If it’s not a family trip to a theme park or the beach, children will ask for toys as gifts on their birthday or Christmas. Don’t just get your kiddo the latest toy craze or newest gadget, though. Choose toys that can boost your child’s development. Dr. Claire McCarthy, a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, recommends these three types of toys for kids:
1. Toys that require imagination Always consider what your child will be able to do with a toy before buying it. With open-ended toys, or toys that require imagination, the possibilities are endless. “Children need to learn to think things through, come up with ideas, and be creative,” said Dr. McCarthy. These toys can be the simplest ones at the toy store, too.
Try building blocks and dollhouses with people that can go inside them. Vehicles like cars, boats, and airplanes are great too. With these, the simpler, the better, said the pedia. “If you buy tracks, buy ones that can be rearranged. Consider getting a playmat of a town that the cars can drive around.”
Toys that will encourage your child to play pretend are essential in every toy box too. Good picks include a play kitchen (chef’s hat and apron included!), and dress up costumes (like a doctor’s coat, builder’s hat, etc.)
Smart Parenting's toy picks:
Build Up and Away Blocks by Hape (P1,499), Toys R Us
Play Go My Carry Along Basket (P699.75), Toy Kingdom
2. Toys that need another person to play with Get your child a toy that she can play with you or a friend. “Back-and-forth interactions support the development of a child's communication and social skills,” said Dr. McCarthy. “They are also crucial for building relationships, and strong parent-child relationships make all the difference in the emotional health of children.”
There are a variety of board games for every age and interest, from the simple Snakes and Ladders to ones that require you to get off the couch like Twister. Walkie-talkies are also a great pick, and so are kits that you and your child can assemble or do together, like a gardening kit or a science experiment kit. Tents are also great for playtime. You can set them up in your living room or take them to the park for an afternoon picnic.
3. Toys that get your child moving Children 5 to 17 years old need 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity every day. This can include doing chores, participating in sports, and playing, according to the World Health Organization.
Provide your child toys that are specifically aimed to get him to put down the tablet and get moving. Something as simple as bubbles can do this already! “Your child will enjoy blowing, chasing, and popping them. If you and your child blow bubbles together, they will also be good for developing social interaction,” said Dr. Victoria Dominique Ang, a developmental pediatrician at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan.
Toys that are meant to be played outside are great too, like a basketball or jump rope. It may also be time to consider getting your kiddo her own bike and teaching her to ride it!
Smart Parenting's toy picks:
Colorfeng fun colored bubbles (P379.75), Toy Kingdom