The Best Toys for Your Tots

There are two kinds of gift-givers during the holiday season. There are those who prepare everything in advance, have presents wrapped and under the tree the day they set it up, everything shipped out already for friends and family, and personalized cards sent out December 1st. And then there are those like me: wondering who I forgot, where I can get some cards last minute, and at 2 am on December 21st waking in a sweat realizing I forgot my brother and hoping they can ship that fleece out 2 day-shipping already gift-wrapped.

For those like me who still have shopping to do, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a statement last week offering guidance on what kinds of toys are most appropriate for children. A link that offers great advise on how to choose those toys is here: What to Look for in a Toy

The take away from the article is this: flashy electronic toys that engage a child through a screen or app are not the ones you should reach for off the toy shelves. It may seem counter-intuitive, but old-school toys, ones that foster pretend and imaginative play, symbolic play, problem solving and social interaction, and get kids moving, are the ones that lead to growth in development and skills. Think back to your childhood (if you’re as old as I am, think ’80s), with Legos and Lincoln Logs, Barbie Dolls and dollhouses, cars and trucks and build-your-own racetracks. Those were the best! The other more subtle takeaway, and in truth the more important message, is that the best toys should support play between children and their parents and caregivers, encouraging imaginative and pretend play for the whole family.

Here’s to a happy gift-giving season for all!

-Dr. Meg