for your tot (at any age) and get more bang for your buck.

Read the package

Those age-appropriate recommendations are there for two good reasons: to help you meet your baby’s developmental needs and to keep her safe. So while you might be taken in with that great dollhouse and all its nifty wee furniture, best to hold off until those tiny telephones and little lamps no longer pose a choking hazard (and your baby has the manual dexterity to have fun playing with it).

Don't believe the hype

Just because it’s the hottest toy in town (or on TV) doesn't mean it’s right for your child. She may be too young (or too old) for it, or that tea set just might not be her cup of tea. Consider the types of toys she gravitates toward — maybe your baby is more into her fuzzy friends (aka stuffed animals) at this age than she’s into her shape sorter, so let her interests be your guide. And remember, sometimes the simplest toy (a rattle, say) boosts learning and skills more than educational toys.

Don't forget about the joys of non-toy toys.

Plastic measuring cups, metal mixing bowls, wooden spoons, cardboard boxes, and paper bags can provide hours of fun (and skill-building) as you turn them into musical instruments, bath-time toys, and puppets for your baby’s amusement.

Stick to your guns (even if that means outlawing toy weapons)

If you don’t want your child to play with a particular type of toy, so be it. Different families have different values and rules, so if a plaything offends you, don’t buy it.

Don’t go overboard

It doesn’t take a ton of toys to entertain a baby. Choose carefully, edit, and update (as your child reaches a big milestone like sitting or nearing her first birthday) often to keep your child engaged and happy. Remember, a few special toys have more staying power than a mountain of junky ones.

Think outside the box

Sure, that toy was meant to be used this way, but who’s to say it can't be used that way? As long as it's safe, encourage your little one to be creative with her playthings. (Block cupcakes, anyone?) Who knows, she just might discover a whole new pastime.

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