The array of toys currently available in the market — both in brick-and-mortar shops and online stores — can be quite bewildering. Should you go for a Wii or an xbox 360 or a PSP? Should you buy a remote-controlled toy car or one of those electronic pets?
When buying toys for your kids (or your friend’s kids…or your niece or nephew), my advice to you is: buy a toy that will feed a child’s imagination. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Your best bets would be Lego, wooden blocks, MegaBloks, ZOOB, and all other toys that can be used to make or build anything and everything. Children will never tire of these toys and will encourage them to use their imagination.
Another good choice would be cooking toys. A lot of people wouldn’t even think about getting such toys for boys, but I never gave it a second thought and have always allowed my twins to play with them. I mean, what’s the big deal? Most chefs are men anyway.
A less controversial choice for boys would be toy cars. Not the expensive, battery-operated type — anything with wheels will do but just make sure it’s made of sturdy material. Toy cars go together very well with wooden blocks. The kids will make bridges and roads and gates using the blocks, then let the cars go over, under and through them. And just as I allow my twin boys to play with cooking toys, I also buy toy cars for OnlyGirl.
Modelling clay or Play-Doh are also excellent choices but they tend to be quite messy, especially if you have rugs in your home, so kids need more supervision when playing with them.
Why the stress on feeding their imagination? So that they’ll learn to think for themselves, to be creative, to be spontaneous. So that on those days when there’s no TV, no computer, no video games, nor toys, they can still find a way to amuse themselves.
My bigger children, for instance, on days when the computer is down or when heavy rain interferes with TV reception, they amuse themselves with their own made-up game involving Pokemon but armed only with pencils, a few pieces of paper and their imagination.
And ever since I introduced Lego Duplo and wooden blocks to my twins, I can finally have time to work on my blog posts or check email while they play in a corner. Like earlier this evening. While I was browsing my friends’ updates on Facebook, they were busy creating castles and bridges with their blocks.
When on a road trip, I can entertain the kids by pointing out clouds with interesting shapes. They actually try to out-do each other in their interpretation of those shapes.
Children learn through play so take this opportunity to mould those young minds with your choice of toys for them!