As the tendency to label toys because"educational" continues to grow, parents might wonder whether the hype associated with these types of toys is authentic and if they're worth the money. Below are five tips from toy and education experts on which to consider when picking an educational toy for your child:
The link between education and toys has always existed but with the ongoing wave of high-technology educational toys, so lots of the toys teachers and parents used to associate with learning may no longer be known for their educational value. "The best toys are easy and open-ended," says Ellen Wild, chairperson of the Early Childhood Program in Dutchess Community College.
Wild suggests giving children crayons, markers and plain paper, together with ribbons and envelopes to promote thinking about writing. https://vuf.minagricultura.gov.co/Lists/Informacin%20Servicios%20Web/DispForm.aspx?ID=12537 points into blocks, Legos, and manipulatives (think: stacking toys, shape sorters) to help build small muscles in the palms and fingers in anticipation of composing and also to help with perceptual motor abilities. Wild states that she does see kids that were entertained too solely by toys and electronics with"bells and whistles". "Many of these children have not heard persistence, an ability to concentrate without being entertained," says Wild,"(They) haven't enjoyed being creative in their own and are not excited by books and learning."
READ MORE: The debate on educational toys
Individualize your strategy
"Toys are resources in creating the learning environment," says Natasha Kravchenko, representative of Educational Toys Planet, an online retailer since 2002. Kravchenko says it is important to pick the ideal toy for your child's age, interest or period. And not to buy what you want or what you wanted as a child but to purchase the toy that suits your child's character. She suggests thinking about which toys can make your kid want to discover something new, enhance their abilities, and encourage independent learning. "You can assess customer's testimonials and manufacturer's era recommendations, but your selection should mostly depend on your kid," says Kravchenko,"not other people's opinion regarding the toy."
Visit the land of make believe
"The best toys are those that boost creativity and pretend play," says Nancy Werner, Kindergarten teacher at Traver Road School at Pleasant Valley. "These toys also grow with the child and they can use them for several functions."
Werner, with a four-year old, indicates dress up clothes, play dolls and food to nurture creativity, creation of language and stories which result in reading comprehension and writing abilities. She also recommends creative games which be performed adults or other children, such as Candy Land, for developing counting, collaboration, turn taking and problem solving.
READ MORE: Toys to promote learning
Parents should be cautious about the promises made by educational toy advertisements. "Children's development can not be hastened," says Jim Taylor, Ph. D, Psychology, author of"Your Children are Under Attack: How Popular Culture is Destroying Your Kids' Values, and How You Can Protect Them." "Children can only grow at the pace they are capable."
Taylor says that attempting to accelerate a child's growth can actually slow it down because children are forced to do things for which they aren't developmentally ready. The result is that kids are prevented from doing exactly what they ought to do in their stage of growth.
Be your child's first educational "toy"
"It is crucial that you have conversations with children and ask them questions to help them explain and think than to spend countless dollars on a toy or video which is going to be only a one way'dialog'," says Werner.
Werner and Wild both point to books, either purchased or borrowed, as being among the best educational assets your youngster can own. And among the best tools parents can use to teach their children. "One of the very best educational'toys' for a kid is an adult who spends time talking, reading, and appreciating the wonders of earth with (these )," says Wild.