An important occupation for children is play. Children learn about the world and themselves through play. Toys are the tools of play. The right toy can engage a child’s sense of curiosity, creativity, and imagination. Play with toys also help children develop physically, mentally, and socially. Occupational therapy practitioners are experts in promoting participation in activity, including play. The following checklist was developed by occupational therapy practitioners to assist you in selecting toys that can help your child learn and develop while having fun.
Is the toy safe and age appropriate?
Suggested age range:
He or she may get bored quickly if the age range is too “young” for your child.
Kid might get frustrated and give up If a toy is too “old”. Toys that are too “old” could also pose a safety risk due to small parts that can become choking hazards.
Is the toy durable?
Is the toy washable? Will it still work after many months of heavy use? If parts or pieces are lost or broken, how much will it cost to replace them?
The toy can be played in many ways
Toys that can promote your child’s creativity offer limitless possibilities.
Blocks can be built into towers and walls, knocked down and knocked down on them, lined up to make trains, trace on paper to make squares, and can even replace food for play in the kitchen.
The toy attracts several senses
A child’s attention can attract, multi-colored toys with sounds, lights, different textures, and parts that move. These toys are usually easy to use, invite children to play in new ways, and encourage them to play longer without becoming frustrated.
An activity cube encourages children to play with the bead maze, pushbuttons, open doors, or put shapes into the shape sorter—without moving to another toy or losing interest.
The toy can be used in more than one place
Easy-to-carry toys and storage allow playing anywhere.
Color paints, markers, and writing boards are great for traveling or to a restaurant and help kids develop their drawing and writing skills. Sidewalk chalk can also help children develop these skills and can be used on a stick, driveway, park or baby house.
Can the toy be used in more than one position?
Can kids play with the toy while sitting, standing or lying on their stomachs or flanks?
A children’s gym with removable toys can be played in almost any position. Plastic rings can be used to move toys to different heights and areas of the gym that encourage the baby to explore and stretch when he reaches for the toy in different positions.
The toy involves the use of both hands
Toys that require children to use both hands can help improve coordination.
Construction toys, craft kits, and models.
The toy may contain moving parts, buttons or gears
Toys that include ways for children to use their hands and fingers help build the small muscles and coordination needed for writing, computing, drawing, counting coins, and similar tasks.
Lacing cards, LEGOs, and puzzles. Be sure to review these toys for safety: small and removable pieces can present a choking risk.
Toys that include different ways for children to use their arms and legs help build the great muscle and coordination needed to capture, throw, hit, run, jump, and climb.
Balls, toss and catch sets, bicycles and riding toys, and jump ropes.
Does the toy encourage thinking or solving problems?
Toys that encourage your child to solve problems and complete steps in a certain order also give you the chance to provide feedback.
For babies and toddlers, consider shape sorters, puzzles, and cause-and-effect toys (e.g., Jack in the box). For older children, board games, science kits, and cooking kits may provide an opportunity to work on thinking skills in a fun and exciting way.
The toy should promote communication and interaction
Toys that encourage dramatic play and imagination help build social skills and allow children to try out new behaviors.
Toys like dress up clothes or costumes, playhouses, kitchen sets, work benches and tools, and puppets can help your child learn cooperation, negotiation, and asking for help.
Is the toy appealing?
Consider the toy’s color, shape, size, and popularity. Will the toy be something your child will want to play with often and over a long period of time? For older children, you may want to choose a toy that is well liked by their friends.
Is the toy worth the cost?
Some of the best “toys” are items you already have at home that don’t cost much. Consider whether you can substitute the toy that you are considering buying with something you already have at home.
Colorful plastic cups can be stacked and sorted, and plastic containers and lids can become puzzles. You can play peek-a-boo with a dish towel, turn a coffee can into a shape sorter or a bank, or use chocolate pudding poured over tinfoil in a cookie sheet as finger paint.
A good toy can help support a child’s development and build confidence. Occupational therapy professionals are adept at assessing children’s developmental needs and needs and selecting toys that represent a “good” challenge.
HOW TO PICK A TOY: Checklist for Toy Shopping, American Occupational Therapy Association