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In selecting the right toy for your child ask yourselves:
1. What will it teach my child?
2. Will it hold my child's attention?
3. Is it safe?
4. Is it annoying for me to see or hear?
5. Does it promote creativity, social interaction?
6. Is it non-combative, non-aggressive?
7. Does it foster hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills?
8. Can it be enjoyed by both genders?
9. How many senses does it stimulate?
10. Will I enjoy playing with this toy?
So many toys, so little time. Play is children's work, and toys are their tools. From a baby's first attempts to grab a rattle to a teen's mastery of the intricacies of a computer game, children learn reasoning, concentration, and motor, social, and language skills from toys. Toys can enhance curiosity and teach a child to make wise choices.
The best toys are the ones that stimulate many senses and that give a child the opportunity to make things happen. Babies take a swipe at the ball placed on the floor in front of them and discover that not only does it roll away, it makes music! They're motivated to stretch and reach and make it happen again. Blocks piled one on top of each other makes a tower toddlers can be proud of. They also enjoy the fun of knocking it down and starting over again. Toys that promote creativity in play will be enjoyed for many years to come.
When selecting toys for a child, think carefully about the toy and the child. Choose toys that are developmentally appropriate, that build on skills the child already has and provide a few challenges. What does your child enjoy playing right now? Give her the tools—the toys—that will help her do it better.
Choose toys that can be shared with friends as well as enjoyed alone. Give toys that you will enjoy playing with, and then take time to play with your child. You'll learn more about how your child thinks and feels by getting on the floor and playing with her. These memories will last a lifetime. Remember, you are the best "toy" your child could ever have.