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Choosing toys that support healthy development

The American Academy of Pediatrics has put out a great position paper advising on the place of toys in a child’s life and what types of toys are best. This point is great:

Recognize that one of the most important purposes of play with toys, especially in infancy, is not educational but rather to facilitate warm, supportive interactions and relationships.

Simpler toys tend to be better for kids’ developmentally and will have more longevity than flashy, electronic toys. Look for toys that promote creativity and imagination. A toy that has one purpose will grow old quick, but something like a wooden block set can have many uses.

Some of the toys and games that are perennial favorites at Solaris include:

  • Finger putty such as Crazy Aaron’s
  • Play-doh
  • Modeling Foam
  • Kinetic sand
  • Legos / Duplo
  • Don’t break the ice
  • Giggle Wiggle
  • What’s in Ned’s Head
  • Beanie babies (great for symbolic play)
  • Balls
  • Bubbles
  • Puzzles
  • Zoom ball
  • Mini trampoline

Further reading:

Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era

Toy Buying Tips for Babies & Young Children

How Play Connects To Learning

 

 

 

Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children

Too much technology and not enough social interaction is a pitfall for developing young minds. Read the full article published on the New York Times website here.

Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.

Before age 2, children should not be exposed to any electronic media, the pediatrics academy maintains, because “a child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.” Older children and teenagers should spend no more than one or two hours a day with entertainment media, preferably with high-quality content, and spend more free time playing outdoors, reading, doing hobbies and “using their imaginations in free play,” the academy recommends.

Out in public, Dr. Steiner-Adair added, “children have to know that life is fine off the screen. It’s interesting and good to be curious about other people, to learn how to listen. It teaches them social and emotional intelligence, which is critical for success in life.”