Throughout the year, we see advertisements for children’s toys. These advertisements are on television, on the radio and in print, both in magazines and in the newspaper.
Of course the amount and intensity of these ads is multiplied the last few months of each year. Our experience has often been that many toys are just fads. They are promoted in a way that children are just begging to receive them, and then once received, they are often discarded after just a few uses.
Over they years, I have often opted for toys that encourage creativity or thinking. For example, we’ve always owned word games. We’ve owned Scrabble, Boggle and Word Yahtzee, both the adult versions and the children’s versions. These games have helped my children develop a love of words. My older daughter can not be beat at Boggle. I laugh that no one will play Boggle with her, as no one can win against her.
When my kids were young we owned blocks, Duplos and Lego. Building and creating are wonderful activities for children. My kids created all types of structures. They built homes for their dolls. They would follow patterns and build robot type figures and they would just create made up structures with no real definition. They loved building and creating. When they were old enough we bought the iron on bead designs and again they would create and create. They made magnets and bookmarks galore.
Crossword puzzle books, logic puzzle books and word find books have also always been very popular in our home. Of course these types of books are for older kids, not the under 5 group. We also always bought many workbooks, which both of my kids loved to sit and work on. Under 5, we bought a lot of shapes and counting games. Both of my kids loved Candy Land. They had to match their color cards to the space on the board. They could play this for hours upon hours. We also loved the game Sorry. Reading numbers and counting spaces was fun when they were young.
Over the years we have purchased hundreds of reading books. We actually discovered used book stores when the kids were young because we just couldn’t keep them in books. As the kids learned to read, they went through every book the library had that kids could read themselves. They read everything we had bought them and so we began visiting the used book store. Any gift giving holiday the kids knew they could expect at least a couple of books.
My final suggestion is an assortment of age appropriate art supplies. You can buy crayons, markers and paints. As my kids got older they also began loving rubber stamps. They loved making their own cards and wrapping paper with rubber stamps.
We almost always skipped the newest advertised fad and instead chose the educational and creative toys on the market.
Audrey Okaneko has been working at home since 1983. She can be reached at email@example.com or visited at http://www.scrapping-made-simple.com .