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  • The Best Toys for 2-Year-Olds According to Pediatricians Will Surprise You

    One thing we can say is you don't have to go high-tech.
    by Kate Borbon .
The Best Toys for 2-Year-Olds According to Pediatricians Will Surprise You
PHOTO BY iStock
  • The holidays are coming up, and right now, you’re probably already thinking of the best gift to get your little ones. Toys are the number one choice, of course, but if you haven't bought already, you might want to opt for old-fashioned toys instead of gifting them with electronic gadgets.

    A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) claims that the more ideal toys for children, especially for toddlers, are those that encourage their creativity and imagination. Puzzles, coloring books, and even the cardboard boxes these toys come in allow opportunities for interaction between you and your child. The study, which was published online on December 3, 2018, advises parents “against using [digital media-based gadgets] as a replacement to the traditional hands-on toys and games that fuel the imagination and aid in healthy development.”

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    Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a professor at NYU Langone Health and a co-author of the study, says, “The best toys are those that support parents and children playing, pretending and interacting together. You just don’t reap the same rewards from a tablet or screen. And when children play with parents — the real magic happens, whether they are pretending with toy characters or building blocks or puzzles together.”

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    The AAP also claims toys that match children’s abilities and encourage them to grow new skills are the most preferable and beneficial. “Toys are key to developing children’s brains, language interactions, symbolic and pretend play, problem-solving, social interactions and physical activity — and are increasingly important as children move from infancy into toddlerhood,” the report states.

    Limit screen time

    In present times, when technological advances are aplenty and becoming increasingly important in everyday life, opting for more traditional toys like blocks, puzzles, and dolls can be challenging, since children nowadays seem to prefer playing on electronic gadgets than with actual toys or other people. A study by Common Sense Media released in 2017 stated that children ages 8 and below spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes every day with screen media, primarily by watching TV, but also by using various mobile devices.

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    Pediatricians suggest that kids’ screen time, which includes the playing of video games and using computers, be limited. The report says that total screen time for children ages 2 or older should only be 1 hour per day, and wholly avoided for children ages 18 to 24 months.

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    Moreover, the report also suggests that children younger than 5 years should only be allowed to play video games that are developmentally appropriate — meaning they match the child’s skills and abilities while also helping improve them — and they should be accompanied by a parent or a guardian.

    Mind the labels

    Another reason electronic toys have become so ubiquitous is that they are commonly advertised to be “educational.” However, the AAP cautions parents to be very careful when considering giving their children these toys since most manufacturers don’t actually have the scientific proof to back up their claims.

    “Toys have evolved over the years, and advertisements may leave parents with the impression that toys with a ‘virtual’ or digital-based platform are more educational,” says Dr. Aleeya Healey, the lead author of the report. “Research tells us that the best toys need not be flashy or expensive or come with an app. Simple, in this case, really is better.”

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