Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things to Consider before buying a toy

Kids are always abuzz with excitement during this time of the year. For very understandable reasons—the season just teems with activities for both the old and the youngsters. And the first week of December usually signals the start of many Christmas parties with co-workers, friends and family. But have you finished your Christmas shopping? If not, read on.

When it comes to giving gifts, Professor Mary Joyce Dumlao, a Child Developmental Specialist from the University of the Philippines Family Life and Child Development says that age appropriate and toy guidelines on the toy’s label must be followed. If the box stated that a particular toy is not intended for children below 3 years old, then so be it.
  • No small parts for children to avoid swallowing and choking.
  • Make sure there are no hinges that could pinch or hurt tiny fingers.
  • Many stuffed toys can cause allergies.
For Pre-school aged children, encourage their senses:
  • Eyes—colorful, different shapes and sizes.
  • Ears—different sounds, high and low, loud and soft
  • Hands and feet—feely and touchy objects with different textures.
Playtime must always be supervised time. Watch out for the following:
  • Mouthing—paint should be lead-free and nontoxic.
  • Biting—parts do come off.
  • Swallowing—parts are not small enough.
  • Throwing—parts do not break into objects in the house.
  • Hitting—toys do not hurt or injure.
Children are starting to play with other children, so teach them proper attitude. For group play, always keep more than one toy of the same kind. This way, when one kid likes to play with a ball, the other kid can also play a ball without waiting for his or her turn to play it.

School Aged Children—Recommended toys for discovery and independence.

· Manipulative toys—building blocks, puzzles

· Dramatic play toys—cooking, selling, dolls

· Balls—develop gross motor and fine motor skills (introduce sports)

· Bikes, scooters—develop balance, large muscles

· Outdoor games—develop proper behavior in group games and following rules.

Before buying:

· Look for warnings and other safety measures on toy packaging.

· Avoid toys with sharp points or edges.

· Make sure small parts of larger toys can’t break off, wheels are properly attached.

· NEVER buy children toy knives, swords, weapons, darts, arrows and stuffed toys with loose body parts ex. Loose eyes, nose, buttons, threads as well as firecrackers or fireworks. (Danger: poisoning, choking, and possible injuries like blindness, cuts, burns and bruises.)

· Read carefully all instructions. Teach your child proper use of toys. Example: bike, remote control, puzzles, electronic gadgets, throw away all toy packaging

such as plastic, cellophane, staple wires and Styrofoam. Teach your child to learn how to pack away his or her toys once done playing.

Examine toys regularly for signs of wear and tear. Throw away broken toys.

God bless and happy shopping!

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