5 Questions to consider before purchasing a toy.

1) Why are you buying it?

If your answer is entertainment, then consider if it’s the best option for that. Toys can be cute, fun and also provide additional value.  A good toy can encourage your child to problem-solve, focus, think creatively, promote a motor milestone or enhance coordination. In other words, consider if the toy you're purchasing will inspire or challenge your child to grow?

2) Is it a toy that will interest your child?

So many families have toys lying around the house that their children just don’t play with. I’m not talking about the toys that may not catch a child’s attention at first. Certain toys like blocks and board games require the initial assistance from an adult to become engaging, and that’s completely normal. What I'm referring to are toys that come with several colorful buttons that a child will likely not want to press more than a few times.

3) Will it grow with your child?

Certain toys like magnetic construction sets, blocks and board games can be played with for years and still be relevant. There are board games that come with multiple game ideas depending on a child’s age and ability. These are the types of toys to pay attention to. Before buying a toy ask yourself if it can still be applicable in years to come?

4) Does your child need it?

Many toys directed at children are very similar. If your child already has a few types of puzzles, consider a strategy game or a hidden picture book. Exposing kids to novel experiences and learning opportunities are essential for development.

5) Is it age appropriate?

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that more challenging toys or activities will have kids reaping the benefits and learning new material quicker. However, children need to be developmentally ready to learn certain tasks. If they're not, it can only frustrate and discourage them. By jumping ahead, kids may miss out on learning opportunities that they are ready for. So contrary to what we may believe, children do not need to be taught the ABC’s at 2. Don’t worry they will still learn to read.:)

helen sadovsky