Everyone has seen those “Top Ten Hot Toys” lists that run continuously this time of year. My recommendation — ignore them!
Each child, each family, is different. With the thousands and thousands of toys on the market, that top ten toy list is a really tempting short cut, but with just a little more thought, you can find the perfect gift that will last.
Here is a list of the nine qualities of a good toy that will help you create your own “Top Ten Toy” list:
Nine Qualities of a Good Toy
- Longevity: How many different ways can a child play with the toy?
- Scalability: How will a child play with the toy as he/she gets older? What ways can a caregiver add play value to the toy?
- Quality: How well is the toy made? How will it stand up to normal play?
- Creativity: How much imaginative input does the toy encourage?
- Peer: For school-age kids especially in the “trendy” toy category, stick to ones that have a social component with peers whether it is trading, collecting or sharing.
- Educational: What developmental milestones does the toy address? The educational value of a toy is much more than just ABCs and 123s. It also comprises such things as cause/effect, sensory exploration, negotiation with peers or siblings, fine and gross motor skill development, and spatial relationships.
- Expandability: Are there additional pieces or items that can be added on for additional play value?
- Play Patterns: Watch the child play and see what play patterns he/she is drawn to. Does the child have an affinity towards building things, an obsession with things with wheels, or the desire to paint and draw?
- Consult Knowledgeable Sales People: Visit your local, independent, toy store to help clarify the toy’s qualities and discover other unique alternatives.
Now go out and make your own top ten toy list!
Full disclosure: Cheeky Monkey Toys is a sponsor of this blog.