Gift-giving fun with right toy selection


With the holidays quickly approaching, many of us have made our list and checked it twice.

Toys are often the gift of choice for children. Following the guidelines below can help ensure the best selections for each child.

Tips for selecting toys:

1. Ensure the toy is developmentally appropriate. It should be challenging yet not frustrating or discouraging.

2. Make sure the toy is safe. Avoid small parts that could be a choking hazard, have sharp edges, cause damage to the eyes or toys that might lead to suffocation.

3. Purchase durable toys intended for extended use that have play value for more than a few weeks.

4. Ensure toys are appealing to children. Ensure the color, shape and style is best for the child using it.

5. Toys should be appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use. Flexibility offers increased play value and waterproof toys are easy to clean.

6. There should be more than one way to play with a toy. To stimulate divergent thinking, use toys that offer open-ended play.

7. Multicultural toys educate.

8. Choose toys and colors that promote play by both boys and girls.

9. Choose toys that are nonviolent in nature.

10. Usually, the price of a toy reflects its value and durability.

11. Select toys that add variety to existing play settings.

Toy suggestions
based upon age group:

• Infants and babies (1 year and younger) love to engage with toys that include bright colors such as yellow and red. Black and white colors help their new eyes to focus. When babies become mobile, they like to hold, move and throw objects. Board books, toys where touch creates sounds, toys with flashing lights, and safe chewable toys are popular. Toys with mirrors to help babies engage with their reflection are also good. Older babies need toys that can be pushed, pulled or stacked for development.

• Toddlers (1-3 years old) are mobile and on the move. Toys that encourage use of the imagination and problem-solving toys are best such as interactive books, pretend versions of everyday objects, and toys to ride or climb on, balls to roll or catch, or building toys.

• Preschoolers (3-5 years) love being physical while playing. They like dress-up clothes, kid-size furniture, simple board games, counting and letter games, and sports equipment suitable for their age. At the top of the list is art supplies, musical instruments and play dough.

Choosing gifts that are age, and developmentally appropriate helps children build the skills to succeed. Creativity and imagination can be enhanced by choosing the right toy type, which can make the transition to kindergarten and beyond much easier for the entire family.

For more information, call the 56th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy New Parent Support Program at 623-856-3417.

Portions of this article are found at WWW.