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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Raising Einstein without TV

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By Grace Chen

As an informed parent, you know that there is a toy box full of new toys for sale every day. Did you know that each year the market introduces about 2,000 new toys? Swimming through this array of toys can be difficult, and choosing the best toy for your child’s development can be even more monumental.

All of the “latest and greatest” birthday and Christmas “must-buys” for your children typically revolve around electronic toys and video games. However, are these toys good for your children? How do they compare to the classic toys that have been time-tested?

Leading academics spoke to The National Literacy trust, explaining that children are being stripped of their natural creativity by structured activities and hi-tech toys. Traditional puzzles, blocks and other durable, classic games are far better for children's learning than high-tech educational toys and videos, experts have revealed.

In The Daily Mail, Professor Hirsh-Pasek warned that parents are increasingly substituting healthy, educational activities – such as playing with durable, classic educational toys, or playing with other children – for the easier option of placing them in front of computers or videos.

Psychologists are warning that many electronic games might actually restrict children's progress by stifling their creativity and hindering their social skills. American child development expert Professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek believes youngsters spend too long in front of television and computer screens when they could be playing with basic toys. In a new book titled Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, she claims that so-called “smart” toys fail to teach children to play imaginatively.

With so many toy options, a savvy parent can learn to navigate the hype of toy ads and still get to the top of the toy box.

Here are some tips for choosing the best toy for your child’s mental, emotional and physical development. These examples are for children ages 5-12.

  • Choose toys that require cognitive thinking skills to operate. Cognitive skills means the child has to view, study, decide, act and test his interaction with the game using motor skills and thought.


  • Choose toys that are durable and classic themed. Classic themed means that a child does not have to watch a particular T.V. show to understand the game, or theme. (Your child can play tic-tac-toe using cognitive skills learned from you, not from T.V.)


  • The best toys are those that combine moving parts with a mechanical conclusion and your child’s motor-skill interaction.

The best toys can be researched on the internet too. That’s a high tech way to find the best classic, high value, high learning content toys that your child will enjoy.

Remember, your child’s educational toys will be the most fun a kid can have – and his brain will thank you for it too!





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