The Right Toy Selection Plays An Important Role In Gift Use
The Right Toy Selection Plays An Important Role In
DENTON How many parents have been disappointed
Christmas morning to find their child playing with gift wrap and
not the gifts? Keeping some simple toy selection rules in mind
can help ensure preschool children will enjoy their gifts more
than the boxes.
First, parents need to make sure all toys they buy their
children are safe, said Dr. Jo Ann Engelbrecht, professor
of family sciences at Texas Woman's University in Denton.
The toy shouldn't have any small parts the child can put in
his or her mouth.
Equally important, the toy should be durable. Pieces of broken
toy pose just as great a choking hazard.
Multi-Use vs. Single-Use
Toys that can be used for a variety of things will be
used more than a toy that has a single use, Dr. Engelbrecht
said. "Open-ended" toys let children be creative and
use their imagination. A toddler can use a large ball for playing
catch, kicking in the back yard or as a stool for spinning in a
Something as simple and inexpensive as a beach ball can
hold a child's attention much longer than an expensive toy,
Dr. Engelbrecht said. Markers, newsprint, colored papers,
blocks and Play Dough are all things that can keep children
entertained for hours and spark their imaginations.
Challenging, But Not Too Difficult
Durable books made out of plastic or cardboard, puppets and
puzzles are other items that entertain and challenge children.
And keeping a child challenged is important in keeping a child
interested in a toy.
If a puzzle is too easy, the child will do it once and
not use it again, similar to teenagers who find a video game too
easy and play it once and then opt for something more
challenging, Dr. Engelbrecht said.
Toy packaging gives recommended ages for the product. But, Dr.
Engelbrecht notes, sometimes the recommendations are off. Look
carefully at the toy, examine it and determine if it might be too
challenging for your child which also will cause it to be
discarded or not challenging enough. Based on his or
her personality, is it something that your child would be
interested in? Dr. Engelbrecht added.
Gift givers need to think about what they are going to buy
before heading to the toy store. Have you seen Toys `R' Us?
If you go toy shopping without any idea of what you're
looking for, you're more likely to make a mistake, Dr.
Engelbrecht said. Look in catalogs and online to get ideas
Many online retailers offer an additional service to buyers:
customer product reviews. It's another tool gift givers can use
to gauge whether or not a toy will work for his or her
For someone purchasing a toy for a friend's or relative's
child, call the parents and make sure the child doesn't already
have the toy and that the parents are fine with the proposed
gift. The drum set from Uncle Bob might not be as big a hit with
Mom and Dad as it is with Junior.
Don't Let Little Ones Be Overwhelmed
On Christmas morning, let the child open all his or her gifts
but then put some of them aside. If a child has too many
choices, he or she will be overwhelmed and won't know which toy
to play with, Dr. Engelbrecht said.
Rotate the toys," she said. Let the child play with
a few for several days or weeks, then pull some others out of the
closet and put the toys they have been playing with up. By doing
this, it's like discovering new toys every rotation.
Finally, Dr. Engelbrecht stresses that parents need to play
with their little ones. Children need and learn from human
interaction. Don't let videos, electronic games and television
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