Being a mom of three, I joke that I’ve been around the parenting block! Though my oldest is only 8, I’ve learned a lifetime of information from parenting him alone (definitely my most challenging child!) When he was a baby, I had time to read all the parenting books, browse all the parenting sites and make thoughtful decisions on what toys to purchase for him.
As with much of my parenting techniques, this one has changed with baby number three! Now, I simply don’t have the time for that kind of research. Now, when shopping for toys for my kids I often rely on the advice of others – what toy was a hit last Christmas in their household or what new toy has captured their little one’s interest to the point of clinging to it at bed time?
Still, some criteria has to be met for toys that come in our household. First, they have to be safe (no cheap toys from a foreign sweatshop, thank you very much. Second, they have to offer some sort of educational value – no it doesn’t have to teach my child how to read but a toy that does nothing to stimulate will be tossed aside in no time anyway (so why waste the money?) Many toys have simple teaching moments – for example my toddler recently fell head over heels with a jack in the box type of toy – anticipating when exactly it was going to pop open was a huge thrill for her and it helped teach her cause and effect. And finally, it can’t annoy the crap out of me with loud screechy voices and annoying sounds!
Fisher Price has a great new tool on their website to help parents choose wisely when shopping for toys for their children. The Joy of Learning Playtime Guide includes 12 Elements of Enrichment below 3 Pillars (Physical, Cognitive or Social) to focus on when choosing toys. Not only that, the guide helps parents understand where their child is developmentally by age – what interests them and why. I took a peek at the 12-18 month stage and it was bang on for where my daughter is at right now, “…full of enthusiasm and – sometimes – a very strong will.”
Starting in 2013, these icons will be placed on Fisher Price products to help parents better understand how their children can learn through play with the product. I love this! For now, check out the Joy of Learning Playtime Guide on the Fisher Price website – take a look at your child’s stage and see how accurate it is and how you can foster their learning through play!
Disclosure: I am a Fisher-Price Mom and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.