Choosing Age-Appropriate Toys for Kids – A Challenge or Not?
Parents everywhere tend to buy lots of toys for their children regardless of the number of other toys the little ones no longer play with. There is nothing wrong with buying new toys as long as parents know how to choose age-appropriate ones. What’s more, children might not play with some age-appropriate toys, if they don’t like them. So, parents should find a balance between giving a toy that is age-appropriate and finding one that children really like. In this article, we will talk about whether choosing age-appropriate toys for kids is a challenge or not and how parents can deal with this problem.
Choosing the right toy for their age
According to most experts, for kids who are yet to reach first grade, toys play a very important role when it comes to their cognitive development. It is worth noting that most toys for kids aged six and below are built around an educational theory known as constructivism. This means that when children take part in the learning process, they construct their own personal knowledge.
So, when children play with the simplest toys, like building blocks, plastic mirrors or plastic balls, they create their own environment and their imagination becomes a lot more active in the process. For a list of the best 10 age-appropriate toys for ages zero to nine and the real reasons why a toy is more appropriate for an age group than others, you can check the linked article.
Toys that trigger fantasy play
It seems that in theory, there are no bad toys of bad types of play. For instance, fantasy play doesn’t follow any rules but it is seen by experts as a way in which children can improvise more during their play. There are certain types of toys that can encourage fantasy play, communication and social development in kids.
The so-called “low realism” toys can trigger fantasy or “pretend play” in children, according to scientists. This means that toys that are already famous won’t excite a child’s imagination as much as a neutral toy. For example, if you give your child a Lightning McQueen toy car, they will surely recreate scenes from the animated movie “Cars”. However, giving them an ordinary, basic toy car will incite their imagination and force them to think of new scenarios and conversations for that toy.
However, “low realism” toys might not be age-appropriate for smaller children. So, parents should buy those after the age of four to five.
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Educational toys are strongly recommended
Experts agree that educational toys are some of the best alternatives when it comes to age-appropriate toys. Things like fun board games, educational video-games and apps, and even chemistry and baking sets are perfect for children over the age of five because they will keep them busy while teaching them something about the world.
However, most of the benefits of any toy, educational or not, come from the interaction that the parents have with their child while playing with these toys. Leaving children in a room to play alone can turn them into loners.
Instead, parents should take part in their child’s fantasy play and get involved in the story. They should become a character and enter that magical world. This will make the child very happy because one or both parents are there, and because they can further imagine stories and have fun while doing so.
What about video games?
As surprising as it may sound, research has shown that video games are not that bad for a child as previously thought. When compared with watching television, which is a passive activity, playing video games is an active activity that engages the child’s mind. Also, school kids often play video games and talk about their progress with their colleagues at school. This means that they also improve children’s social skills, as opposed to the common belief.
Finally, the best thing that parents can do is to give their children toys that are age-appropriate and safe. Yes, it can be a challenging task because the little angels might not like what they’ve been given, but parents need to find a balance between personal preferences and safety. If your child likes a particular cartoon character, find toys with that character but only choose the ones that will help the child develop. Make sure that the toys you buy are not too advanced or too simple for the child. In time, children will discover what their passions are and things will get easier.