Finding the right toys for your preschooler can be a tough task, but keeping these tips in mind will make sure your child is on the path to fun, creativity and education.
Point blank. Take the guesswork out of gift giving by setting a toy catalogue in front of your child and asking him to circle what he’d like. Even if you don’t want to get him exactly what he’s requested, you’ll have an idea of the types of toys he’ll enjoy. When you don't want to get him the specific item he requests, you might be able to find something comparable doing a simple Google search. Simple communication goes a long way.
Sure, those frilly little Barbie dolls are looking pretty cute, but what can your child learn from them? Some parents have no qualms with toys that promote strong gender roles, while others only offer unisex toys in their home. No matter your stance, be sure you’re choosing educational opportunities over simple gender-friendly play. Toys like Lego Duplo sets, which merge Lego construction with favorite children’s characters into one educational world, allow children to construct their own world alongside Disney princesses, trains, cars, farm animals and more. They learn about gravity, architecture and more while still feeling all-boy or all-girl.
It has been a long time since you were a preschooler, so it might be difficult to put yourself in your own preschooler's shoes. After all, you’d never swallow that piece of plastic. But curious little minds use their mouths as an extension of their “touch” sense. When considering a new toy purchase, think about its potential hazards. Can pieces of the toy wind up in wind pipes and ear canals? Is the toy more suitable for a few years down the road when your child has learned the concept of keeping safe? If so, it might be better to be safe than sorry.
Kids have tremendous imaginations. Get those brains thinking creatively by furnishing toys that allow them to express themselves. Whether you fill up a trunk with dress-up clothes or invest in an easel for your little artist, giving your child the tools to be herself will allow her to become more confident in her abilities and let the right side of her brain roam free.
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