Pediatrician Offers Tips for Choosing the
Best Toys for the Holidays
holidays grow near and your little ones start making their wish
lists, the pressure is on to select a gift that kids will continue
to love after the decorations have come down. Toys that promote
open-ended, unstructured play are always a good choice, according to
“Unstructured play is a child’s work,” says Dr.
Alan Greene, M.D., pediatrician and medical expert of the popular
book, “The Parent’s Soup A-Z Guide to Your Toddler.”
“It’s how kids learn and grow. So when it comes
to picking out toys this holiday season, parents should look for
items that can stimulate imagination, creativity and role-playing,”
says Dr. Greene. These particular toy attributes help children gain
independence and self-esteem, encourage resourcefulness and can even
help reduce stress.”
The Little Tikes Company surveyed more than 1,000
parents of children aged 18 months to 6 years to get their thoughts
on play. The study revealed that two-thirds of moms and dads (67
percent) believe that it is very important to experience
unstructured playtime each day, opposed to planned activities, such
as sports practice, music lessons or dance class. And while most
parents understand the benefits of imaginative play, many don’t
understand that unstructured playtime is critical for learning. Only
51 percent of parents cited “helps with learning” as a key benefit
of imaginative play, versus 81 percent who identified it as the
biggest benefit of structured play or planned activities.
How do you select a toy that will be both fun and
beneficial for your child’s development? Dr. Greene offers a few
* Let Kids Express Themselves: Toys that promote
open-ended play allow children to stretch their imaginations. Toy
trucks, such as Little Tikes new Handle Haulers and Rugged Riggz
lines, offer children the opportunity to express their imaginations
as they explore different roles and scenarios.
* Make Sense-able Choices: Children should play
with toys that stimulate their senses. Kids learn about their
environments through tastes, textures, smells and sight with sensory
activities. The Little Tikes Tunes & Tales Story Lantern stimulates
the senses of young children through vibrant colors and lively
recorded songs and stories.
* Promote Playing Together: Look for toys that
build social skills and encourage interaction with family and
friends. Kids will learn cooperation, respect for others and how to
work as a team.
* Help Kids Get Physical: Toys that encourage
physical play, such as crawling, hopping, pushing and running, help
kids develop balance and strong muscles while keeping them active
and healthy. With the number of overweight children on the rise,
physical exercise is a critical part of any child’s play routine.
Toys such as the Little Tikes Goofy Giggles Remote Control or Wide
Tracker Activity Walker get even the youngest kids moving.
* Aim for Age-Appropriateness: Pay attention to
the age group recommended on the toy’s package. Playing with toys
best suited for a child’s age and developmental levels helps
eliminate boredom and frustration.
* Buy What’s Built to Last: Select toys from
well-known manufacturers with a reputation for quality products. Not
only will you get your money’s worth when a toy lasts for years, you
also won’t have to worry about safety hazards.
Little Tikes toys are available at major
retailers across the United States. For a complete list of Little
Tikes holiday toys and where you can find them, visit
Courtesy of ARA Content