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Choose toys to make children smarter

How to choose toys to make children smarter

Your kid’s eyes light up at the sight of toys.  It seems that their attraction for toys is instinctive.  Maybe this is because toys fulfill their needs for using their imagination and their need to explore, pretend, and share.  Toys are not only fun, they can also be valuable tools to make your child smart – and they prepare them for skills needed to be an adult.

The best toy for your child is the one that he/she chooses – and it can be as simple as a cardboard box or pots and pans.  When they enjoy a toy, it provides them the greatest learning experience.  Your child is a natural learner and anything that interests him/her will teach them something.   Also, the more variety of toys they have, the happier they are, and the more diverse their learning experience will be.  They may not have access to all the toys they like, so you will have to provide some of them yourself. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when choosing toys for your smart child:

Choose toys that are developmentally appropriate for your child’s age

If it is too advanced for them, they might get frustrated with how difficult it is to play, and they will abandon it. Worse, it may even injure them.  If the toy is for a younger age, they might find it boring.

Observe your child

This helps to determine their likes, interests, their skill level, their favorite characters, etc. to know what toy they will enjoy.

Choose toys that require imagination

These are open-ended toys that leave playing to the imagination. Avoid toys that can be played in only one or a few ways.  Toys that run on your child’s imagination are better than those that run on AA batteries.  For example, a Tigger toy whose limbs your child can manipulate in endless ways is better than a Tigger toy that can only somersault.  Playing toys by making believe enables your child to test their idea about the world and helps to develop his/her creativity.  Research has shown that this also develops language skills and lengthens your child’s attention span.

Choose toys that allow your child to do something to them

Children love toys that snap together or require some form of shaping.  They improve your child’s spatial intelligence and depth of perception while at the same time, learning about shapes, colours and sizes.

Give your child a variety of toys where he/she can learn a variety of skills

  • Toys that encourage dramatic play like blocks, toy vehicles, toy animals, puppets, and props to recreate real life situations, such as a shop, help your child work out their own ideas about the world.
  • Toys that encourage manipulative play like construction sets, puzzles, and toys with interlocking pieces help your child develop small muscle control and hand-eye coordination.
  • Creative arts toys like blank pieces of paper, paints, scissors, glue, and clay encourage self-expression and the use of symbols, which are vital skills for problem-solving and literacy.
  • Toys that encourage physical activity like bikes, jump ropes, balls let your child work off energy and build strength and coordination.
  • Strategy games like card games, dominoes, chess and checkers teach your child about taking turns, planning, following rules and cooperating with teammates or opponents.

When you give your chosen toy to your child, don’t just hand it to him and then shoo him off to play

Play with your child, explain how the toy works and what’s fun about it.  Playing with your child makes them feel loved, and this enhances their learning.  Also, observe if they really get interested.  If not, the toy may be too advanced for them. Keep it until they are ready for it.

Introduce new toys one or two at a time

Too many choices overwhelm your child, especially if he/she is an infant.  Your child is more likely to make the most out of every toy and be comfortable with its familiarity if you slowly add new toys to their collection.

Make sure the toy is safe

This is especially true for your infant or very young child.  Make sure, for example, that your baby’s rattle doesn’t have holes that trap their fingers.  Children love to put toys in their mouth (as well as other holes in their body), so avoid toys that your child can swallow and choke on.  For your older child, check if toys that are designed to take his weight are sturdy and have no mechanical defects.

Store toys in such a way that your child will be stimulated to play with them

Organise them into little scenes or other creative arrangements.  Don’t just dump everything into a toy box where your child doesn’t even remember what is in there.