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Choosing the Right Toys for Our Children is No Child’s Play


September 8, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Toys, Books, Activities



If you have been following my posts, you know that I have a pet peeve – all those flashing, beeping, buzzing, battery-operated toys that are flooding the market these days. Many of these toys are marketed as educational, but in my own personal experience giving such toys to my baby, I found that they did not keep him engaged for long. He used to get bored easily and not go back to the same toy again. I had a cupboard-full of toys that were not even being used.

 

Have you also noticed the same behavior with your child? I did a little research and realized that there are problems with today’s toys that we as parents are not even aware of. Here’s what we should be aware of while choosing the right toys for our children:

 

Very flashy toys can cause overstimulation

You may think that children find these toys entertaining and they probably do for a while. But over time, the flashing lights, loud sounds and moving parts can leave the child overstimulated and irritable. I myself realized that I used to feel dizzy and have a headache after watching such a toy over a prolonged time, so I could not imagine the effect it must have had on a baby. I ended up banning all such toys from the house.

 

“Talking” toys can actually impede speech and cognitive development

Though these toys may be marketed as educational, research has confirmed that battery-operated talking toys actually reduce parental interaction and impede speech development in children. The same study goes on to say that play with non-electronic toys such as blocks, puzzles etc. provide far better developmental and cognitive benefits.

 

Toys marketed specifically for boys or girls reinforce gender stereotypes

How often do we see dolls, houses and kitchen sets for girls and engineering blocks, cars and action figures for boys? I have even seen a company selling the same blocks in two different colours and packaging, pink for girls and blue for boys. While this may be a marketing ploy to increase sales, these distinctions build lasting perceptions in the children’s minds about how they should think and behave and what they should or should not be interested in.

 

We end up buying toys that are not right for our child’s age group

Many times as parents we are not aware which toys are age-appropriate for our children. A toy that is too easy may leave the child bored and uninterested. A child will not want to play with the same toy again and again for long if he feels he has already mastered it. On the other hand, one that is too advanced for his age may cause the child to feel demotivated and frustrated. It is important to match the toy to the child’s ongoing mental and physical development.

 

We are not well-informed about the harmful effects of plastic toys

It is well known that many internationally made plastic toys do not conform to safety regulations. They contain toxic chemicals that should not be consumed (most babies do chew on their toys during their teething phases) and are harmful to the environment as well.

 

There is a growing popularity of screens and gadgets

These days kids are spending more and more time in front of screens – television, smart phones, tablets. Sure, there are many educational programs and games available that I also use with my baby. However the child’s use of digital devices should be moderated for content and limited for time. Prolonged screen-time can a have harmful impact on vision and brain development. Did you know that AAP recommends no screen-time for children below 18 months and only up to 1 hour a day for children aged 2-5 years?

 

So what is the solution?

I have noticed that Baby N is more engaged with a toy when it is activity-based and challenges him in some way, either to use his cognitive ability, memory, creativity or motor skills. I also personally prefer toys that are made from non-toxic and environmentally friendly materials such as wood or cloth.

 

One brand that is emerging in this space is Skola Toys. Skola toys are especially designed keeping in mind the development stage of the child at a particular age and the specific learning objectives at that age. They focus on sharpening an understanding of concepts in areas of sensorial development, language, science, maths, geography and more, while enhancing fine motor skills and dexterity. Skola toys are made of wood sourced from renewable sources and hence is environment friendly. The finishes used in these toys are also non-toxic.

 

I will be sharing more about Skola Toys and our experience with them in the coming days. Keep watching this space.

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but the content and views expressed here are my own.

 

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Comments
  1. Aesha Shah said on September 9, 2017 2:31 pm:

    This is so true. Children are now glued to gadgets and demand all sort of electronic toys which just takes up space at home and doesngt help much in development. I would certainly like to know more aboutn skola toys.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 11, 2017 11:10 am:

      Very true Aesha. Stay tuned to know more about Skola.

  2. Amrita said on September 9, 2017 2:42 pm:

    Very important to choose the right to for your child .I love blocks and puzzles and we have different sizes in this.Nice reading

  3. Shirley Corder said on September 9, 2017 4:08 pm:

    An excellent post and one I’d like every parent of a young child to read. It is so true that some of the most expensive toys only hold the child’s interest for a few minutes. They would rather play with their mother’s cooking “toys”!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 11, 2017 11:13 am:

      Very true Shirley!

