Choosing the Best Toys When You Play with Your Children
Do you find it hard to make time to play with your children? Then when you do find the time, you just grab anything and start playing? In this fast-paced world, we function in it can be so difficult to make time to play with your children. Our kids are bombarded with toy selection from blocks to flashing, beeping toys. Toy selection can influence child development so picking the best toys when you play with your children is important.
I know this all too well with a family of six children. I spend my days working, cooking, cleaning, laundering and frequently chauffeuring. Our youngest two children sometimes have to literally take a back seat while the older kids get a ride back and forth to school for sports, band, play, chorus, etc. (which thankfully is only just over a mile away). For example, yesterday my three-year-old had to spend four hours with us at various doctor’s offices while his sister was diagnosed with an ankle fracture. Let me tell you it was a rough day.
It would have been so much easier for me to toss a tablet his way for those 4 hours and let him zone out. The tablet would help him to sit still in the office and be quiet in the car as we rode from place to place. Instead, I took the opportunity to use that time to play with him. At home, that time is not always available. Sitting in a waiting room, I have zero distractions (thankfully my daughter was not in a significant amount of pain). These are the times that my bag of toys gets utilized the most. Was I able to withhold the tablet the entire time? Nope, I surrendered in the end during the fourth hour but was impressed I made it that long.
Research indicates that the mother-child interaction is significantly higher when they are playing with non- electronic toys. It is shown on all four dimensions of mother-child interaction: affection, maternal responsiveness, encouragement and teaching. Non-electronic toys are made of wood, paper, plastic, and other materials that are not operated by electronic equipment and are also related to traditional games, multipurpose, and unstructured play.
The next time you find a window of opportunity to sit and play with your child try choosing non-electronic toys. Here are 10 of the best toys for when you play with your children:
- wooden blocks
- interlocking blocks – ie Duplo and LEGO
- drawing/coloring – I always carry a small pad of paper and crayons in my pocketbook. It is amazing how many games you can play with paper and pencil.
- puzzles – paper puzzle activities or traditional puzzles
- toy cars – ie matchbox, hot wheels, etc
- baby dolls
- play food
- wooden toy trains
- dollhouse or character play sets
- balls to toss around
Reference: Hildayani, R., Savitri, L. S. Y., Dwyniaputeri, A., Tertia, D. V., Wukiranuttama, R., & Gracia, T. (2018). Electronic vs non-electronic toys: Which one is better for mother-child interaction?. Diversity in Unity: Perspectives from Psychology and Behavioral Sciences.
Growing Play offers many choices for non-electronic toy play. View many of our titles below.