Since the trend to label toys because"educational" continues to rise, parents may wonder if the hype associated with these kinds of toys is authentic and if they are worth the cash. Below are five tips from toy and education specialists on what to consider when picking an educational toy for your child:
The tie between education and toys has ever existed with the ongoing wave of high-technology educational toys, many of the toys teachers and parents used to associate learning may no longer be known because of their educational value. "The best toys are easy and open minded," states Ellen Wild, chairperson of the Early Childhood Program in Dutchess Community College.
Wild suggests giving kids crayons, markers and plain paper, together with envelopes and stickers to promote thinking about writing. She points to blocks, Legos, and manipulatives (believe: stacking toys, shape sorters) to help develop small muscles in the hands and fingers in anticipation of composing and to help with perceptual motor skills. Wild states that she does see kids that have been entertained too solely by toys and electronics with"bells and whistles". "A lot of these children haven't heard persistence, an ability to focus without being amused," says Wild,"(They) have not enjoyed being creative in their own and are not excited by learning and books."
READ MORE: The debate on educational toys
Individualize your approach
"Toys are resources in creating the learning environment," says Natasha Kravchenko, representative of Educational Toys Planet, an online retailer since 2002. Kravchenko states it's very important to pick the ideal toy for your child's age, interest or stage. And not to buy exactly what you would like or what you wanted as a kid except to buy the toy that suits your child's personality. She suggests considering which toys can make your kid want to discover something new, enhance their skills, and promote independent learning. "You can assess customer's reviews and producer's era guidelines, but your choice should mostly depend on your child," says Kravchenko,"not other people's opinion regarding the toy."
Visit the land of make believe
"The best toys are ones which boost creativity and pretend play," says Nancy Werner, Kindergarten teacher in Traver Road School in Pleasant Valley. "These toys also grow with the child and they can use them for several purposes."
Werner, who has a four-year old, indicates dress up clothes, play food and dolls to foster imagination, production of language and stories that lead to reading comprehension and writing abilities. She also urges creative games which be played adults or other children, such as Candy Land, for developing counting, collaboration, turn taking and problem solving.
Parents should be cautious about the claims made by educational toy commercials. "Children's development can't be accelerated," 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 develop at the pace they're capable."
Taylor says that trying to accelerate a child's development can actually slow it down because children are made to do things for which they are not 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 clarify and think than to invest countless dollars on a toy or movie which is going to be only a 1 way'conversation'," says Werner.
Werner and Wild either point to novels, either bought or borrowed, as being among the very best educational assets your youngster can own. And among the greatest tools parents can use to educate their children. " look at this site for more info of the best educational'toys' for a child is an adult who spends time talking, studying, and enjoying the marvels of the world with (them)," says Wild.