Simple Toys Benefit Kids the Most

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in December of 2018 saying that simple toys hold the most benefits for children. They warn parents against filling their toy box with flashing lights and gadgets.

The report is called “Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era”. It offers guidance for parents on what toys will most benefit their children’s development. The report focuses on children from birth through school age.

When walking through the toy aisle at any major store, it can be challenging to see past all of the electronic and digital toys and games available. Although these toys may be attractive to both parents and children, the AAP recommends buying simpler toys.

“Toys have evolved over the years, and advertisements may leave parents with the impression that toys with a ‘virtual’ or digital-based platform are more educational,” said Aleeya Healey, MD, FAAP, in a press release from the AAP. Healey is a lead author of the report. “Research tells us that the best toys need not be flashy or expensive or come with an app. Simple, in this case, really is better.”

Interaction and Imagination

The study emphasizes the importance of play for child development. “Play is essential to optimal child development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth,” it says.

The authors of the study also affirm that the engagement of children with their caregivers is extremely important. They say that toys can facilitate this interaction.

“The best toys are those that support parents and children playing, pretending, and interacting together,” stated Alan Mendelsohn, MD, FAAP, in the AAP’s press release. Mendelsohn is a co-author of the report and associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health at NYU Langone Health.

According to Mendelsohn, digital toys don’t provide the same benefits. Although media-based toys, like videos, computer programs, and books with voice-recorded reading, make claims to be interactive and educationally beneficial, the AAP says that these claims are unsupported.

Mendelsohn said, “You just don’t reap the same rewards from a tablet or screen. And when children play with parents – the real magic happens, whether they are pretending with toy characters or building blocks or puzzles together.”

Recommendations for Simple Toys

According to the AAP’s report, caregivers should seek out toys that facilitate “cognitive development, language interactions, symbolic and pretend play, social interactions, and physical activity.” Children can engage in pretend play with toy characters, like dolls, animals, and figures. They can also pretend with toy objects, like food, vehicles, utensils, and building. Pretend play can help children learn to use words “to imitate, describe, and cope with actual circumstances and feelings.”

Problem-solving is another aspect of child development that toys can facilitate. Children can play with blocks and puzzles to develop their fine motor skills, language and cognitive development, spatial awareness, and early math skills.

These are just a few ways that simple toys can aid in children’s development and is not an exhaustive list. What the AAP emphasizes most is that children’s skills develop best when they play with their parents and other caregivers. So pull up your sleeves and grab some toy food. Get ready to engage your own imagination to help your child develop theirs!

Source from: Healthy-Holistic-Living