Like all good parents, we know the importance of mental development in our children. Children are a blank canvas, ready for input and knowledge. You have to teach your children because they do not have the ability and patience to teach themselves. The problem is not having a lot of patience if the child wants to do other things or they get distracted from the learning experience.

All children want to learn but don’t want to sit there for a long period of time. Having fun while learning will compel the child to want to learn more. Try putting a toy and some educational material next to a child. Most of the time, the child will go for the toy and won’t even care about the educational material sitting next to them. So what do you do when you try to teach your child and all they want to do is play with the toy?

Educational toys are a great way to introduce the learning material and fun of the toy at the same time. The child will think “toy”, but will be having fun learning at the same time. Toys can teach them ABC’s, 1-2-3’s, shapes, colors and other essential motor skills. They are also very helpful with mental development for the child. Educational toys bridge the gap between learning material and the fun aspect of a toy.

Tips for Easier Toy Shopping

Finding a toy for your child or a gift for another child can seem like a little bit of a hassle sometimes. Keep these five steps in mind to make your shopping experience a little easier:

  1. Age appropriate – Look at the manufacturer’s suggested age grading on the products as a starting place. This labeling is based upon developmental milestones of children. In addition, toys are tested to meet the safety standards at different age levels.
  2. Open-ended playtime – Select toys that allow for this type of play since it encourages developing imaginations. Children learn about themselves and their environment through play in general; open-ended play lets children be creative and act out various scenarios as they express themselves.
  3. Don’t give into the hype! - What’s hot now may not be hot next week so look for a toy that will engage your child. A toy, regardless if it is THE hot toy or not, is a better toy if the child’s interest is there to go get it back out of the toy box again and again.
  4. Interests – Choose toys that suit the child’s interests. Does he or she like music? Maybe a toy piano or rhythm sticks would be ideal. Does he or she like games or activities? Then how about a river-crossing jungle adventure game or a picture book with puzzles and games inside.
  5. Classic play patterns – Based upon age and interest, you can’t go wrong with a classic toy such as blocks, puzzles, dolls, cars, etc. Just remember the toys you played with when you were a kid and try to find a modern-day replacement.

Most importantly, if you still have doubts, then don’t be afraid to ask for help! When shopping at a local toy store, feel free to ask a salesperson for his or her recommendations. Even if you don’t choose the suggested product, you can discover what other children that age are enjoying and purchasing.

Remember, it’s all about LEARNING and FUN!