“What Toy Do I buy?” debate

“What Toy Do I buy?” debate

Choosing a good toy for your child or as a gift is like picking a needle from a haystack. There are tens of thousands of products available both online and in-store. All these choices make it painfully difficult to decide and almost spoil the fun of buying a toy. I want to make this easier for you so you can enjoy the toy journey as much as your child enjoys the toy. In this blog, I want to share with you some of the thought processes I go through when choosing a toy for a child. I'm sure by the end of this blog, you will have a better idea of what to buy for any birthdays or celebrations that may be coming up.

  1. How old is the child?

The stage of development has an impact on how and what the child plays with. For example, 0 - 6 month old babies explore with their mouths and later begin to bring their hands toward their mouths. The babies' visual focus is not yet developed, but this is developing fast, so if you want to impress, choose toys that stimulate the child at the age of development they are at. Sensory Tumbling is a cute little toy that encourages tactile exploration and enables a whole hand grasp. The round shape makes them safe to play with, even if they get a bit of a nibble or chew. The bright, primary coloured rims encourage visual focus. When Sensory Tumbling goes for a roll along the mat, it promotes visual tracking, making it a clever choice for baby shower gifts or 1st birthdays.

On the other hand, children aged 3 are much more confident with their manipulation of tools. They enjoy exploring the different ways to use their hands. The Hammering Game is an excellent example of this. As they improve motor coordination, they can aim and hit the other targets more accurately and then enjoy watching the balls roll away. 

Check upcoming blogs for more information on age and stage and which toys are best suited. 

2. How long can the child use the toy?

I find buying clothes for children quite disappointing because they outgrow the gorgeous little outfits so quickly. So, when I buy toys or equipment for a child, I think about how long they will be able to play or use the gift. 

Open-ended toys tend to have more prolonged use because they can be used in many different ways. Children may play with the toy at the age of 2 years and a few months later no longer want to play with it. But at age 3 1/2 years, they have learned new ways to use the toy, so it is plucked from the dusty storage racks and ignites hours of fun. A tremendous open-ended toy is the Road system. Constructing the road system may be an initial interest, but this develops into imaginary and pretend play as the child's play develops. 

Pretend play items also tend to get more prolonged use. My First Camera is a great example. Children may play with the camera in their pretend play games of photographing items in the house and garden. Still, with every new environment they visit, the camera provides further opportunities for active exploration and curiosity. Consider packing the camera with you when you go to the park or take the dog for a walk. Imagine all the exploring that can take place when you pack the camera to visit a farm or take a weekend trip somewhere. 

If you want longevity in your purchase, an open-ended toy is your best bet. But if re-gifting and passing down games and toys are essential in your friendship circle or family, then a closed-ended game is a strong contender. The Creative Geoboard is an excellent closed-ended educational game that can be passed down from family to family. 

3. Active vs. quiet play

I'm a huge fan of active play. As a child, TV and video games frustrated me because it was too passive. My mood would change, and I would become grumpy, angry, or irritable. This led to annoying behaviours like moaning, whining, and repetitive behaviours that drove my family mad! Active play is an essential part of every day to ensure our children are regulated, enabling a more peaceful living environment for all. 

The Golf set is a great way to encourage active play. It is suitable indoors and outdoors, making it a great choice no matter the weather. You can also create more obstacles for your putt by using boxes or items around the yard. 

4. Do I get excited about the toy?

There are so many toys out there, but so many are just placated with primary colours, a battery, and some flashing lights and noise. It is eye-catching but once your eye is on it, developing ideas of what to do with it comes up blank. When I choose a toy as a gift for a child, I consider all the ways I could play with it. If I can come up with at least 3 different ways to play with it, then I feel assured that children will come up with more ideas. The Gardening bucket & tool set excites me because it is more than just a bucket and tools. The bucket is also a grower, which provides the opportunity to grow your first plant. The tools can be used to dig tunnels through which my toy cars can drive, and the watering can may be used to create rain for my dolls. And just like that, the gardening set is added to my cart and shipped for the birthday happening on 27 September. 

Choosing a toy should be fun but finding the right one in a very busy marketplace can make choosing difficult. Remember that toys are an accessory to play, they should not distract from active play; instead, toys should complement the play. 

Shop here to impress anyone, young and old!

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