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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

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Smile, it's toy season!
Smile, it's toy season!

Toy buying tips for the holiday season

My independent Toy Tips business wants to help you choose smart toy choices this holiday season.

First, don't get caught up in the "hot" toy  hoopla or must-haves that you think your kids won't be happy without. Choose smart toys that kids will play with over and over. A good toy is one that is age and skill appropriate that holds a child's current interests. The more you personalize a selection, the better the play experience for your child.

Here are several tips:

  • View toys as learning tools building life skills.
  • Allow children to identify their own strengths with self-discovery toys. Toys that they play with alone such as science activity kits, magic kits and dolls help teach important lessons about responsibility values and respect for others.
  • Encourage cooperation with friends and peers with relationship toys. Team communication skills are improved with sports toys and board games.
  • Strengthen language skills and stimulate listening, speaking and imitation sounds with speech and hearing toys. Musical toys and phonics based learning aids and voice command reading books are good examples.
  • Improve hand eye coordination with fine motor activities that require hand movements such as grasping and pinching. Smart toy choices include stacking games, puzzles, writing and coloring books and activities.
  • Encourage spatial relations and teaching children about their own surroundings through textures, tastes, smells and sight with sensory activity toys.
  • Develop balance and exercise gross motor skills with toys that allow children to crawl, run, throw and climb. Look for age and skill  appropriate ride-on toys that  are kid-powered and climbing structures that encourage activities to use large muscle groups.
  • Encourage independent thinking with toys that promote concentration, competition and deductive reasoning. Thinking and logic toys include  spy toys, ant farms, construction sets and memory games.
  • Increase confidence with toys that build on self esteem. Art projects and craft kits, model-building and construction toys, creative puppetry and movie-themed toys that encourage appropriate pretend play.
  • Build social skills and encourage interaction and togetherness with family interaction toys. Dress up clothes, board games, sports activities and battery-controlled car races.

I wish you and your family a joyful Holiday Season!

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