by Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. – “Dr. Toy”
Preschool children are curious, inquisitive and have a lot of energy. Everything around them is of interest. Their vocabulary, self-expression and imagination is rapidly expanding. Their play is dramatic, creative and active.
Preschool is an important, fun, learning opportunity where your child expands social skills and practices communication skills. Observe the toys your child plays with at preschool. You can learn a lot by observing your child during play.
Take your child to your local toy store. S/he will be excited. Listen to your child as they create a “Wish List.”
To select what’s best for your child look at toys that have plenty of play value. Choose durable, long-lasting products that provide hours of fun like wooden blocks, construction playsets and puzzles.
Look for various textures, shapes, sizes and colors. Consider the materials.
• Imagine your child playing with the toy.
• Study age labeling on packaging for appropriateness.
• Children have short attention spans, even the best toy will be used only for a short time.
• Recycle toys to make the most of them.
• Products too complex are frustrating and those too easy are boring.
• Show the child how to use the product only if he needs help. It’s best to allow the child to discover.
• Toys offer the child many forms of self-expression.
If angry, your child can use a foam bat and ball, a bop bag or hand-puppets to safely express feelings and release emotions.
For creativity, s/he will benefit from clay, finger paints and crafts.
For learning, sorting shapes, sizes and weights, books and tapes are excellent.
Eye-hand skills will improve with ring toss, bean bags and different construction products.
For active play, your child will enjoy a trike and outdoor play equipment.
For indoors, select a good mix of art supplies, playsets, books and tapes.
Remember your child learns through play, so encourage lots of fun playtime and discovery,. Find enjoyable things together like games, creative and building projects.