  4. Akshata said on September 9, 2017 5:33 pm:

    Indeed there is an overflow of toys … life was much simpler when we were kids and had fewer toys

  5. Sheethal Susan Jacob said on September 10, 2017 11:20 am:

    There’s so much to look into toys too nah when it’s for kids? Informative post. Never have thought that toys can harm a child than entertain him/her.

  6. Ramya Abhinand said on September 11, 2017 10:52 am:

    The overstimulation is what causes a big concern these days. As it is we are living in a generation where our kids are exposed early and over exposed to various things quite early in life. LEaving little for them to explore and discover. OVer stimulation too hampers thought process, and discovery on their own.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 11, 2017 11:12 am:

      True Ramya. That is why I am keen to share more about “back-to-basics” wooden toys from Skola which do not over-stimulate and allow for learning through exploration.

  7. Aya @ Out of Never Land said on September 11, 2017 3:43 pm:

    I always prefer my toddler to play with toys rather than to use gadgets.
    I mean, I want her to use her creativity and imagination 🙂 It amuses me when I see her playing with them. She still speaks baby so I can’t understand most of what she’s saying but it’s adorable. ♥

    I hope Skola toys are also available in the Philippines 🙂

  8. Neha said on September 11, 2017 4:25 pm:

    We are a fan of Montessori inspired wooden educational toys and have quite a few puzzles which my 19 month old loves to solve. I am going to check Skola toys now as I was thinking of buying few more coming month. Thanks for sharing this review.

  9. Anjana Dhanavanthan said on September 12, 2017 12:25 am:

    A great guide to what not to be buy. We end up thinking flashy toys are attractive, but they work differently in terms of development.

  10. Priyadarshani Panda said on September 12, 2017 1:00 am:

    I completely agree with the side effects of the noisy cheap plastic battery operated toys they do more damage than good a very well written article

  11. Charu Gujjal said on September 12, 2017 2:17 am:

    Toys, indeed, play a vital role in a child’s life. Choosing the right ones is crucial as it impacts their learning and development.

  12. manveen said on September 12, 2017 8:42 am:

    I’ve heard about Skola Toys. I’ve noticed how they are such a stimulating experience for kids and are non-battery operated edging the kids towards thinking. Your points just endorse what I have always thought of toys and I’m glad to know that I am not alone.

  13. NEHA JAIN said on September 12, 2017 6:44 pm:

    Nowadays there are innumerable option of toys available in the market. We as parents feel confused about the right one for our kids. Your post has alleviate some of the confusion here. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Nayantara said on September 12, 2017 10:45 pm:

    I absolutely abhor those flashy lights and noisy toys. They dumb down rather than stimulate positively

  15. Shubhreet Kaur said on September 12, 2017 10:48 pm:

    You have really listed some important points to keep in mind while choosing toys for our kids. To be honest, I am guilty of having enough plastic toys and many talking ones too. I did not know talking toys can actually delay speech. These are really good tips. Have not tried out skola toys yet but check them out now.

  16. Pranita said on September 13, 2017 12:15 am:

    What a lovely informative and helpful writeup it is! Love how you have explained about wrong choices of toys we made for our kids 👍 Thanks for sharing it. I am sure, this will be really helpful to all the parents to wisely choose toys for their kids

  17. Deepa said on September 13, 2017 10:40 am:

    Very good points to use while buying toys for kids. They should be age appropriate and safe. Never heard of Skola toys but will try soon.

  18. Anubhuti Seth said on September 13, 2017 4:33 pm:

    Gadgets are sure to take the childhood away from a child. Toys are not just for the entertainment but also form an integral part of a child’s overall development. Great post to summarise everything.

  19. Kavita Singh said on September 14, 2017 10:27 am:

    All valid points you have mentioned here. We do need to pay attention to the type of toys we buy for our kids. Skola toys seem promising option, following your post to know more about it.

  20. Ishieta @ Isheeria's said on September 17, 2017 9:13 pm:

    This is a good post. As an aunt, i have picked up some good points to look out for when getting gifts.