by Stevanne Auerbach, Dr. Toy
Like most parents, you want your children to play with products that provide the best value for your investment. Toys, games, software and tapes can provide children with diverse play and learning experiences. You must select items carefully. I use Play Quotient (PQ) to describe the extent to which your child plays. The more they play the higher the PQ will be. You want to rate the value a toy provides to your child.
You can evaluate a product’s effectiveness for your child by asking the right questions.
Is the product appropriate? You want the right fit for
Will the product hold your child's interest?
Does the product match the child's age, skills and abilities?
Does your child match the age grading on the package? If the age range doesn't
match your child's, he will likely be frustrated if he uses it.
Is the product well designed? Design is key to quality.
Is it appealing?
Does the product match the packaging?
Will the product be fun to play with? Children are attracted to a product based on how it plays.
Are there any potential hazards? Safety is critically important. Small parts can be choking hazards for any child under three. Products must be unbreakable and non-toxic.
Is there a guarantee? Save your receipts. The store where you make purchases should ensure product safety, but ultimately you are responsible for what your child plays with and how she plays with it.
Will the product last a long time? Consider a products durability and versatility. Children return frequently to a product that has high play value and the more they play their own development will be improved. Blocks and LEGOS are good examples of products that offer versatility, long lasting appeal, learning and fun.
Does the product develop creativity, learning or physical skills? Children need a balance between active, educational and creative products. Find products to enhance each area.
The right product, for the right reason, at the right price, will help your child to develop a high PQ and provide the best value.