With the holidays fast approaching, Chicago parents often wonder what the best toys are for children to help promote their development. Nowadays, stores offer a range of computerized and electronic toys, games and gadgets as well as educational videos and interactive books for children. While some of these items can enhance learning, there are a number of simple, traditional toys that have stood the test of time when it comes to supporting child development. They are:
2) Dolls and family figures (with blankets, clothing, food/drink serving sets, etc.)
3) Stuffed animals
4) Trucks, cars, motorcycles, planes, trains, a firetruck, police car, and/or ambulance
5) Art supplies (paper with crayons, pencils, ink, beads, etc.)
6) Sand trays
7) Puppets and costumes
10) Story books
These toys not only help promote creative thinking, fine motor skills, and self awareness and language, but they can also contribute to a child's sense of independence, nurturing behavior, empathy, positive relationships, and expression and release of emotion. The benefits are even greater when children have the opportunity to engage in this kind of free play with their parents and other important caregivers. The exchange of ideas, language, and emotion and that sense of connectedness that children experience in the presence of significant others is a priceless gift for a child's development.
So, this holiday season, when you are shopping for gifts for your children or others, keep this in mind; sometimes small, simple toys have the most meaning and can be enjoyed by children of all ages.
-- Denise Duval, PhD, LCSW