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Pediatrician Offers Tips for Choosing the
Best Toys for the Holidays

(ARA) - As the 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 experts.

“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 tips:

* 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 www.littletikes.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

 


 

 

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