Surely in this summer time some toy has joined the collection we have at home. Many toys are stimulating for children and develop their abilities while entertaining them. However, there are certain questions we should ask ourselves before buying a toy.
We often forget that free play, without toys, or using as a toy any object that does not pose a danger to them, is as much or more fun and educational than traditional (or modern) toys. We can also fall into the error of buying without asking certain questions.
That is why we present these ten questions, a more or less relevant decalogue depending on who looks at it, and not with the objective that buying a toy becomes a matter of State, but in order to ask ourselves reflect on toys, its function and need.
Does the child want the toy or do we buy it for pleasure? If the child has not asked for the toy, it may not interest him or not. It does not mean that we only buy the toys he asks for, nor that we continuously buy him toys without asking for them: he will quickly get used to having everything. The balance, the dosage, the saving, are important values in the times that run. And let's not forget the free and symbolic game that do not need toys.
Is the toy suitable for its age? Not all toys are valid for all children, but there are recommended toys for every age. If we ignore the recommendations that come on the packaging, we may be putting children in danger, or we may cause them to show no interest in it.
Does it meet the necessary quality and safety requirements? Let's make sure that the toy is homologated, it bears the CE seal that indicates that the toy complies with European safety regulations. However, despite the controls established in the European Union and most countries, it is still possible that dangerous toys reach the market. Let's watch for any irregularity or danger and check the condition of the toy before giving it to the child. Always keep in mind the safety recommendations.
Will you use it frequently or sporadically? We are not fortune tellers, but intuition often works on this issue. It doesn't make much sense if we think, from the beginning, that he might not like that toy or that it will leave him cornered in a short time. It is also important to see if you can use it at any time and place or have specific mounting or volume needs that hinder that usual use. In this sense, we can also ask ourselves: Do you have any similar toys? Do you have fun? Do not try too similar toys, let alone if it is not entirely to the child's liking. Accumulating useless toys is not economical, ecological or supportive.
What skills do you favor, physical, motor and / or psychic? Any toy stimulates the senses and creativity of children, but if we are looking for the predominance of one or another skill, there are more or less suitable toys (always taking into account that we will not put a baby to join puzzle pieces). Although this may be a less important point, we don't have to forget about the fun.
Is its price reasonable? Consume for consumption does not positively affect the pockets or the message we transmit to our children. Brands or fashions can be factors that increase the price of a toy. We can choose between "white marks" toys with the same characteristics. We can compare prices between stores to verify that the price is not excessive.
In the case of elements to play in a group, Do they favor cooperation or competitiveness? Is it possible to give them a nuance of collaboration? Group toys are excellent for enhancing social skills, but you have to be aware of insane competitiveness and try to show that since childhood, children show a taste for playing, respect for other players and sportsmanship if they lose.
Does it promote the development of their intellectual, emotional, relational abilities and creativity? This topic interests us if we are looking for something specific for our children. Ideally, a toy that facilitates all these elements, but we must not stick to them either. We may like the toy because it has made us funny. Go ahead, let's not wait to read the exhibits of the packaging on the qualities (sometimes, in my opinion, exaggerated) of each toy. Toys do not create geniuses or super powers, and their benefits can be achieved with other elements.
Do they reproduce sexist stereotypes? Toys for boys and toys for girls are common, when in fact, and you have probably checked, many times they themselves are indistinctly interested in toys "awarded" to the other genre if they are within reach. It is not natural that pink or kitchens are for girls and blue or cars for boys (although there may be some genetic predisposition for some toys, but it is not decisive). By facilitating "unisex" games and toys, we are contributing not to perpetuate sexist stereotypes in future generations.
Is it a war toy? War toys are quite successful traditionally (especially for children), although in some places they are prohibited. Consider that a gun, a sword, a bomb, normalize a message of violence. And yes, weapons are very present every day in these times, but they don't stop hurting.
In conclusion, we remember that toys are a great way to develop skills, build relationships and strengthen bonds, but no toy is worth any price. In this sense it is important to adopt a critical attitude towards the advertising of toys, or not be passive to the irregularities that we observe.
Photos | meddygarnet and carlosfpardo on Flickr-CC In Babies and more | Pediatricians recommend not giving away more than three toys, Avoid excessive consumption on Kings Day