T is for “toy.” Toys are for children. But most of the time, it’s the adults who buy them for the kids! Toys can be highly educational or merely entertaining. They may be expensive or dirt-cheap, depending on the taste of the child or the parent. They can also be harmful or simply harmless.
For playthings to be very beneficial, it is the giver’s duty to carefully select them. Here are some guidelines to consider.
Manufacturers usually indicate the age bracket for which their toys are fitted. Children mature differently, and they easily lose interest if toys are either too complicated or not at all challenging for their age.
Toys for infants should be those that will awaken the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. During years when muscles and coordinators are being developed, throw toys would be very interesting. Later, playthings that encourage the imagination and visualization should be given.
Toys are silent teachers. Their educational potential is too vast to be disregarded considering the developmental tasks in this stage of life. Children can quickly develop dexterity, and learn association, letters, numbers, and reasoning. Character traits such as patience, efficiency, and orderliness can be greatly reinforced.
Most mechanical toys that run at a flick of a switch or at the turn of a key may be completely entertaining, but if kids do nothing but watch amused, they will have and nothing more.
Give them things that will bring out creativity and innovation – toys that will challenge their thinking prowess such as building blocks, Lego, puzzles, modeling clays or Play-Doh, and art and craft materials.
Check for sharp metal edges. Rough plastics and woods can be very abrasive to tender skins. Small parts that loosen easily poses risk of getting swallowed. Moving parts might pinch fingers or pull hair. Pointed sections can blind or puncture skin. Scissors should have blunt, rounded tips and should not be barber-sharp. Clays and water colors are usually indicated if they are non-toxic and safe if accidentally swallowed.
When they do get dirty as toys are apt to be, they should be easy to clean. Toys that not washable not only deteriorate quickly but are dangerous to the child’s health especially if they kiss and cuddle them or take them to bed at night.
Toys need not be expensive to realize the purpose for which they are bought. Many expensive toys just end up inside the glass cabinet because they might not last long in the child’s hands. During chances that these are played with, they are always under watchful eyes. Then with the repeated calls to “be careful,” plus threats to put away the toy, would hardly make the child fully enjoy the plaything.
Children will delight in their toys regardless of the price tag. Make room for the fact that they will outgrow them and not use them for long.
Cheap toys end up being expensive if they easily break, stop working after a short while, or run on and off at your dismay. Check for defects in manufacture such as peeling paints, loose joints, or missing parts. Mechanical or electronic toys should always be tested before purchase. Check for availability of warranty or repair service if offered.
Toys should be durable enough to withstand the rough and tumble of child’s play.
Toys are bought with a particular kid in mind. Do not buy out of impulse or just because it caught the fancy of the child in you. It might not be the recipient’s preference. Consider the need for buying the toy. Is it to keep him busy? To while away the time while he is sick in bed? As a reward for a good great or an excellent performance? Whatever the need, it should be a great consideration.
Whether it is a birthday, graduation, a Christmas present, or just a surprise gift, a toy is for fun and profit. Fun, because that is how toys should be. Profit, because they should be character and skill-building tools.