As the tendency to label toys because"educational" continues to rise, parents may wonder whether the hype associated with these types of toys is authentic and if they are worth the money. Below are five tips from education and toy experts on what to consider when selecting an educational toy to your child:
The tie between education and toys has ever existed but with the ongoing wave of high-technology educational toys, so lots of the toys teachers and parents used to associate learning may no longer be recognized for their instructional value. "The best toys are easy and open minded," says Ellen Wild, chairperson of the Early Childhood Program in Dutchess Community College.
Wild suggests giving kids crayons, markers and plain paper, along with ribbons and envelopes to encourage considering writing. mr immortal points to blocks, Legos, and manipulatives (believe: stacking toys, shape sorters) to help build small muscles in the palms and fingers in anticipation of composing and also to help with perceptual motor abilities. Wild states she does see children which were entertained also solely by toys and electronics with"bells and whistles". "Many of these children have not heard persistence, an ability to focus without being entertained," says Wild,"(They) haven't enjoyed being creative on their own and are not excited by books and learning."
READ MORE: The argument on educational toys
Individualize your approach
"Toys are resources in creating the learning environment," says Natasha Kravchenko, representative of Educational Toys Planet, an internet merchant since 2002. Kravchenko says it is important to pick the ideal toy for the child's particular age, interest or period. And to not purchase exactly what you would like or what you wanted as a child except to purchase the toy that suits your child's personality. She proposes thinking about which toys will make your child want to discover something new, enhance their abilities, and encourage independent learning. "You can assess consumer's reviews and producer's era recommendations, but your choice should mostly depend on your kid," says Kravchenko,"not other people's opinion regarding the toy."
Go to the land of make believe
"The best toys are those that foster creativity and pretend play," states Nancy Werner, Kindergarten teacher in Traver Road School in Pleasant Valley. "These toys also develop with the child and they are able to use them for many purposes."
Werner, who has a four-year old, suggests dress up clothes, play food and dolls to foster imagination, production of language and stories that lead to reading comprehension and writing skills. She also recommends creative games that be performed adults or other children, like Candy Land, for growing counting, cooperation, turn taking and problem solving.
READ MORE: Toys to encourage learning
Parents should be careful about the promises made by educational toy advertisements. "Children's development can not be hastened," says Jim Taylor, Ph. D, Psychology, author of"Your Children are Under Attack: How Popular Culture is Destroying Your Kids' Values, and How You Can Protect Them." "Children can only develop at the pace they are capable."
Taylor says that trying to speed up a child's development can actually slow down it because kids are made to do things for which they are not developmentally ready. The outcome is that children are prevented from doing what they ought to be doing at their stage of growth.
"It's more important to have conversations with children and ask them questions to help them explain and believe than to invest countless dollars on a toy or video that will be only a 1 way'dialog'," says Werner.
Werner and Wild both point to novels, either bought or borrowed, as being one of the best educational assets your child can own. And one of the greatest tools parents can use to educate their children. "One of the very best educational'toys' for a child is an adult who spends time talking, studying, and appreciating the marvels of the world with (them)," says Wild.