The Best Advice on Children's Products

What’s Right for Older Kids

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by Stevanne Auerbach, Dr. Toy

Between ages nine and eleven, children experience rapid social maturation and physical growth. They are in transition. As they grow older, their interests grow more sophisticated. Despite the changes, they still need to have a good balance of activities at home, school, and play. At this age, friends have a significant influence on a child. However, with your encouragement, their talents and interests will expand.

Older children like to make things, work on projects, and see results of their efforts. Gift ideas include hobbies, crafts, or construction sets. They like computers, cameras, typewriters, robots, and scientific materials. Other possible gifts include sports and creative arts equipment, stuffed animals, and collections. Also consider books, board and video games, and a variety of tapes.

This is the time for children to discover and expand their interests and talents. They can pursue music, art, dance, and writing. Their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time will be reflected in their interests after school. Provide time for them to spend alone and to be productive discovering and practicing their talents and skills.

Your child at this age will find these types of toys appealing depending on their interests and experiences:

Arts – pens, paints, clay and other art supplies
Baton – cheerleading can be a very active outlet
Binoculars – bird watching is a terrific hobby
Books – love of reading lasts a lifetime
Camera – taking photos is a fun hobby and can lead to a career
Camping equipment – managing in the outdoors gives confidence and appreciation of nature
CDs – and tapes, build an interest in music, which nutures the soul
Chemistry sets – can unveil a talent for science
Computer - always a practical and valuable tool for learning
Construction sets – some children enjoy building projects for a long time, even into adulthood.
Crafts – learning to make things is satisfying and the creation can become a great gift.
Exercise tapes – help children to be more active and healthier
Flower press - fun hobby and a way to learn about nature
Juggling sets – helps with eye-hand coordination and better balance
Kites – always a delightful way to spend a windy day out of doors
Oil-painting – explore the value of art and learn more about painting
Papermaker – can be a great way to learn how paper is created
Pets – when the child can handle the responsibility, a pet can be a greatly rewarding experience
Sports equipment - sports activity every day keeps children physically fit
Stuffed animals – enjoyed by all ages
Telescope - explore the vastness of the stars
Workbench and tools – learning new skills and building things gains confidence and satisfies
Yo-Yo – fun for all ages

Children will find products by the following companies interesting: Action Products, Alex, B. Dazzle, Discovery Toys, Educational Insights, Channel Products, Folkmanis, Leap Frog, Learning Resources, LEGO, MegaBloks, Owi, Tangle Toys, University Games, VTech and Wham-O and Wild Planet. You will find more specifics on companies and products on Dr. Toy’s Guide www.drtoy.com.

Children appreciate positive alternatives. When children are constructively occupied, they are happier, more satisfied, and more productive at home and in school. Reading, playing games, flying a kite, throwing a Frisbee, and engaging in a hobby help make them smarter, more social, and more self-confident.

Friends and individual pursuits are important, but as children grow older, they also need time to interact with their parents. So find some fun group activities to do together-ones that allow everyone to win. Play is the smart way to learn. Through play children learn best.

My book, Smart Play/Smart Toys, will provide more details on products that are best for older children. Let’s play!

Let’s play!

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