By GreatSchools Staff
Looking for toys that won't be broken or abandoned soon after the package is open? How do you find the right holiday gifts that will delight your child, encourage curiosity, and build skills?
"Good toys have staying power — they engage," says Diana Huss Green, founder of Parents' Choice. "They help build attention spans, not fragment them. A good toy does not offer answers; it stimulates questions and presents problems for solving."
1. Don't be lured by the hype for the "hottest toys."
These toys may be advertised heavily, but they may not hold your child's attention for long. "The 'hot toys' are OK, but don't depend on them as the only gifts. There are so many excellent active, creative and educational products that offer more value," says Dr. Stevanne Auerbach (a.k.a. Dr. Toy), Director of the Institute for Childhood Resources, and author of Dr. Toy's Smart Play/Smart Toys. The editors of Toy Wishes magazine warn on their Web site: "The hot toy is only hot if it's hot for your child. Lists are great, but kids are the ones who make toys truly popular."
2. Follow your child's interests.
"Some children may want to read about a certain culture or its art, while others may want to create art of their own, some of it inspired by the art in a museum," says Mike Norris, associate educator in charge of family programs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. "Most parents have a sense of which toy is effective in teaching something to their children, but because each child has her own way of learning, a toy that is great for one child may not be effective for another."
What does your child like? Dinosaurs? Birds? Cars? Know your child’s passions and look for a book, CD, or game to cultivate his or her curiosity about these subjects. For a few recommendations, check out "Bundles of Learning Gifts."
3. Make sure the toy, game or book is age-appropriate.
Always check labels on boxes or read the full description when shopping by catalog or online, to see what age the toy is recommended for.
4. Pose the right questions to find out what your child will learn.
Children learn from playing. You can try to understand what the toy you're selecting will teach. Dr. Toy suggests asking these questions: Does it help expand positive self-esteem, values, understanding and cultural awareness? Does it offer practice in skill building? Eye/hand coordination? Fine and large motor skills? Communication? Does it educate the child about the environment? Community? World? History? Computers? Other skills? Toy Wishes magazine offers these guidelines on its Web site: "Look for toys that help your kids express themselves, discover their world and develop their imaginations."
5. Check out the award-winners.
Many organizations have annual awards for the best toys and educational products. A few noteworthy ones are:
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.